Peace deal between Sudanese government and rebel LJM movement postponed

Asmaa Husseini, Sunday 19 Dec 2010

Key issues unresolved as rebel groups speak out against separate agreement

Sudan troops
Troops march during the celebrations for the 55th anniversary of Sudan's independence in Khartoum 19 December 2010. (Reuters)

Today's scheduled signing ceremony in Doha between the Sudanese government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) has been delayed, an official told Al-Ahram Online.

Secretary general of the LJM, Baher El Din Abu Qerada, told Al Ahram Online from Doha that all parties are making a huge effort to reach agreement on the pending issues, especially establishing a “regional authority” in Darfur and the creation of a vice presidency position for one of the region’s leaders, similar to the peace agreement with southern Sudan.

“We cannot deny that we have made progress as we agreed in the major issues but the parties still needs more time to complete the deal,” he added.

Hours before the talks, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the main rebel movement in Darfur, threatened to withdraw from talks they have been conducting with the Sudanese government if it signed a separate peace deal with the LJM.

“We will not recognize any separate deals with the LJM based on there being no justice in sharing the power wealth,” Mohamed Baher El Din Edris, the JEM’s Cairo office secretary general, told Al Ahram Online.

He added that any deal that would exclude his movement, one of the main opposition groups in Darfur, will fail to achieve peace and will force them, and others, to resort to other options, including violent resistance.

Formed in Doha from different small factions in February of this year, LJM signed a framework agreement for the peace talks with the Sudanese government, including a ceasefire, in Doha on the 18th of March.

JEM and seven other rebel groups issued a joint declaration from London on the 12th of December in which they announced their commitment to the Doha talks and willingness to take part in the process. But they also expressed the need for a two week pause in which to form their own delegation.

Last Tuesday, the parties agreed to establish a regional authority tasked during the interim period with the implementation of the peace agreement in the areas of security, the return of internally displaced persons and recovery and development projects.

The LJM have called for Darfurians to be able to vote on the issue of creating a sovereign state at the end of the interim period, something the government has dismissed out of hand.

The parties also agreed to create an international mechanism headed by the Emir of Qatar to supervise the implementation of the peace agreement. They also called upon "UNAMID (United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur) and the African Union Panel also have to promote dialogue in order to achieve reconciliation among Darfurians through the Darfur-Darfur Conference."

Since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003, some 2.7 million people have fled their homes with the UN estimating that 300,000 more have died.

The rebel movements have been fighting government soldiers and Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, who many claim to be backed by the government.

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