JEM plans to release 60 govt troops as a "sign of goodwill" ahead of Doha peace talks with Sudan's govt
May 28, 2009 report by AFP (Doha) - excerpt:
Darfur rebels say plan to release 60 govt troops
Darfur's most active rebel group said on Thursday it intends to free 60 Sudanese troops as a "sign of goodwill" ahead of Qatari-brokered peace talks with Sudan's government.
"The Justice and Equality Movement intends to release 60 government troops that it is holding prisoner," JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP in Doha.
JEM had agreed early this month to resume talks with Khartoum to achieve lasting peace in Sudan's western Darfur region.
The talks in Doha broke down when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 4 against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
"This step does not come as part of a prisoner exchange but we do it unilaterally," Adam said.
"The group has informed the Red Cross in order to hand over the prisoners as soon as possible."
He charged that the government is holding hundreds of JEM members but declined to say how many government prisoners it had captured.
Adam told the official Qatar News Agency that the decision to release the prisoners was "a sign of good will and commitment to make the negotiations ... succeed."
AFP has learnt that talks are underway in Doha between the Qatari brokers, international representatives and JEM. However, negotiations between JEM and the Sudanese government have yet to begin. [...]