5 Sudanese rebel groups agree to join Qatari peace initiative
Photo: Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed Bin-Abdullah Al-Mahmoud
Source: Sudan Tribune Monday 23 March 2009 -
Qatar urges Darfur JEM to drop link between peace talks and aid groups
March 22, 2009 (DOHA) — The Qatari government today called on the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to continue the peace talks it started last month with Khartoum.
Darfur JEM announced this week that it has decided to suspend its participation in the Doha peace process, one month after signing a goodwill agreement with the Sudanese government in the Qatari capital. [...]
The head of JEM’s general congress Abu-Bakr Al-Gadi told Agence France press (AFP) that the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed Bin-Abdullah Al-Mahmoud made the appeal during their meeting today in Doha.
“They asked us to convey a message to the movement saying that we can protest the decision without halting the entire peace process” Al-Gadi said.
“We understand and appreciate the Qatari effort because it is one that seeks peace for the Darfuri people and this is our position as well”.
Al-Mahmoud met today with the Sudanese ambassador in Doha and Al-Gadi separately which according to Qatari news agency discussed latest developments with regard to the goodwill agreement signed last month and addition of new rebel groups to the talks.
Last week five Darfur rebel groups signed an agreement in Libya to take part in the Doha peace process with one delegation. The signatories of the common ground deal are: the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) – Unity, SLM led by Khamis Abdallah Abakr, the United Resistance Front (URF), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Idriss Azrag faction, and the SLM- Juba faction.
Al-Gadi said that he “promised them [Qatar] good and that we will transmit the request to our leaders on the ground” before adding that Khartoum’s decision “violates the spirit of the Doha agreement”.
JEM has previously said that the expulsion of aid groups is a breach of the goodwill agreement “which provides that the parties commits themselves to refrain from IDP’s harassment and to not obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to the displaced”.
The JEM official also said that Khartoum is “dragging its feet” in submitting the list of their POW’s that they pledged to release while they have provided a list of Sudanese soldiers they are holding.
Last year the Darfurian rebel group staged a bold attack and fought fierce battles with the Sudanese army on the outskirts of the capital before they were repulsed.
However in February both JEM and Khartoum signed a goodwill agreement in the Qatari capital, pledging to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the six-year conflict in the western Sudan region of Darfur but a date for the full blown talks has not been fixed yet.