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Gandour renews calls for Darfur rebels to join dialogue process

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September 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour called on Darfur rebel groups to join the national dialogue process, saying that their rebellion does not affect president Omer al-Bashir but Darfurians and development in the region.

Ibrahim Ghandour (Photo Suna)The government and rebel groups in Darfur failed to reach a peace agreement to end the eleven-year insurgency which led to the death of thousands of civilians and displaced other millions. Since last May, there are no clashes in Darfur but the tribal fighting continues to destabilise the war-affected region.

Ghandour, who is also the deputy leader of the National Congress Party (NCP), is touring Sudan’s different states to participate in regional conventions the ruling party organises before its national convention next October.

In a speech delivered at the NCP convention in Central Darfur state held in Zalingei, Gandour appealed on the Darfur rebels to join the internal political process saying that the continuation of the conflict would only cause more suffering to civilians .

“Those who took up arms did not do that against president Bashir or the National Congress (Party), but they held it against their parents and the development of the country,” he said on Monday.

“Come back to Sudan where there is a place for all of us and where we can share power,” he stressed.

He further reaffirmed his government readiness to provide the necessary guarantees for the rebel leaders to participate in the dialogue process.

In line with a peace plan endorsed by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC), rebel groups members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) should hold separate talks with the government on a cessation of hostilities agreement followed by discussions on security arrangements. After what they will return to Khartoum to participate in a national roundtable conference on constitutional reforms.

A faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) however says negotiations on a cessation of hostilities and security arrangements are not enough. The rebel group demands that the government takes necessary steps to ensure security for civilians and disarm militias before the national dialogue.

However, many SRF groups have accepted to engage in talks on cessation of hostilities. Parallel discussions in Addis Ababa and Doha are expected to begin in the second week of October.

Ghandour also urged the NCP members in Central Darfur to unify their positions and to forget their internal divisions and power struggle saying the party’s unity is a perquisite to achieve peace and stability in Sudan.

(ST)

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