SUDAN WATCH: Qatari PM denies withdrawal of Sudan's JEM from peace talks

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Qatari PM denies withdrawal of Sudan's JEM from peace talks

Report from China View, Wednesday, 25 March 2009:
Qatari PM denies withdrawal of Sudan's JEM from peace talks
KHARTOUM, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani denied on Tuesday a reported withdrawal of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) from the peace negotiations with the Sudanese government which have been sponsored by Qatar.

He said at a press statement after the talks he held with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir "There was a special envoy of the movement in Doha yesterday, and they will participate in the (peace) talks."

The Qatari prime minister disclosed that his government had conducted contacts with almost all the rebel groups in the western Sudanese region of Darfur in order to persuade them to participate in the next round of negotiations due to be held in the Qatari capital.

"We have spoken with almost all factions, and encouraged them to come to Doha," he said.

Under the joint mediation of the United Nations and the African Union, and also the sponsorship of Qatar, the Sudanese government and the rebel JEM signed in Doha last month a goodwill agreement to pave the way for a resumption of peace negotiations between them.

But the JEM reportedly announced last week that it had decided to suspend its participation in the Doha peace process in protest against a decision taken by the Sudanese government to expel 13 foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from Darfur.

On the same day that the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir earlier this month, the Sudanese government announced a sudden decision of expelling the foreign NGOs, accusing them of passing "false and fabricated information to the ICC, a charge denied by the deported organizations.

Facing mounting pressure from the UN and western countries asking Khartoum to withdraw the expulsion decision, the Sudanese government insisted that the decision was "irreversible." Editor: Yan


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