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Sese and Taha open government-led Darfur conference

July 11 - 2012 EL FASHER

At the 'Darfur-Darfur' conference in El Fasher yesterday the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement reiterated their commitment to the Doha peace agreement. But refugee leaders and Darfur opposition remain critical of the conference claiming that the government's real intention is to dismantle the IDP camps.

The conference lasting from Tuesday to Thursday in El Fasher aims to attract support for the Doha Agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM). Participants are invited from Khartoum and the five states of Darfur. They will be joined by the Qatari mediator, regional and international organizations and the top UN envoy.

In an opening statement the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, warned the SPLM and other rebel movements against attempting to thwart the peace process.

Tijani Sese the head of the Darfur Regional Authority reaffirmed their determination to go ahead with the Doha document at all costs. He added that it is vital for enhancing the security situation in Darfur and creating sustainable peace. He also claimed that since the signing of the Doha agreement Darfur has witnessed an increase in the pace of voluntary repatriation and stability according to reports by humanitarian organizations.

Jibril Adam Bilal, the spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement, told Radio Dabanga that the conference is a waste of money. He added that the incident in the Hamadiya camp on Monday underlines the government's intentions to dismantle all displaced people's camps (http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/33153).

A participant at the conference told Radio Dabanga that one of the main focus of the conference is to improve the security situation in Darfur by reintegrating the militia's into the Sudanese military forces or by disarming them. He said that calls were made for signatories to implement the security arrangement agreed upon in Doha.

He criticized the reconciliation process stating that it is “a political process which aims at collecting money”. He says three methods were proposed to complete the reconciliation process: the victim forgives the perpetrator, the perpetrators pay blood-money to relatives of the victims or the transfer of the case to court.

He said another central topic was the issue of voluntary return of IDPs after security and essential services are restored.

An IDP participating in the conference told Radio Dabanga “The conference is a failure. I am disappointed because it fails to address the root problems causing the displacement of Darfurians which are the lack of security and the deplorable humanitarian situation. It will not create peace for the people of Darfur”.

The head coordinator of the camps in North Darfur, Omda Ahmed Ateem, told Radio Dabanga that the Darfur Regional Authority selected only pro-government and LJM-affiliated displaced people to represent them during the Darfur-Darfur conference. He added that the real aim of the conference is to dismantle the camps. He called on the international community not to donate money towards the conference.

A female displaced activist from a Darfur Arab camp described the conference as “an absolute failure”, echoing the statements made by Ateem. She accused Tijani Sese of attempting to implement an agenda unrelated to the issues and demands of the IDPs.

Ibrahim Gambari, chief of the UNAMID Mission, described the timing of the conference as opportune. He confirmed the commitment of UNAMID to help the people of Darfur.


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