The negotiations taking place in Doha aimed at bringing an end to the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan are making good progress, according to the joint United Nations-African Union mediator.
Djibril Bassolé said the talks between the Government of Sudan and some rebel groups are “advancing well” and noted the inclusive nature of the peace process, with Darfur civil society, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, participating actively and constructively.
At the same time, he noted that the main Darfur rebel groups are not participating in the talks in the Qatari capital.
“The absence of both the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid at the negotiation table and the ongoing fighting in Darfur are putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace,” Mr. Bassolé said in a statement issued to the press yesterday after meeting in Juba with Sudan’s First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit.
The mediator said he encouraged Mr. Kiir to help bring all remaining rebel groups to the talks.
He added that ongoing fighting in Darfur is putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace, echoing what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in his latest report on the joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID.
Mr. Ban noted that violence flared between Sudanese Government forces and JEM in May, in breach of a cessation of hostilities agreement signed earlier this year, making May the deadliest month since the establishment of UNAMID in 2007.
He urged the Government and JEM to immediately cease their ongoing military confrontations and commit to the peace process, stating that the rebel group’s withdrawal from the Doha talks has undermined the goal of a rapid resolution of the conflict.
An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others have been displaced in the past seven years in Darfur due to fighting between rebels and Government forces backed by allied Janjaweed militiamen.