UN-African Union Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassolé and the Qatari mediator Al Mahmoud launched yesterday the opening session of the resumed Doha peace negotiations. One major coalition of Darfur rebel factions, the Liberation Movement and Justice (LJM), is participating. Abdullah Mursal, the spokesman of LJM, said the session dealt with the agenda of negotiations and the formation of special committees. The rebel delegation of 25 members is headed by Tigani Sese, who arrived recently from Libya. On the government side, Dr. Omar Adam Rahama, spokesman of the government delegation, said that his arrival could be delayed for reasons related to flight conditions and that he would join the sessions today to negotiate with the Liberation and Justice Movement.
In another development, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Babiker Mohamed Abdallah announced that it is ready to negotiate a roadmap agreement with the government, even though the mediation has not provided them with an invitation to attend the peace talks. A spokesman for the movement, Adam Idriss, said they are ready to negotiate as a stand-alone party but not under the cloak of any other movement. This was a reference to LJM, which has absorbed a number of small factions in order to negotiate with a single position at the Doha talks.
But the mediation in Qatar announced on Monday that the Doha negotiations which began yesterday will remain open to all parties wishing to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Darfur crisis. The mediation said in a statement that substantive negotiations will be based on the framework agreement to resolve the conflict in Darfur and cease-fire agreement signed in Doha on March 18, 2010, and the Doha Declaration of the civil society consultation held in Darfur, issued on November 20, 2009.