African foreign ministers met Wednesday hours ahead of a deadline for holdout Sudanese rebels to sign an agreement meant to end the Darfur crisis, AP
/ST reported today - excerpt:
Nigerian FM Oluyemi Adeniji, chairing a meeting of AU's Peace and Security Council, was cautious, saying he hoped the holdout insurgents would join the deal before the midnight (22:00 GMT) deadline.
"I hope they will consider signing the agreement," Adeniji said. "We will have to wait and see how the response is later today."
Representatives of Darfur rebel factions are in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, today, "but I'm not sure anything will happen before the end of the day," the AU Peace and Security Commissioner Said Djinnit told The Associated Press.
According to an unsourced report at Sudan Tribune
May 31, 2006 dissidents from JEM rebel group may sign the Darfur peace deal diplomats said Wednesday. Excerpt:
A group claiming to represent a splinter faction of Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) arrived at AU headquarters here seeking to meet officials just hours before the midnight expiration of the deadline, they said.
AU Peace and Security Council commissioner Said Djinnit confirmed that a number of Darfur minority groups, including members of the JEM, had contacted the pan-African body to say they wanted to sign the deal.
"We have been approached by a certain number of groups who are favorable to the DPA," he told reporters, referring to the Darfur Peace Agreement.
"Until the expiration of the deadline, we are hopeful the leaders of the (holdout) rebel groups will sign the peace deal," he said.
The identities of the alleged JEM dissidents were not immediately clear but diplomats said they were ready to sign the May 5 peace agreement, which was already signed by a faction of Darfur's Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).
"The dissident faction members of the JEM came here to sign, but they cannot sign today unless their leaders come," an African diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"If their leaders don't show up, they are hoping to sign tomorrow if the AU will accept their signature as a faction," a second African diplomat said. "The AU is now looking at some mechanism to accept the signature of the faction.
The diplomats said the leaders of the group - whose identities were also not immediately clear - were expected in Addis Ababa late Wednesday or Thursday.