DDDC: Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation (Alex de Waal)
This is the seventh in a series of articles concerning the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), explaining how different parts were negotiated -- including which negotiators insisted on which articles -- what the paragraphs mean, and how they should be implemented. This article deals with the question of what is next: how the DPA can serve as the foundation for a process of peace and reconciliation among Darfur's fractured and divided communities. It is important that the letter and spirit of the DPA are properly understood by all Darfurians and other Sudanese, so that the Agreement can be implemented and peace can return to Darfur.- - -
As the Darfur peace talks entered their fifth round a year ago, it was clear to all involved that any peace agreement signed between the GoS and the two Movements represented there -- the SLM/A and the JEM -- could only be the first step in a longer process of community peacebuilding and reconciliation. Many groups were not represented in Abuja, and many issues could not be adequately discussed. For example, all the complicated issues of land ownership could only be discussed at the level of general principles -- the specific problems of who owned which piece of land could not be resolved.
This, incidentally, is one reason why the AU Mediation and the international partners were keen for the peace talks in Abuja to come to a rapid conclusion. Only when the DPA had been agreed there by the political leaders, would it be possible to begin the equally important process of creating peace, locality by locality, across Darfur. Only with the leaders' signatures on the DPA would it be possible to bring other groups to the table.
There are two main elements to the ongoing community peace and reconciliation efforts. One is Chapter 4, which concerns the "Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation" and the other is the Peace and Reconciliation Council, a subsidiary body of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority, which will be set up by the DDDC. 
The DPA does not give a specific timetable for convening the DDDC. This is wise, because the preparatory consultations may take some months to complete. It is more important for the process of dialogue and consultation to be thorough, exhaustive and inclusive, than for it to be quick. The divisions caused by the war in Darfur will take a long time to heal. The people of Darfur will need the opportunity to sit together and discuss their many issues at length, to have the confidence to examine their problems honestly and to find ways of achieving solutions that can be accepted by all.
July 14 2006 Disarming the Janjaweed and Armed Militia (Alex de Waal) - links to a series of articles by Dr Alex de Waal.