Home | News    Tuesday 7 August 2007

SLM leader formulates three-step approach for Darfur peace

August 6, 2007 (PARIS) — The leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) said he has a three-step approach to achieve peace in Darfur. He further welcomed the UN decision on the deployment of the 26000 troops in Darfur, adding that its effective presence on the ground should take place before the political process.

Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement wait in their base in Gellab, North Darfur, during a meeting with African Union officers. (file/AFP)

In an interview with Sudan Tribune, Abdelwahid al-Nur, clarified why he rejects to engage peace talks with Khartoum before the effective deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur. Adding that the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 1769 related to the Hybrid Operation is important but Khartoum has to implement it first.

Al-Nur further disclosed to Sudan Tribune his vision to end the Darfur crisis saying it can be achieved through three steps: 1- the Conflict Suspension which means to stop the violence in Darfur; 2- the Conflict Resolution, which leads to negotiations; 3- the Conflict Transformations through peace implementation and sustainable development in the region.

The founder and the chairman of the SLM, said that French authorities worked hard to convince him to participate in Arusha meeting organized by the AU/UN envoys. However they respected his rejection of the consultations.

"Our friends in France did their best to convince us to participate in Arusha meeting; and after respectful deliberation, we provide them a sound case and justification that we are not going to be part of Arusha meeting. Thankfully, they respect our view." He said.

He also denied statements attributed to him by a Los Angles Times journalist in which it was said "France can go to hell".

"What she climes are false and unethical. She is using the same Khartoum argument trying to give wrong signals to our friends, to undermine our leadership and desensitize the plight of our people." He stated.

The following is the full text of the interview with Mr. Abdelwahid Mohamed Ahmed Alnur, founder and chairmen of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) :-

ALWAYS REFUSING

- So, let us started with the current event first, why you are always refuse negotiations?

Abdelwahid: That is not true, in fact, we are always seeking for peaceful political settlement, and you will notice that in our daily statements. As we said many times, peaceful political resolution instate of conflict means, is our end. But, we are searching for durable solutions that overcome the suffering of our people and transform our country into a peaceful democratic state that respect our differences and endorse the value of equal citizenship rights. So, we believe that before pursuing to any negotiations with the Khartoum regime, we should consider one crucial factor which is the protection of our people.

- As far as we know, the meeting in Arusha- Tanzania is about finding a common negotiations position among the rebel movements and not a negotiations with the Khartoum government, so why you do not want participate in such important meeting?

Abdelwahid: Do you think that those whom are in Arusha are the real representatives of Darfur people or even real movements?

- What do you think?

Abdelwahid: Well, according to my knowledge, there are no such things called “movements”. In fact, there are some individuals whom are created or Manufactured by the Khartoum regime, some countries and organizations, and now Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim is selling or marketing them out to the international community in Arusha which is in his home country Tanzani. So, we are not going to be part of such impractical game.

- But Dr. Salim is representing the African Union?

Abdelwahid: Let me say this, regionally Sudan is member of the African Union, and internationally our country is part of the United Nations. These two organizations (AU and UN), did and still doing great positive efforts to end the plight of our people in Darfur. So, we do respect these two organizations endlessly and even we are very proud of being members of such great organizations. We have too much hope on them to help us to bring security and peace to our people. But our problem is with the individuals whom are working in these organizations like Dr. Salim. They always want to implement the policies of the Khartoum regime. So, instate to become a neutral mediator, he turn out to be part of the problem.

- In your view, why Dr. Salim is doing so?

Abdelwahid: That is good question and you can ask him, he might have an answer for you. However, we think that he is frustrated by not succeeded in Abuja Agreement (DPA), and he wants to make it by any means even if the price is the security or the death of our people. Also he might want to please his friends in the Khartoum regime or he might have some other personal agenda or interest.

LEADING THE SLM FROM A CAFÉ

- In August 3, 2007, and according to Maggie Farley of Los Angeles Times, “your are leading your movement (SLM) faction from a café in Paris”, and she also indicated that "you seems to take pleasure in rejecting the high-ranking dignitaries from the U.N., the U.S. and France, who come to quietly court, or warn you, as well as you said that "France can go to hell if they try to put pressure on you to go to Arusha"?

Abdelwahid: This Maggie Farley is very mysterious human being. She is abusing the ethical code of media and journalism. She came to me and represented herself as UN representative and wants to discuss with me the current humanitarian situation in Darfur. After I talked to her, she went and wrote that I am in France since 2004. Also she indicated in her article that I said “France can go to hell” and over all “if they try to make peace without me, I will sabotage everything”. What she climes are false and unethical. She is using the same Khartoum argument trying to give wrong signals to our friends, to undermine our leadership and desensitize the plight of our people and their just cause. In fact she is insulting herself and her audience intellect by her professional-ethical misconduct behavior.

KHARTOUM PRESSURES ON PARIS

- In August 4, 2007, the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry, complained to French Ambassador to Sudan for not putting pressure on you to go Arusha meeting, what is your response?

Abdelwahid: Nothing is new in the unconsidered and disgraceful of Khartoum diplomatic attitude toward other countries. But, let me say this France is democratic country/state that committed to freedom and respect for human rights and different views. In sense, when people disagree politically or morally, they will continue to reason together to reach mutually acceptable decisions; and based on this great democratic value, our friends in France did their best to convince us to participate in Arusha meeting; and after respectful deliberation, we provide them a sound case and justification that we are not going to be part of Arusha meeting. Thankfully, they respect our view. This is the exact sort of democracy that we want to see it in our beloved country Sudan. We want to see a democratic system that respect other person as an end and not use coercive way to insist viewpoints like what the dictatorial regime in Khartoum is practicing in its own people in a way that either you follow their way or you will be detained or killed.

UN RESOLUTION 1769

- You are talking about the protection of your people and there is UN Security Council resolution 1769, is‘t that solve the problem of protection that you are talking about?

Abdelwahid: Well, the janjaweed and other government allied militias are still active. New settlers from Niger and other countries are welcomed and compensated by the Khartoum government and resettled them in our people land after they driven them out and put them in refugees and internal displaced camps. So, where is the security that you are talking about?

- What do you think about the resolution 1769?

Abdelwahid: There are a lot of hopes in Resolution 1769, yet the problem is not in the resolution or resolutions, the problem is in the implementation of these resolutions. As we said sometimes back, there are many UN Security Council resolutions on Darfur and no one of them has been implemented. Here, the problem is not in the UN resolutions; the problem is the behavior of Khartoum government. So, we do not trust Khartoum promises or wards until we see the practical implementation of this resolution by deploying these troops on the ground first and then we can talk about the political negotiations.

THREE STEP APPROACH

- How do you see the solution then?

Abdelwahid: In our view, Darfur crisis is complex, it embedded in deep rooted causes and larger issues, perhaps, require a profound level of attention before scuttling toward any political negotiations. This attention should be focus on the protection of our people first.

Calling for protection of our people from the genociders is not a luxury. It is a right. So, our core element is the current security situation of our people. As you might notice, there are many reports from credible witnesses that there are an immense human destruction in a daily bases such as murder, rape, torture, massive displacement new settlers from other countries in our people land (Hawakeir). Even the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday August 3, 2007, states that “the situation in Darfur is getting worse, insecurity continues, including bombings by the Sudanese military of civilian areas, ground attacks against civilian villages, a resurgence of inter-tribal clashes, and the systematic rape of women and girls”.

According to UN Secretary General, the continuing insecurity has forced humanitarian organizations to curtail some programs, leading to the deterioration of the living conditions of the millions of conflict-affected people who depend on humanitarian agencies for their survival; even he warned that as long as hostilities continue in Darfur, efforts to reach a political settlement and achieve durable peace will not succeed.

We agree with UN Secretary-General Ki-moon that the recent experience has demonstrated that there is a systematic violation against our people. For these reasons, currently we are focusing on the protection of our people from the brutal violations of Khartoum regime. So, stop killing of our people is the most important element at the moment. Once again, we are fully committed to ceasefire agreement as well as support and encouraging the peaceful settlement that started with building a more coherent and comprehensive approach that started with the protection and the security of our people. Thus, our people protection is legitimate pre-requisite for any political negotiations with the Khartoum regime.

Negotiation is appropriated when the parties see that problem can only be resolved jointly and when they have the WILL to end the existing situation that they consider it unacceptable, while admitting the other party’s claim to participate in that solution. Without the will to reach agreement there will be none, even if the other party’s claim to participate in the solution is admitted, and for the time being, we do not see that in the behavior of rouge, despotic, dishonest and brutal Khartoum regime.

To make the long story short, any negotiations will aim to end conflict. This “end” may take many forms, and we in our movement (SLM), perceive it in three levels. First, we believe that the negotiations should start with the CONFLICET SUSPENSION which is to stop the killing of our people and protect them from Khartoum genociders. Second, CONFLICT RESOLUTION (negotiations) with the hope to discus the root causes of the problem and obtain a total settlement. Last, move into CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION to build positive relations among our people in Drafur and elsewhere in the Sudan as well as to build durable projects for sustainable development.

Over all, peace will occurs precisely with the immense attentions to protection and security of our people first, and then the resolution of the root causes of the current genocide, punishment of the perpetrators, redress the injustice of the past, reconstruct positive relations among the people, and create new political order that admire the attraction of our differences, respect our human dignity as equal citizens. To make it short, without genuine commitment of protection of our civilian population and removal of the new settlers from the lands (Hawakeir), of our Darfuri indigenous people, it will be difficult if not impossible for us to participate in any political negotiations, and no conclusion of any peace settlement with the Khartoum regime will consider valid, but it will reserves the material for future conflict and human distraction

(ST)