February 8, 2009 KUNA report from Borglobe.com by Hussein Ibrahim, Khartoum:
Sudanese cautiously awaiting Doha agreement on Darfur
Sudanese circles are cautiously awaiting the initialing of an agreement between the Khartoum government and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) over peace in Darfur, due in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday.
The draft agreement, distributed here on parties concerned, of which KUNA obtained a copy, calls for cessation of military operations and hostile actions, improving security situation in Darfur and forming a committee, in which Qatar is represented, to prepare for negotiations.
It also called on Sudanese parties to promote political dialogue and create suitable atmosphere for final negotiations' round, due to be held in Doha and will lead to a final peace agreement.
The final peace agreement should be signed three months after the initialing of the deal maximum.
A Sudanese politician said all indications showed that progress was possible this time specially that the Arab League-sponsored Qatari mediation was backed by the international community. "We think peace is reachable because all parties have shown readiness and seriousness this time," Hassan Abu Sabib, an official in the Democratic Union Party, told KUNA.
The Sudanese government and JEM are under pressure and are inclined to reach a peace agreement swiftly, observers said.
The Sudanese government is under pressure by the International Criminal Court (ICC) where an arrest warrant was considered against President Omar Al-Bashir on genocide charges in Darfur.
The JEM, however, is also suffering a setback following its defeat by government forces in Muhajirya area.
Other rebel groups in Darfur are not present in Doha.
JEM, the most powerful militarily among the groups, is insisting that it represents all groups but the UN hopes that other factions would participate.
Secretary General of the ruling party Mandor Al-Mahdi said in a statement Sunday a government delegation would head to Doha "with an open heart and mind to reach a framework agreement over issues like power sharing, resources and security arrangement for upcoming negotiations." the Arab League and African Union (AU) assigned Qatar to sponsor the negotiations in yet another bid to end six years of conflicts that killed and displaced over two million people.