SUDAN WATCH: SLA's game is up - Darfur rebels missed their big chance

Monday, May 01, 2006

SLA's game is up - Darfur rebels missed their big chance

Chances of a peace agreement for Sudan's Darfur region looked slim today despite a 48-hour extension to negotiations, observers said, citing rebel inflexibility, Estelle Shirbon (Reuters) tells us in her latest report. Excerpt:
AU mediators say the rebels insist certain demands, such as a vice president's post for a Darfurian and a new regional government, should be met in full which is just not possible.

"I think the chances are very slender. ... I don't think the movements realise they've missed their big chance. ... The only thing left is for Minni to realise that the game is up," said the diplomatic source.
SLM/A rebels at Darfur peace talks

Photo: Abdel Wahid Mohhamed al-Nur (L) and Minni Arcua Minnawi, leaders of one of the factions of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) talk during negotiations with Sudan government representatives in Abuja, Nigeria May 1, 2006. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Note, the above report says the leader of the other SLA faction, Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur, is isolated, while diplomats say the smaller JEM has been the most inflexible of all.

Also, a diplomat who is closely involved in the talks said Sudanese Vice President Taha has left Abuja because his latest meetings with rebel leaders had given him the impression they were not open to substantial talks.
"His meetings with the (rebel) movements yesterday were so bad. They were, frankly, so insulting to the government," said the diplomat, who described his mood as "depressed".

Observers say the rebels have squandered enormous international sympathy while the government, widely portrayed as the villain in the Darfur conflict, has played its diplomatic cards just right.
U.S. diplomats have come up with a list of suggested compromise solutions and government delegation spokesman Amin Hassan Omar said substantial changes were still possible on the issue of integration of rebel fighters.

SLA commanders at Darfur peace talks

Photo: Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) commmanders Mariam Abdallah (L) and Roda Mohamed Ahmed attend negotiations with Sudan government representatives in Abuja, Nigeria May 1, 2006. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

May 1 2006 Reuters FACTBOX- Contentious issues in Darfur draft peace agreement

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