Sudanese government accepts amended Darfur deal - AU
The government of Sudan has accepted the amended version of a peace agreement for its western Darfur region, a senior African Union mediator said on Friday.
Asked if the government accepted the deal, the AU official said, "Yes."
Earlier the main rebel faction [SLA] also accepted the agreement but two other rebel factions have rejected it.
Reuters - Estelle Shirbon Fri May 5, 2006 7:01 AM ET 12:01 PM UK:
The government delegation, which had earlier accepted the AU draft, told a meeting of African heads of state and Western diplomats they would also accept the new terms.Further reading
"They have great misgivings about the amendments and they say practical problems will arise in the implementation ... but they don's want to give anybody grounds to continue the war," said Sam Ibok, head of the AU mediation team.
Ibok said the government's main misgiving was the integration of rebels into security forces. Khartoum representatives said the numbers of rebels to be absorbed into government security forces were too high.
REBEL SPLIT - AU AND UN SECURITY COUNCIL
Mediators clapped and embraced at the end of the session with the government delegation and everyone in the room had a wide smile on their faces despite the all-night marathon talks.
"We are hoping those who are outside the agreements now will not do anything to impede the implementation because if they do there will be a robust response from the AU and the U.N. Security Council," Ibok said.
Earlier a rival faction of the SLA and the smaller Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rejected the deal citing a wide range of objections. AU negotiators said they would bring rival SLA faction leader Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur back to the talks to ask him if he would reconsider and accept the deal. Minnawi has more support among SLA fighters than Nur, observers say, and JEM is marginal in terms of forces on the ground. But it is unclear how useful an agreement signed by only one of the three factions would be. "JEM frankly doesn't matter but Abdel Wahed does.
There are provisions in the agreement for armed groups that are not signatory to be made to observe the agreement," said a Western diplomat, who has been involved in the crafting the blueprint. He said these provisions could offer an avenue to include Nur's faction during the implementation process and he also added there would likely be U.N. sanctions against those who blocked the agreement.
SIGNING CEREMONY AT 1200 GMT IN ABUJA?
Initial plans were being made for a signing ceremony at 1200 GMT in Abuja, though that was not confirmed and there was some discussion of inviting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to witness the signing.
May 5 2006 BBC 12:26 PM UK Who are Sudan's Darfur rebels?
May 5 2006 Unfogged Peace Accord in Darfur