September 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — A US diplomat reiterated Washington support to the Doha agreement but expressed concerns about the little implementation of the deal and deterioration of security conditions in Darfur.
U.S. Senior Adviser on Darfur, Dane Smith was recently in Darfur where he met with officials in the region, tribal leaders and visited camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs). He was also in Kampala where he met with the leaders of the two factions of Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdel Wahid Al-Nur and Minni Minnawi and a delegation of Justice and Equality Movement.
Rebel groups which reject the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) told Smith that his government has to stop its support the framework agreement arguing that continued attacks on civilians and lack of justice should push Washington to cease its support to this framework document which is signed by one group.
Smith defended the American position in statements he made after the visit, underscoring that the problem is in the delay of DDPD implementation which depends on the will of the Sudanese government and its peace partner, Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).
“We believe that the Doha agreements contain the basic elements for a settlement in Darfur’ that the seven chapters in the agreement included all the basic elements needed for peace,” said Smith in an interview with Radio Dabanga conducted this week.
“We are very disappointed at the relative limited implementation thus far of the Doha agreement,” he further said. Stressing that the American administration did not changed its views from the DDPD “because we believe that it should be implemented and we hope it will be implemented.”
During the long interview, Smith pointed out Khartoum’s failure to pay compensation and to contribute to Darfur reconstruction and development fund. Also he indicated that the prosecution of Darfur crimes did not yet start.
“The courts for Darfur has not been set up. The Terms of reference have not been written, it is not operating,” he said.
He also mentioned the recent surge of violence in the region between the government and rebels saying that in comparison with 2011 the security situation “is less stable” now.
He was keen to say that the lack of security depends from a region to another. He said the insecurity exists in North Darfur state and areas nearby Jebel Marra including South Darfur and central Darfur.
But, according to Smith, the situation is relatively stable in West Darfur despite some problems with criminality there.
Regarding the attacks on IDPS, he told the Netherlands based Radio that it depends also on where the IDPs are.
He added that during the rainy seasons “large numbers of IDPs leave the camps and go to the farms and make a crop on the farms”. He said they remain there for several months and that “suggests they have found ways to deal with whatever security there is.”
The American diplomat estimated that more than a 100.000 people returned permanently to their villages. He said he visited some of them who told him they did not have a problem of security.
” What they were telling me is that they were having a problem with a lack of services. A lack of services is what we have come back to,” he said.