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Signing of Doha Agreement prompts mixed reactions

July 15 - 2011 Doha

Yesterday, the Doha Agreement was signed in Qatar's capital, despite the substantive misgivings that exist among many movements in and outside Darfur. The signing prompted several reactions, some tentatively positive, others critical.

LJM Secretary-General defends Doha

Bahar Abu Garda, Secretary-General of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), one of the signatories of the Doha Agreement, strongly defended the agreement in an interview with Radio Dabanga. He explained that the position of vice-president of the National Congress Party, was assigned to another person from Darfur. The agreement allocated two minister postings to the movements, four Ministers of State, two governors of Darfur, and about twenty representatives for the National Parliament.

Abu Garda stressed that the agreement also stipulates the establishment of a special court, operating under international criminal law, monitored by international experts. He asserted that this would insure that all crimes committed in the Darfur crisis, would be punished. He added, that persons, previously detained or convicted in relation to Darfur issues, would be released. Finally, Abu Garda commented, that the LJM would not agree to the integration of its troops, unless the government forced the disarmament of militias.

Displaced and refugees in camps dismiss Doha

In three camps for displaced persons and refugees in eastern Chad, the Doha Agreement was categorically rejected. Sheikh Ali Abdul Rahman Tahar, president of IDP camps in Darfur, warned members of the LJM against involvement in the killing of displaced persons. He said that by signing this agreement, LJM has created discord among its members, like what happened in Maskarkelem, after the second Doha meeting of Darfur civil society. The Sheikh also remarked to Radio Dabanga, that in the Doha Agreement, no representatives' posts were reserved for the displaced.

A coordinator from camps in North Darfur, accused the participants and mediators in the Doha Forum. He told Radio Dabanga that they would be responsible for all blood spill caused by this agreement. He added that the agreement would aid the government in committing more crimes, by recruiting LJM-Darfuri's. He concluded that this Doha deal would only increase the suffering, that it was not a peace treaty at all.

A coordinator from Zalingei camps, vowed to demonstrate against the Doha Agreement. He warned the LJM against acting as spokesperson for displaced persons, as the real leaders of the displaced in Darfur are commonly known. These leaders have been subjected to harassment and arrests, just because they addressed the issues of their parents. This coordinator told Radio Dabanga that before a peace agreement can be accepted, security must be achieved and the offenders must be prosecuted in criminal courts. He added, that humanitarian services must be provided, and that new settlers, now living on the home territory of the displaced, should be expelled.

Darfuri refugees in camps in eastern Chad, as well as Shusha camp in eastern Tunisisa, also strongly rejected the agreement. They asserted to Radio Dabanga, that the agreement would only be for the benefit and personal gain of the signatories. They said that the agreement did not include their key demands, namely how justice will be met, and the criminal case against President Omar al-Bashir in The Hague. And a refugee in eastern Chad told Radio Dabanga, that the agreement is partial, and will not lead to a comprehensive, sustainable peace. This refugee accused the government of deliberately deceiving the world, by staging this commitment to peace.

US reaction

US State Department Spokesman, Mark Toner, in a statement supported the Doha Agreement. He said that it was a step forward, towards a lasting solution for the crisis in Darfur. Toner called on other armed factions to join the negotiation table. He said that the US will continue to put pressure on other armed factions that refuse to participate in peace negotiations.


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