The U.S. has invited the Darfur rebel leader who agreed to peace with Sudan to visit Washington amid signs the American-brokered accord is in danger of unraveling because of infighting and violence against civilians, Bloomberg's
Janine Zacharia in Washington reported July 11, 2006. Excerpt:
Minni Arkou Minnawi, leader of one of two feuding factions within the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army that has warred with the central government in Khartoum, will visit later this month for about a week, a State Department official who asked not to be identified said. The discussions with U.S. officials will explore how to get other rebels to sign the accord.
Among rebel leaders in Darfur, only Minnawi was persuaded by U.S. negotiator Robert Zoellick to support the power-sharing agreement in May. Now Minnawi is facing rising opposition to his leadership among commanders in northern Darfur, including those from his Zaghawa ethnic group, according to the United Nations.
The State Department official said Minnawi's itinerary was still being determined, including whether he would confer with Bush at the White House. National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said late yesterday he had nothing to announce about the president's schedule.
To entice Minnawi to sign the Darfur agreement, Bush promised the rebel chief in a personal letter that the U.S. "will strongly support implementation of the peace accord" and will insist that any party not cooperating "be held accountable by the UN Security Council.''
The State Department official described reports about new violence by Minnawi's faction as part of a pattern though not on the scale seen earlier in the conflict.
Straight out of the African bush into a five star Washington lifestyle rubbing shoulders with GW Bush eh? It pays to be a rebel. I've not yet seen any reports that explain how SLA's Minnawi, SLM's Nur and JEM/NFR's Ibrahim fit into the one position of power they all covet, ie Vice Presidency of Darfur.