The final peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement was not signed in Doha on Sunday, as had been planned, due to outstanding disagreements between the parties.
The mediators have been anxious for a peace deal before the 9 January referendum in South Sudan, and had set 19 January as the target date for signing a final deal. However, as of yesterday the mediators still had not presented to the parties the final document for signing. Instead, they’ve given the parties more time to work out disagreements over the administrative status of Darfur (one province or three states) and Darfuri representation in the presidency (which now consists of the president and his 1st and 2nd vice presidents). The mediation proposed a solution that is being studied by the parties, according to LJM spokesman Abdullah Mursal, who spoke to Radio Dabanga from Doha.
LJM is an umbrella coalition of smaller factions, led by a former governor of Greater Darfur and UN employee, Tijani Sese. The group signed a ceasefire agreed and a framework agreement on 18 March 2010. LJM is militarily weaker than JEM but includes some notable field commanders, including Idriss Abu Garda and Ali Karbino.
For its part, the government delegation to the Doha negotiations explained the difficulty of signing of the agreement with the Liberation and Justice Movement on Sunday, saying that the parties could not reach compromise on the outstanding issues, namely, the unity or division of the Darfur region, and giving the position of the Vice Presidency to the Darfuris. The head of government delegation to the Doha negotiations, Amin Hassan Omar, said in remarks to Khartoum newspapers that the joint mediation will give the parties a proposal for compromise on these issues. He was quoted by press yesterday as saying that he government delegation will leave Doha by the 30th of December.
The government agreed last week to establish a regional authority tasked with implementation of the peace agreements terms on security, development and return of refugees. The existing Regional Authority, established by the peace deal of 2006, was raided by security forces earlier this month.
Three main factions (JEM, SLM-AW, SLM-MM) remain opposed to the impending Doha Agreement as it stands, although they have engaged with the mediators. One of these groups, SLM-MM, has alread signed a peace deal but returned to war last week in fighting that displaced 12.000 people.
A representative of the Justice and Equality Movement said that the movement was informed by the mediators that there would not be a deal signed on Sunday in Doha, as had been planned. Ahmed Hussein Adam, JEM spokesman, told Radio Dabanga that the movement’s delegation in Doha told the mediation that if they want a comprehensive peace responsive to all the demands of the people of Darfur, they should stop using Doha as the place for the brokering and signing of the deal. The JEM spokesman said that the movement has no interest in a partial peace agreement.
JEM staged a press conference with some other smaller factions in London on 12 December 2010, forming a bloc that appeared willing to join the Doha talks. Khalil Ibrahim, the chairman of JEM, remains in Libya. His demand to visit his troops in the field before re-joining the Doha talks had not been outstanding for months. However, no major clashes between JEM and government forces have occurred since early November.
SLM-AW SAYS REGIME PREPARING OFFENSIVE
Meanwhile, the faction that holds areas of the central Jebel Marra highlands, the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed Al Nur (SLM-AW) said that it is not concerned with what is happening in Doha and the movement accused the government of not being serious about the peace process and giving the people of Darfur their share of national power and wealth. Nimr Abdel Rahman, military spokesman of the movement, told Radio Dabanga that the government is preparing now its troops in Nyala and El Fasher and El Geneina, to carry out a major offensive in Darfur. He pointed out that the government attacked forces of Minni Minawi and civilians in Khor Abeche and Shangil Tobayi. He said that a peace deal in Doha will not bring security, but rather will be a paper peace, like the Abuja Agreement that Minawi signed in 2006.
Pictured: Government chief negotiator Amin Hassan Omar (left) and LJM chief Tijani Sese (right)