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Al Bashir: People ‘learned lesson’ from Darfur war

November 30 - 2018 NYALA
President Omar Al Bashir in Nyala on Thursday (Sudanese media)
President Omar Al Bashir in Nyala on Thursday (Sudanese media)

President Omar Al Bashir said that the war “would not be repeated as in Darfur” if his enemies want peace. He said that people have paid a price for the war in Darfur and learned a lesson.

Yesterday, President Al Bashir addressed the crowd that came to see the opening of a South Darfur TV station in Nyala. The president has started a four-day visit to South and East Darfur.

Darfur will be better than it used to be.” - Pres. Omar Al Bashir

In his speech he said that “the people of Darfur have started a new phase in which Darfur will be better than it used to be”.

The conflict in Darfur erupted in 2003 and has displaced over 2.7 million people from their homes (OCHA, 2017). Clarity about the numbers of people newly displaced by armed conflict in Darfur’s Jebel Marra as well as voluntary returnees is difficult to ascertain for humanitarian organizations and the Sudanese humanitarian bodies.

Radio Dabanga reported in 2016 (when more than 100,000 people were displaced), 2017 and 2018 about the renewed fighting in Jebel Marra between holdout rebel groups and the Sudanese army, air force and paramiltiary forces, which displaced tens of thousands of people.

For the year 2018, Darfur has seen a decrease in the number of newly displaced people according to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son: “… only about 25,000 people displaced, meaning that the number of displaced has decreased by 92 per cent.”

Pre-negotiation agreement

Previous peace negotiations, under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), between Khartoum and the rebel movements repeatedly collapsed.

Yesterday, the Sudanese government announced it will meet with the Darfur rebel movements in Berlin soon, to agree on the general framework of the upcoming round of talks. The government’s chief negotiator regarding the Darfur peace file, Dr Amin Hassan Omer, told Sudanese media that the government would meet with an envoy of the AUHIP to discuss the resumption of Darfur talks.

Two non-signatory rebel groups to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), signed a pre-negotiation agreement draft after proposing the amendment to remove the words ‘Darfur’ and ‘Sudan’ from the DDPD last week.

If the government approves this amendment along with a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes which sets the negotiating agenda, the parties may enter into peace negotiations which have been stalled repeatedly.

The government insisted on the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur as the basis for the talks, while the rebel movements have categorically rejected this agreement signed by Khartoum and a coalition of Darfur breakaway groups.

There have been several attempts to revive the talks by preparing an agenda, including in Berlin this year, sessions in Paris, France, in September 2017 and discussions in Germany.

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