SUDAN WATCH: Senior members and field commanders of JEM and Nur's SLM/A faction ask to sign Darfur Peace Agreement

Friday, June 02, 2006

Senior members and field commanders of JEM and Nur's SLM/A faction ask to sign Darfur Peace Agreement

June 2, 2006 IRIN report - just in:

Senior members of the two rebel groups that earlier refused to accept a peace deal aimed at ending hostilities in the troubled western Sudanese region of Darfur have now expressed interest in signing the agreement.

Around 40 delegates from Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nur's faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - including field commanders and political officers - are in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to request the African Union (AU) to allow them to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), which their leaders failed to sign before the 31 May deadline.

Representatives of both rebel groups told journalists on Friday that they had decided to sign the peace agreement in order to end the crisis in Darfur.

"We have suffered a lot from the crisis. We came here to express our support for the peace agreement. We are not against our leaders' reasons not to sign the peace agreement, but we urge them to join the peace agreement," said JEM field commander Abdela Abdela Bakt.

While awaiting further instructions from the AU regarding the modalities that would allow them to sign the DPA, the two factions asked the pan-African body to give their leaders additional time to sign the agreement.

"We would like to ask the AU to give additional days for our leaders to put their signature. If they fail to do so again, we will sign the peace agreement," said Mohammed Adam Basi, political advisor to the SLM/A. "On our part, we are ready to sign it any time, as soon as the AU finalises the mechanisms."

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