The JEM rebel faction that refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement was ordered to leave the African Union HQ in Darfur, the AU said Wednesday, as delegates for JEM warned the move could push it to resume full fledged fighting. - AP report Aug 16 2006 (via Sudan.Net/POTP
) - excerpt:
"Members of JEM have been advised to leave the AU headquarters because they are not supporting the peace implementation," Sam Ibok, the AU's chief negotiator in Sudan, said in a telephone interview.
Ibok said the group did not participate in the various ceasefire commissions and that the SLM led by main rebel chief Minni Minnawi -- who signed the peace deal -- refused to sit with them.
"There is no alternative but to ask them to leave," Ibok said. "It doesn't mean we have lost hope that JEM will eventually join the peace process, but it reflects that we can't fund and host people who are doing nothing."
JEM delegate Mohammed Abbasher Ahmed said the AU's decision could lead it to resume open warfare in Darfur. "We regard this as a declaration of war, a return to the fighting square," Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Akhbar Al Youm newspaper.
JEM delegates were stationed at the AU headquarters in the North Darfur town of El Fasher as part of an effort to bring peace to a region. Though JEM isn't deemed the largest rebel force in Darfur, authorities suspect its militants were involved in several small-scale raids that have recently plagued the region.
Also - excerpt from Dow Jones version of AP report (via Easy bourse/POTP):
John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN, said earlier this week he hoped the push for an international peacekeeping force in Darfur would make progress in the coming days.
"The question, as always, is whether the Security Council can overcome the political objection from several significant member governments, including two permanent members and the government of Sudan," Bolton said, in an apparent reference to China and Russia.
JEM delegate Mohammed Abbasher Ahmed was quoted as telling Sudan's Akhbar Al Youm newspaper his group regarded the AU's decision "as a declaration of war."