Unamid, rebels to cooperate for peace in Darfur
The non-signatory Darfuri rebel groups and the acting head agreed to work together for a viable and lasting peace agreement in the war-torn western region of Sudan on Saturday.
After a two-day consultation meeting held in Paris with Abiodun Bashua, Acting Joint Special Representative (AJSR) of Unamid on Friday and Saturday, Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW), Dr Jibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Minni Minawi, leading the SLM-MM, released a joint statement expressing “the need to address the issues of Darfur as a priority” within the framework of a comprehensive solution for all Sudanese conflicts.
Sudan Tribune reported today that Bashua is expected to also consult with the Sudanese government, the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and negotiators in Qatar that is sponsoring the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that some of the rebel leaders reiterated their reserves over the DDPD, but welcomed the Qatari participation in the process.
In their joint statement, the three rebel leaders stated that they had agreed with Bashua to provide a common position paper and proposals on “substantive issues for discussion” and to suggest a format for the “resumed political process”.
AUHIP Chairman Thabo Mbeki has invited the members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of the main Sudanese rebel movements) for a consultations meeting on 21 August to discuss ways to involve them in the national dialogue, as proposed by President Al Bashir in January last year.
Role of Unamid
Unamid assumed the mediation with the non-signatory Darfuri rebel movements after they refused to join the DDPD . Last year however, after consultations with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, the AUHIP, brokering the peace talks on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), AUHIP sought to include the Darfur issue in a comprehensive peace process.
In its decision 2228 on 29 June to extend the mandate of Unamid for another year, the UN Security Council welcomed the AUHIP coordination but demanded from Bashua “to revitalise the peace process and to increase its inclusiveness”. The AU Peace and Security Council on 31 July issued a decision encouraging “the efforts and the initiatives of the AJSR to engage both the Sudanese government and the armed movements in support of the AUHIP mediation”.
Mbeki visited Khartoum early last week, where he discussed with the Sudanese government the proposal of merging the peace negotiations on the Two Areas and Darfur with a broad national dialogue, to be convened in Addis Ababa.
In a news conference on Tuesday, he told the press that the government adheres to its rejection of the merger as well as to hold the dialogue abroad. He said that the government is willing to agree on a ceasefire for the Two Areas, where war broke out in 2011.
As for Darfur, Khartoum keeps to its stance that the remaining rebel movements should join the DDPD.
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