Thursday, May 5, 2011

Darfur rebels refute accusations of obstructing Doha peace agreement

May 4, 2011 (DOHA) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) denied obstructing efforts to reach a negotiated agreement for Darfur conflict but stressed that any durable peace should be inclusive for all Darfur forces.

Sudan’s government top negotiator Amin Hassan Omer accused the rebel group of leaking the draft peace agreement and obstructing the Doha process. He further said by its presence in Doha, JEM intends to mislead the international community and gives the impression they are seeking to reach a peaceful settlement.

Today also, the SMC, a news website close to the Sudanese intelligence service, said a JEM delegation agreed during a meeting held recently in Washington with the US envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman to prevent the Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) from signing a peace deal in Doha with Khartoum.

In Doha delegations from Sudanese government and JEM stopped discussions on Tuesday after failing to make progress on the second file at the negotiating table, individual compensations.

"Government accusations are false and have no foundation. We are here to negotiate peace but we cannot observe a timetable or meet the deadline of 7 May," said JEM spokesperson Gibreel Adam Bilal.

The rebel official said the government refused to continue the discussion on the compensations after refusing to raise the amount of compensation from 250 USD per family. Khartoum also threatened to opt for tough positions if JEM refuses to negotiate based on the proposed draft text.

The proposed peace document is mainly discussed by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM). However, JEM asked for direct discussions with the government saying talks should not be based on the draft agreement.

The mediators suspended the discussions between the two sides without agreement as it was the case for the file of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Burkina Faso, foreign minister and chief mediator, Djibril Bassole arrived yesterday evening in Doha where he is expected to discuss with the two parties ways to break the deadlock in the direct talks.

Speaking about the accusation of leaking the peace agreement to the local press in Khartoum , Gibreel denied that JEM unveiled the content of the draft peace agreement saying they were the last to receive it.

"We have no interest to leak it because we can’t advertise something we want to amend. Also what interest we get from disseminating it to a local press financed by the government or supported through the advertisement of the government controlled companies."

"This is a nonsense," he said.

Gibreel also dismissed the meeting of JEM with Princeton Lyman saying they day where their delegation headed to Washington, the US envoy was in Doha meeting with them.

"The truth that we met him in Doha where he held talks with the mediation and all the delegations. We agreed with Lyman on the need for an inclusive process including all the armed movements," he said.

Lyman before to leave Doha to Sudan told reporters that the participation of Minni Minawi and Abdel Wahid Al-Nur is necessary for a successful process and a viable peace agreement.

Gibreel pointed out that the rebels not participating in the process should not be forced to follow what is already achieved in Doha but allowed to come with their contributions and ideas.

The mediation works on a peace document that would be open for the other groups to discuss and sign in the future if they join the Doha process.

They parties are supposed to submit their final observations and comments on the draft peace agreement on 7 May. The mediators also are expected to hold a conference for Darfur stakeholders to discuss and adopt a final peace agreement from 18 to 23 May.