US proposals to save the Darfur peace talks do not go far enough
Sudan Tribune reported May 3. Excerpt:
A spokesman for the SLA Seif Haroun said that unless the peace deal included a proposal to turn the devastated western Sudanese region of Darfur into a unitary administrative unit - it is currently divided into three states - it would fail.Reuters report by Estelle Shirbon
"The US government’s initiative is a good step forward for negotiations. We are happy about it, but it still falls short of our expectations because it has left out our crucial demand for a Darfur region," he said.
"The Darfur region issue is the main issue in our demand. The issue of region is not something we are going to negotiate away because that is where our key interest is," he said.
Under the African Union plan, the people of Darfur would be allowed to hold a referendum on coming together as one autonomous region once fighting has halted and national elections are held, perhaps in several years’ time.
Sudan’s government has already accepted the AU peace plan and has made positive noises about the US version. A second rebel group, the JEM, has yet to make its position clear.
May 3, 2006 tells us senior Sudanese diplomat said the U.S. ideas were "interesting" but Khartoum would only agree on measures it considered "workable and cost-effective". He said he was optimistic that a deal would be reached.