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Abdel Wahid suspends spokesman and promises ‘peace in Darfur in 2010′

January 26 - 2010 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga – Updated version II -Edit 27 Jan.)

Abdel Wahid al Nur, leading the main SLM-faction in Darfur, has suspended his spokesman Yahya Bolad. He confirmed to Radio Dabanga this decision after Bolad sent the mediator in Doha a proposal to include the right for self-determination of Darfur at the agenda of the peace talks. Abdel Wahid fiercely denied to take part in the negotiations. Neither has he sent a delegation to Qatar. “We are still in the same position as before and we never sent a document to the negotiator. Yahya Bolad did this on his own behalf”, he told Radio Dabanga.  In an interview he promised the Darfurians that he will solve  the issue of Darfur in 2010. “We will make sure security will be restored and I will use our own military presence to restore the security”.  The SLM-faction of Abdel Wahid talked to Radio Dabanga while several delegations are taking part in peace consultations in Doha led by the joint UN and African Union peace negotiator Djibril Bassolé.  The remarks of Bolad came as a surprise. Until now, the largest rebel movement of Darfur categorically refused to negotiate with the government and is also in favour of a united secular Sudan. Abdel Wahid reconfirmed his stand and said the people of Darfur don’t need secession, but security. He has persistently stated that he will only negotiate when the Janjaweed are disarmed, security in Darfur is restored and the ‘settlers’ are kicked out from the home areas of displaced Darfurians and refugees. Abdel Wahid has met with the UN-peace negotiator in Paris. The suspended spokesman, Yahya Bolad, refused yesterday to disclose how and when Abdel Wahid submitted his demands to Bassolé. It remains unclear who is now the official spokesman for the SLM faction of Abdel Wahid. The official negotiations are scheduled for next month. The government delegation led by Amin Omar Hassan had called the request for self-determination a way for SLM-Abdel Wahid to frustrate the peace talks in Doha: “The government will not allow the Darfurians the right of self-determination and to decide whether they want to become independent from Sudan or not. Abdel Wahid is the only one who is asking for such a right for self-determination”. If Abdel Wahid had joined the peace consultations leading to a new round of negotiations, it would have been the first time since the failed Abuja agreement in 2006 that the main parties agreed to sit down together. Next year, Southern Sudan will have a referendum deciding whether it wants to remain united with the government of President Al Bashir or to separate and become an independent nation. The Darfur Peace Agreement included only an agreement concerning a referendum for Darfur about the political administration and the creation of one Darfur Region composed of the three existing states. Such a region should be allowed to develop broad constitutional powers. The Darfur Peace Agreement was never implemented and only signed by SLM Minni Minnawi and the Government of Sudan.

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