Chief mediator of Darfur conflict meets Sudanese vice president
Djibril Bassole, the top mediator of the Darfur conflict, met on Tuesday with the vice president of Sudan. He asked the Southern Sudanese leader for his help in bringing Darfuri rebels to the negotiating table.
Djibril Bassole, the top mediator of the Darfur conflict, met on Tuesday with the vice president of Sudan. He asked the Southern Sudanese leader for his help in bringing Darfuri rebels to the negotiating table.Bassole heads the Joint African Union-United Nations mediation team, which is seeking to resolve the seven-year conflict in Darfur. He wants the First Vice President, Salva Kiir, to try to persuade two Darfuri rebel chiefs to join the peace process. Kiir leads the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the ruling party of autonomous South Sudan. Bassole’s intention to involve Kiir in the peace process had earlier been announced by Yasser Arman, a leading figure in the SPLM.
In a written statement issued today, Bassole said that despite progress in the Darfur peace negotiations at Doha, “the absence of both the Justice and Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid at the negotiation table and the on-going fighting in Darfur are putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace.”
“This is why I have encouraged First Vice President Kiir to pursue, with the Mediation, efforts to persuade Khalil Ibrahim and Abdel Wahid Al Nour to engage in peace talks with the Government of National Unity of the Sudan in Doha,” stated Bassole.
“During my meeting with First Vice President Kiir, I stressed that it is imperative that the Government and the JEM conclude a cease-fire, both for improving the immediate security situation in Darfur and for consolidating peace and stability in the Sudan as a whole,” said Bassole.
The SPLM’s involvement with Darfuri rebel movements has been limited. It allegedly supplied arms to some Sudan Liberation Army rebels in the early stages of the war before concluding the comprehensive peace agreement with the government in 2005; later it hosted unification talks for some factions in Juba – though neither JEM nor SLA-Abdel Wahid participated. In October 2008, a delegation of top SPLM leaders visited the JEM chairman in Chad.
Kiir, as both a former opponent of the regime and yet now a member of the country’s presidency, is uniquely positioned to act as an intermediary between the rebels and Sudan’s top leaders. However, Kiir has actually been asked by the ruling party to act on its behalf. The proposed dialogue between the SPLM leader and the rebel belligerents appears rather to be an initiative launched by the mediator himself.