The African Union ratcheted up the pressure on two rebel factions today to sign a peace agreement for Darfur, threatening international sanctions if they did not come around, Reuters' Tsegaye Tadesse
reported - excerpt:
Alpha Oumar Konare, chairman of the African Union (AU) commission, urged a faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) led by Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur and the smaller Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to sign the deal unconditionally.
"Should they embark on any action or measure likely to undermine the Darfur peace agreement, especially the ceasefire provisions, the Council should take appropriate measures ... including requesting the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions against them," he said in a statement.
The warning came as the AU's Peace and Security Council met in Addis Ababa to discuss how to push forward the peace process in Darfur. Konare called for more AU troops to be sent to Darfur and urged Khartoum to produce a plan to disarm pro-government militias.
In another sign of a concerted drive by the AU to pull the rebels into the deal, its chief Darfur mediator warned Nur he would become irrelevant unless he accepted an agreement already signed by his rival Minni Arcua Minnawi, leader of the biggest SLA faction.
"In every situation where people have not been on board, eventually they will have to come on board or become irrelevant," Salim Ahmed Salim told Reuters.