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'Darfur referendum results may not be implemented': rebel leader

January 18 - 2016 BERLIN
Minni Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement-MM faction (file photo)
Minni Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement-MM faction (file photo)

The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) rejects the Darfur referendum, scheduled to take place between 11 and 13 April.

“The Darfur referendum, as it looks now, is only an attempt by the Khartoum regime to re-create the region in order to continue its divide-and-rule policies,” Minawi told Radio Dabanga.

“The administrative status of Darfur is a matter for the Darfuris alone. It is for the people of Darfur to organise a referendum in case they would be divided over a unified province or the current status of five states; not the [Khartoum] ruling centre,” he stated.

“The Khartoum regime will ignore the results of the referendum anyhow, should they turn out to be contrary to their preferences.”

The rebel leader pointed in this context to the Sudan People’s Initiative for Darfur conference held in Kenana, central Sudan, in October 2008.

“In Kenana, the majority agreed that Darfur should become a single administrative unit. Yet, the regime decided to maintain the division of the region into three states [from 1994], and even further divided the region into to five states in 2012.”

Peace talks

Minawi added that the holdout Darfur rebel movements received an invitation from the AU mediation team (AUHIP) for a new round of negotiations with the Sudanese government in Addis Ababa.

“We will begin the new round from where the previous round of peace talks left off; with the conditions concerning the cessation of hostilities,” he said.

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