Darfur rebel leaders meet with international envoys in Berlin
On Saturday, leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi and the Justice and Equality Movement met with international envoys in the German capital.
The meeting, arranged by the German Berghof Foundation, was chaired by the German envoy to Sudan. The French envoy to Sudan and representatives of the Office of the US envoy to Sudan and South Sudan and the European Union in the Horn of Africa participated as well.
The discussion topics concerned future negotiations with Khartoum to revive the peace process and address the humanitarian situation in Sudan’s conflict zones.
The rebel delegation called for linking the lifting of the US sanctions on Sudan to progress in the field of fundamental freedoms and human rights, the humanitarian and security situation, and a comprehensive peace process in Sudan.
They further appealed to the leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to resolve their internal disputes through dialogue “in the spirit of their long revolutionary camaraderie,” Ahmed Tugud, Peace Negotiations Secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), told Radio Dabanga.
He said that the rebel leaders also pointed to the dangers of “the selective policies” of the Sudanese government regarding the disarmament of tribal militias in Darfur by another militia, the Rapid Support Forces.
“The collection of weapons should be conducted through dialogue, political understanding and in accordance with the comprehensive security arrangements under which the ex-combatants are demobilised as well,” Tugud stated.
“It was the government that distributed weapons to the tribal militias. The authorities have records about the number of weapons, the serial numbers, and the leaders and contractors who received them, so should be able to retrieve the arms as well.”
The JEM spokesman emphasised that the Sudanese army should be tasked with collecting weapons.
In an attempt to revive the peace negotiations between the Darfur armed movements and Khartoum, the German government invited the parties for informal consultations in May.
The negotiations, under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), collapsed in August last year, as 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.
The rebel movements are also dissatisfied with the role of the AUHIP. JEM recently called for the replacement of the AU mechanism.
The third holdout Darfur rebel group, the mainstream SLM led by Abdelwahid El Nur, declined the invitation, sticking to its position that any negotiation with the government must be preceded by security in the region, the disarmament of the militias, and compensation to the displaced people.
The UK Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan discussed his country’s support for the Sudanese peace talks with Presidential Aide Ibrahim Mahmoud in Khartoum last week.
Mahmoud stressed his government’s keenness to achieve security and stability in Sudan through peaceful means. Envoy Chris Trott renewed his country’s support for the lifting of the US sanctions imposed on Sudan.
The UK envoy also met with opposition forces. He spoke about the peace negotiations and the possibility of democratic reforms with El Sadig El Mahdi, President of the National Umma Party, and with representatives of the Sudan Call [Sudan Appeal] alliance.
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