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Armed groups meet President Deby, agree to send joint delegation to Ndjamena


October 15, 2016 (PARIS) - The leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim said his movement and two other holdout groups will send a joint delegation to Ndjamena in response to an initiative by the Chadian President Idriss Deby to discuss ways for a peaceful settlement in Darfur region.

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Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir and his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby (L) listen to the national anthem during opening session of Sudan National Dialogue conference in Khartoum October 10, 2015. (Photo SUNA)

Ibrahim, and Abdel Wahid al-Nur, leader of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) met with President Deby in Berlin Wednesday. Minni Minnawi, the leader of (SLM-MM) faction didn’t not attend the meeting but was informed about its content and accepted the invitation.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune in the French capital Paris on Saturday, he said that President Deby briefed them about the outcome of the dialogue conference and expressed his keenness to achieve peace in Sudan.

He added that Deby who is also the leader of the African Union gave his advice on this respect as he did in the previous meetings with him of 2014 and 2015.

The President Deby was among four African leaders who attended the closing session of the National Dialogue Conference in Khartoum on 10 October. The political event was also attended by the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Mauritian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

JEM leader further said they welcomed any role he can play to break the deadlock in the African Union brokered peace talks in order to reach a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements before a comprehensive national constitutional process. Also they said ready to work with him for a comprehensive and just peace in Darfur.

Regarding the upcoming meeting in Ndjamena, he said "they didn’t discuss concrete steps on how to organise the meeting or its agenda", but pointed that all these points would be finalize in the near future.

Last month, President Museveni facilitated an informal meeting in Addis Ababa between the government, JEM and SLM-MM over the pending issues for a humanitarian truce, and peace in Darfur. But the parties ended the discussions without progress.

The armed groups in Darfur and the government diverge on the technical implementation of the cessation of hostilities and how to distribute the humanitarian assistance. On Darfur file, the two armed groups demand to discuss four issues related to the security, IDPs resettlement, landownership and Darfur administrative system. But the government refuses it saying all these claims are already dealt in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

When asked about the Chadian role, he underscored that Chad as a neighbouring country is concerned by the stability in Darfur region, pointing to the tribal links and economic interests the two countries are sharing.

"We know what we want and what Deby wants. So, if we do not find what we want we will not go to Ndjamena," he further said.

He stressed that AUHIP led process remains the main venue for peace talks with the Sudanese government, adding it has the regional and international support.

Ibrahim said SLM-AW leader will to take part in Ndjamena meeting and expressed hope that Abdel Wahid al-Nur changes his mind over the negotiations with Khartoum, saying the three groups had negotiated with the government in 2004 in Abuja.

In a separate statement on the meeting with the President Deby, the SLM-AW leader, said he thanked him for hosting more than 350,000 refugees officially registered in Chad and additional 650,000 unregistered Sudanese refugees.

"I told him that we look forward to building a solid relationship with the Republic of Chad and that President Deby plays a pivotal role in the resolution of Sudan’s crisis" al-Nur further said..

However, he reiterated his demands for the return of refugees and displaced person to their homeland, to protect them and to achieve justice in Darfur, after what his movement can negotiate the root causes of the conflict.

He also repeated their rejection of the national dialogue and its outcome adding they would not be part of a process to reproduce the regime.

"We seek and look forward to a comprehensive and sustainable peace in our country, leading to achieve change and not to the reproduction of genocidal regime," al-Nur said.

The African Union process which includes JEM and SLM-MM, provides that once the humanitarian truce is reached, the Sudan Call groups and the government would discuss the political confidence building measures in order to create a conducive environment for a constitutional process in Khartoum.

Commenting on the dialogue conference, JEM organisation and administration official Abu Bakr Hamid said the meeting came out with good recommendations on the issues of Sudan’s identity, freedoms and economy. However he stressed that the problem now is how to implement it, pointing to the regime lack of seriousness towards its previous commitments.

JEM leader Ibrahim said that the outcome of Khartoum conference can be considered as "the first phase" of a holistic process including all the Sudanese forces, adding that its recommendations would represent the position of the government and its allied political forces.


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