SLA Team set to arrive in Khartoum next week, followed by SLA leader Minnawi week later, to commence implementation of Darfur Peace Agreement
Greek Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, during a stopover in Frankfurt on the flight to Khartoum, said Sudanese leaders felt they needed more time to pull together their government, following a power-sharing agreement last year with former southern rebels. "We have to be a little bit understanding -- not soft, but understanding," he told Reuters.JEM's leader might still be away in Slovenia. As noted here earlier, Chad's President Deby said he cannot allow him return to Chad if sanctions are imposed on rebel leaders refusing to join Darfur peace deal.
China's UN ambassador Wang Guangya agreed, saying a recent council resolution ordering Sudan to allow in the UN planning teams disappointed Khartoum.
Instead they had expected to be complimented for their flexibility in negotiations with Darfur rebels, not all of whom have signed the accord.
Some Sudanese fear NATO soldiers among the UN force and believe any mandate under enforcement provisions in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter constitutes an invasion. Chapter 7 is cited in nearly all U.N. peacekeeping operations.
"Those who speak about the US invasion of Iraq should speak about the US invasion of Iraq," special UN envy Lakhdar Brahimi, told a recent news conference in Khartoum. "But when you speak about the United Nations, then please talk about the U.N. as you know it (and not) as if it is coming to invade," he said.
Yesterday, the African Union rejected calls for peace negotiations to be handed over to the UN, saying the deal should not be held hostage by recalcitrant factions - AFP/Gulf Times reported today:
"We cannot hold the Darfur Peace Agreement hostage to those who did not sign, we have to go ahead and start implementation because the situation in Darfur can't wait," AU spokesman in Khartoum Noureddine Mezni said.One month has passed since Darfur Peace Agreement was signed by SLA rebel leader Minnawi and Government of Sudan.
Rebels had until May 31 to agree to the peace deal, drawn up in Abuja on May 5, or face UN sanctions, but only one faction of the main Sudan Liberation Movement signed ahead of the deadline.
The AU declaration came after the dissident SLM faction on Saturday said the bloc had failed in its efforts to broker an end to the three-year conflict in western Sudan and called on the UN to take over.
"This document was prepared and finalised in tight consultation with international partners including the UN, the European Union and the Arab League, as well as many national governments," Mezni said.
"The document was witnessed by all of them, and the institutions endorsed the document as balanced and just. The document is African and international at the same time. We have done the maximum possible."
The holdout SLM faction led by Abdul Wahed Mohamed al-Nur said on Saturday it had rejected the whole peace agreement after AU mediators failed to include its demands.
"I have the advance team which should be in Khartoum next week and after that we will prepare to go there," SLA leader Minnawi told Reuters in el-Fasher, the main town in Darfur, today:
"When we signed the peace we requested the AU forces to come here ... I think the UN forces have the right to come here ... to protect the civilians," he said. Minnawi said he saw no difference between AU and UN troops, except that the UN force would have better logistics and more resources.Yesterday, SLM insurgent leader Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur failed to meet Kiir and Minnawi for peace talks.
He also said he was not worried about the thousands of Darfuris in Khartoum and across the region who have been protesting against the signing of the deal because the other rebels did not sign. "With ... time everyone will recognise that the peace is for them, the peace is for the Darfuri people," he said.
"The modalities in the agreement ... are timelined and also there is a plan supposed to be adopted by the AU ... All these things are progress towards disarmament of the Janjaweed."
An official spokesman of the SLA, Esam Eddine al-Haj, said that Minnawi had actually arrived in Yei and met Kiir. However, he said he was unable to contact Minnawi to find out the outcome of the discussions.
Al-Haj, who is based in Italy, said a delegation from Minnawi's SLA would arrive in Khartoum within the next two weeks, followed by Minnawi, to implement the Abuja agreement.
[Sudan Watch Ed: For the purposes of using keywords to search the archives of this blog, I refer to Minnawi's faction of Darfur rebel group SLM/A as "SLA" (something Reuters does too) because he appears to run the military side of the movement -- and al-Nur's faction of the SLM/A as "SLM" or "Nur's SLA faction" because he appears more political and claims to represent the interests of a larger number of Darfuris. Also, in order to search items relating to Minnawi, I maintain the spelling of his name as "Minnawi" - same goes for "Janjaweed" and "Gaddafi". If Nur signs the peace deal, I guess the movement may be referred to as SLM/A. Question is: who will I be referring to as the leader of the SLM/A? My view is the Darfuri people are not aware of the contents of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Maybe al-Nur is being selective in his translation of it? Maybe he has promised his people more than can ever be delivered in one go? Many Darfuris can't even read or write - how do they know they are not being hoodwinked simply to serve the greedy ambitions of one man? Same goes for JEM. Then there are days, when I read reports of rebels in eastern Sudan, I wonder if all of the Sudanese rebels are part of one group, conveniently splitting into factions and playing two ends against the middle in order to appear they genuinely want an end to the suffering of their people. Backward barbarians. Janjaweed and all. Give them an inch and they take a mile. No wonder the Sudan is ruled with a stick. It's a wild country, the size of Europe.]
UNITED POWER ...
Even animals can sometimes find together way... (Photo Vit Hassan, Sudan)
Photo: Sandstorm over pyramids in Bajrawia (Vit Hassan)