Global perspective Human stories

Darfur’s rebel movements ready to resume peace talks, UN-AU official says

Darfur’s rebel movements ready to resume peace talks, UN-AU official says

The joint UN-African Union mediator for Darfur, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé
A number of armed rebel movements in Darfur say they are ready to resume peace talks with the Sudanese Government, the African Union-United Nations official tasked with promoting dialogue between the two sides says.

Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, the Joint AU-UN Chief Mediator, met yesterday with the leaders of some of the movements in Tripoli, Libya, to discuss the so-called Doha process of negotiations and define how the rebels can effectively participate in a resolution to the Darfur crisis.

In a statement issued by his office, Mr. Bassolé said that “at the end of frank and constructive exchanges, the movements declared themselves ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Government of National Unity” in Sudan.

The Mediator encouraged the movements to pursue their contacts with other groups, including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Abdel Wahid faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), to ensure that division among the rebels does not obstruct the peace process.

He further encouraged them to negotiate a framework agreement with Khartoum that will define the contents and modalities of what are hoped to be the final and inclusive peace talks resulting in an eventual peace agreement.

While in Tripoli, Mr. Bassolé also met with a civil society group, led by General Ibrahim Suleiman, that is working towards the reconciliation and unification of all Darfurian armed movements.

He stressed the need for all sides to the conflict to agree to a cessation of hostilities so that the humanitarian situation inside Darfur can improve and those civilians who have sought refuge in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) can return homes and rebuild their regular lives with dignity.

Meanwhile, the joint AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, reports that a contingent of blue helmets came under attack yesterday near their base in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina. One peacekeeper was shot in the leg and is now in hospital in a stable condition. The attackers remain unidentified.

In a related development, the advance party of a group of Ethiopian peacekeepers has arrived in the region by road after an 1800-kilometre journey from their homeland.