SUDAN WATCH: Darfur rebels' playing for time (again) costs countless lives and a fortune in aid

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Darfur rebels' playing for time (again) costs countless lives and a fortune in aid

Long overdue Darfur peace talks are due to resume August 24 but, once again, despite promises to resume peace talks, the Darfur rebels have asked for a postponement of the meeting with their government.

Reuters reports today that Jan Pronk, the UN's top envoy in Sudan, speaking after two days of meetings with SLA commanders, said they had requested the delay to hold a rebel movement conference to reach a unified position in the negotiations with Khartoum. Excerpt from the report:
"If a postponement is unavoidable ... it should be a very brief postponement," Mr Pronk told reporters. "But not a long postponement because that will not be accepted."

"The commanders are united in their desire to continue the talks in order to reach a peace agreement by the end of this year," Pronk said.

He said he had advised them to hold the planned conference for all SLA commanders, political and humanitarian officials across Darfur in September or October.

The rebel leadership has quarrelled at previous rounds of talks in Abuja.

Pronk said that if the SLA did not reach a deal this year, they would have to negotiate under pressure next year, when he feared donors would reduce their humanitarian aid to Darfur.

"We are now entering a critical stage of the talks."
Note, the report says agreements with Darfur rebel group leaders have often been ignored by commanders on the ground, but Pronk said they now recognised the need for a deal to end the violence in Darfur. Oh yeah, sure. We've heard that before. How can one view a bunch of rebels as capable or believe a word they say? They appear nowhere near disciplined enough and come across as a shambolic bunch of cold blooded murderers, thugs and bandits whose word means nothing.



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