US President special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, Saturday 18 November, held a meeting with Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nur in Paris. He urged the rebel leader to work seriously for the reunification of the SLM factions, Sudan Tribune
reported (Paris 19 Nov 2006). Excerpt:
The US official informed the rebel leader of the UN-AU meeting in Addis Ababa and its conclusion. He expected that the coming peace negotiations to be held in one of three towns: Abuja, Dakar or Johannesburg.
According to UN-AU meeting held in Addis Ababa on Thursday 16 November, the mediation of the coming Darfur peace talks should be under AU and UN leadership.
Al-Nur who is in European tour visiting several capitals to explain his position on the future peace talks with the Sudanese government.
Al-Nur met in Paris with French officials at the Foreign Ministry where he explained his vision for the peace negotiations. He expected more dynamic role for the French authorities in the coming talks.
Al-Nur's SLM/A is the most important rebel group that opposed the Darfur peace agreement. In last June the group refused to join the newly formed the National redemption Front.
Al-Nur experienced serious post-DPA internal opposition and his SLM/A faction lost many supporters from ethnic groups other than the Fur, negating his faction's claim to represent all Darfuri people.
Internal dissent reached such levels that Al-Nur's commanders replaced him on 31 July and appointed Ahmed Abdelshafi Bassey as the new political leader of Al-Nur's faction. They requested him to convene a new SLM/A-wide leadership conference.