October 24, 2010 (DOHA) — Darfur Joint Chief Mediator welcomed today a decision by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to send a delegation to the Qatari capital to discuss their point of view on the resumption of peace talks with the Sudanese government in official venue Doha.
JCM Djibril Bassole (L) with the Qatari State Minister Ahmed Al-Mahmoud in Doha on Jan 26, 2010 (Reuters)
More than five months ago, last May, JEM rebels walked out of the peace talks accusing the government of attacking their positions on the ground violating a cessation of hostilities deal. They also lashed out against the host country, Qatar, saying it favors the government.
However the mediator Djibril Bassole kept contacts with the rebel group seeking to convince them to return to Doha and rejoin the negotiating table. This month he met with JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim in Tripoli on 8 and 11 October, followed by a meeting with the rebel movement in London on 22 October.
“I welcomed the decision of the JEM to send a delegation to Doha to discuss the conditions of their return to the peace talks on peace in Darfur,” Bassole told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
He further said his meetings with the chairman of the rebel movement Khalil Ibrahim and this week meeting in London with a delegation led by Gibril Ibrahim, JEM secretary for foreign relations,” helped to establish a frank and constructive dialogue about the conduct of the peace process in Darfur”.
Following the signing of a framework agreement with the Sudanese government in Doha on 23 February, JEM criticized the mediation for accepting to include a new rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), formed in Doha by small factions.
JEM rejected at the time, LJM participation in the process and threatened to pull out of the talks. In reaction, the mediation said ready to establish two parallel and separate talks one for JEM and the other for LJM. However, the rebel group refused the proposal saying LJM can be integrated under its leadership.
Last June after suspending its participation, JEM said the process should be reformed in a way to be “impartial and serious” enough to put pressure on Khartoum to implement the signed agreements.
“I express the wish that all future meetings between JEM delegation, the Minister Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud and myself here in Doha will create the conditions for its full participation in the peace process including the implementation of the framework agreement signed on 23 February 2010,” Bassole said.
He stressed that a comprehensive, definitive and lasting peace in Darfur requires the involvement of JEM along with all the rebel movements in Darfur engaged in the peace talks.
He further called on the rebel groups and the civil society to unite their efforts and to work together for peace and development in the war ravaged region.
“Therefore, I reiterate my call for a holy union that will allow the warring parties and civil society to adopt a program of peace and sustainable development for Darfur,” the chief mediator said.
Despite Khartoum statements that the peace process should be concluded with the end of the year, Bassole seeks to bring all the stakeholders together for an inclusive and lasting peace agreement in Darfur.
In a parallel effort, he held different discussions with the Paris based leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Abdel Wahid Al-Nur to join the Doha process. The latter said recently he will hold a meeting in France for his movement to discuss the ongoing efforts for peace in Darfur.