The AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa announced this morning that the peace talks between the Sudanese government and the two main Darfur rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) have been postponed for an indefinite period.
The peace negotiations were broken-off because of the government’s refusal to discuss a number of issues the rebel movements insist on dealing with. According to the rebels, the political and economic marginalisation of Darfur, the main cause for the outbreak of the war in Sudan’s western region in 2003, are to be addressed during the negotiations, as well as compensation for the people affected by the war, reconstruction of demolished villages, return of the displaced to their places of origin, and disarmament of the militias.
The Sudanese government, however, is maintaining its stance that these issues have already been dealt with in the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and that the peace talks with the two rebel movements should be restricted to a cease-fire and security arrangements.
The AUHIP team decided to suspend the peace talks after the UN Special Envoy for Sudan, Haile Menkerios, met with President Omar Al Bashir on Tuesday. Menkerios handed the President a message from AUHIP mediation chief, Thabo Mbeki. The contents of the message were not disclosed.
SLM-MM leader Minawi commented to Radio Dabanga that “clearly Al Bashir did not respond positively to the message. Yet, the intransigence of the Sudanese government is nothing new. All the regime thinks off is a military solution. It is now preparing for what it calls the crucial winter campaign.”
The JEM blames President Al Bashir personally for the collapse of the current round of Darfur negotiations. Ahmed Tugod Lisan, chief negotiator for the JEM, also told Radio Dabanga that the intransigent stance of the government affirms that it does not intend to solve the Darfur conflicts and through peaceful negotiations and dialogue. “The idea of solving the issue militarily is the regime’s sole option.”
Lisan stated that the position of the government does not leave any choice to the rebel movements but to raise the matter to the Sudanese people and the international community. At the same time, he warned the government for the consequences of the collapse of the negotiating process in Addis Ababa.
News photo: The main rebel leaders at a press conference convened in Addis Ababa today after AUHIP’s announcement of the adjournment of the peace talks (Radio Dabanga correspondent)
Sudan opposition discusses Al Bashir’s stance in Addis Ababa (2 December 2014)
‘No Darfur peace agreement to be expected soon’: JEM rebel leader (1 December 2014)