"Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Doha this evening to attend the signing ceremony for a Darfur peace agreement ... between the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement," Qatar's official QNA told AFP. The signing is due to take place at 1300 GMT on Thursday, but the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the main armed faction of Darfur, will be absent.
At least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 1.8 million forced to flee their homes since the conflict broke out in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, according to the United Nations. The government puts the death toll at 10,000.
Meanwhile, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) declared their rejection of the newly hatched agreement. The JEM Chief Negotiator Ahmed Tugod told Aljazeera , "We are against any tendency to sign a partial agreement,” and went on to describe the document as “falsely attributed to the conference”, referring to the Darfur Talks that took place early this year.
Abdel Wahid Nur, the leader of the SLM, said the deal was inconsistent with “the aspirations of the people of Darfur”. Although regarded as a weak paramilitary organization, Nur pointed out that the SLM has a considerable political presence in Darfur based on the testimony international envoys and foreign diplomats.
The Chairman of the Committee of Conflicts at theSudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Omar Dahab told Aljazeera that the document remains ''open'' to parties willing to make peace.