Sunday, April 30, 2006

Darfur rebels demand changes to peace deal at 11th hour

The African Union set midnight (2300 GMT) April 30 as a deadline to conclude the talks and said it would not reopen substantial negotiations on the proposed text. It is now 23:18. The deadline has passed.

Reuters report just in by Estelle Shirbon, says the two Darfur rebel groups said they would refuse to sign a peace agreement in its current form. Excerpt:
The Sudanese government said it had decided to sign the Darfur peace deal despite "reservations", and diplomats said the biggest of those centred on disarmament arrangements.

"What this (agreement) means, in effect, is that the government has to disarm the Janjaweed at a time when the rebels will still have their forces fully deployed, albeit in defensive positions," said a diplomat closely involved in the talks.

Observers said a trade-off was still possible whereby the government would grant the rebels a few concessions in exchange for a watering down of the Janjaweed disarmament provision.
[Perhaps tomorrow morning we'll awaken to more hopeful news. Whatever, agreements are worth no more than the paper they are written on if there is no real commitment. The rebels have proved insincere and not interested in peace. God help the women and children of Darfur.]

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