Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sudanese government and SLM's Nur hold secret contacts

Regardless of what the pundits say and make up as they go along, sitting in their armchairs thousands of miles away from Africa, we know only a tiny fraction of what goes on in Sudan, a country the size of Europe.

Since none of us during wartime knows what goes on politically behind the scenes and in secrecy, one wonders how Darfurians in refugee camps can have an informed opinion on whether a peace deal is good for them or not.

According to the Sudan Tribune, Sudan's plan to disarm the Janjaweed was given to the African Union on July 8, 2006. Perhaps this accounts for the lull in media reports. A donors conference is due to take place in Brussels July 18 to raise funds for the AU Mission in Darfur/reconstruction of Darfur. Surely the donors will want to know how much money is needed and why. Will the funding required support the AU troops in Darfur from Sept 30 thru to the year's end, or longer?

Here's another thing that could account for the lull in news reports re the AU. According to a report by the Sudan Tribune 11 July 2006, its sources say the Sudanese government seeks to convince holdout rebel group SLM-Nur to join the Darfur peace agreement and that contacts are going on between the two parties. Excerpt from the report:
Sudanese government launched secret contacts with the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid al-Nur in a move to convince him to join DPA. According to ST sources, Khartoum made several concessions in term of compensations and political representation but al-Nur insists on the International guaranties particularly in the disarmament of the Janjaweed militia, and the UN role in the peacekeeping mission.

The expected visit of the Sudanese First Vice President to Asmara should pushes in this direction to persuade Nur to join the peace deal with the signing of complement document.

The Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi is also involved in these contacts with al-Nur; a delegation of his movement was in Tripoli to present their point of view to the Libyan official last June.

A dissident group from al-Nur SLM provoked a surprise in Khartoum by declaring their nomination of Abdelwahid al-Nur for the position for the position of the Assistant of the President of the Republic.

Ibrahim Abdeldayem al-Sideiq, the spokesperson of the SLM (Free Will), a faction from al-Nur group which joined the DPA in June, said they hope that al-Nur would join peace agreement soon.

Nur says he will sign the peace deal, but only if first the government accepts some of his key demands in an annex accord.

The demands include greater compensation from Khartoum for Darfur war victims and greater SLA involvement in monitoring the disarmament of the Janjaweed and the return home of refugees.

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