SUDAN WATCH: JEM leader will have to leave Chad if he does not sign Darfur peace deal by May 31

Thursday, May 18, 2006

JEM leader will have to leave Chad if he does not sign Darfur peace deal by May 31

Darfur rebels face bleak future without peace deal, Reuters' Estelle Shirbon reported May 18, 2006 - excerpt:
SLA faction leader Nur has spent much of the past two years in the Nigerian capital Abuja, where the peace accord was negotiated, but on Thursday he and his advisers were dispersing and had no clear strategy from now until May 31.

"He really should realise that he has everything to gain by signing, and if he doesn't he'll find he has no friends, no money and nowhere to go," said one diplomat who has been closely involved in the push to persuade Nur to sign.

The other holdout leader is Khalil Ibrahim of the JEM, and his position appears even more precarious. Ibrahim has few fighters and his support in Darfur has dwindled. The movement survives mainly on funding from Islamist networks.

Ibrahim has used Chad, where President Idriss Deby is a tribal ally, as a base, but that could be about to change.

"Deby told Khalil that if he does not sign by May 31, he must leave Chad because the AU and UN are sanctioning non-signatories. Khalil was surprised," said a Western diplomat in the Chadian capital N'Djamena.

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