Darfur rebels welcome German initiative to revive peace talks
The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have agreed to meet with the Sudanese government in Germany this month. They call for an alternative to the AU mediation team. A delegation of the AU Peace and Security Council will visit Sudan this week.
Minni Minawi, head of the SLM-MM, told Radio Dabanga on Sunday, that his movement and JEM have accepted an invitation by the German government for a meeting with Sudanese negotiators in Berlin in order to revive the peace talks.
“If the Sudanese government accepts the initiative, the meeting will be held on the 16th or 17th of May,” he said.
The invitation was sent as well to Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement, despite his categoric refusal to join the negotiations before disarmament of the militias has taken place and stability has been restored in the region.
Minawi pointed out that there are many international efforts being done to revive the peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the armed opposition. “Apart from Germany, the African Union, the United Nations, and Unamid are also searching for a way to break the stalemate.”
In August last year, simultaneous negotiations between the Sudanese government and SLM-MM and JEM on Darfur, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North on South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, under auspices of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa collapsed.
The parties accused each other of obstructing the peace talks. While the provision of humanitarian aid to the war victims lead to a deadlock in the talks concerning South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the negotiations on Darfur collapsed because the government insisted on the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur as the basis for the talks, which was rejected by the rebels.
Minawi explained at the time that Khartoum demanded the precise positions of their combatants for the talks, which the rebels deemed unreasonable. He said that the government further refused the formation of a humanitarian unit comprised of the government, the movements, the affected Darfuris, the United Nations, and the humanitarian organisations working in Darfur, to address the delivery of humanitarian aid. Khartoum as well rejected the return of the humanitarian organisations that were expelled following the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for President Al Bashir in 2009.
JEM has called for the replacement of the AUHIP, led by the former South-African president Thabo Mbeki, and search for “another, real alternative that is capable of addressing the crises in Sudan in general, and Darfur in particular”.
Ahmed Tugud, JEM’s chief negotiator, told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that “over the last eight years, the [AUHIP] mechanism has failed to take concrete action in order to resolve the crises.
“The mechanism above all supported the government's positions, and allowed it to impose conditions that keeps it in power for as long as possible, while the Sudanese people and the opposition are in need of solutions as soon as possible.
“The mechanism allowed a one-sided dialogue under the patronage and manipulation of the government which created a new reality, despite the resolutions of the African Union.”
Tugud stressed the need for “an alternative mediator to better address the root causes of the crisis and take into account the importance of the time factor.
“This is the desire and conviction of all parties, including South Sudan,” he said.
Peace and Security Council
On Monday, a high-level delegation from the AU Peace and Security Council will start a four-day visit to Sudan during which they will hold talks with the government officials in Khartoum and in Darfur.
It is the fourth visit by members of the AU Security and Peace Council since the deployment of the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid) forces in Darfur.
Mahmoud Kan, the head of the AU liaison office in Khartoum, said the delegation, headed by the Ugandan ambassador to the AU, plans to visit Sudan’s western region on Tuesday and Wednesday. The visit will include El Fasher, Zalingei, and camps for the displaced in Nierteti and Shangil Tobaya.
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