August 16, 2015 (PARIS) – The non-signatory rebel groups in Darfur region and the acting chief of the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) agreed to work together for a viable and lasting negotiated settlement in order to end the 12-year conflict in the western Sudan region.
The hybrid mission is assuming the mediation in Darfur conflict, however, last year the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) sought to include Darfur issue within a holistic approach for the Sudanese crisis.
In its decision 2228 of 29 June 2015 extending the UNAMID mandate for another year, the UN Security Council welcomed the coordination with the AUHIP but demanded the Acting Joint Special Representative (AJSR) Abiodun Bashua “to revitalise the peace process and to increase its inclusiveness”.
Also, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on 31 July issued a decision encouraging “the efforts and the initiatives of the AJSR to engage both the Government of Sudan and the armed movements in support of the AUHIP Mediation”.
Following a two-day meeting held in Paris with the AJSR, the leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/AW), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the SLM-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) on Saturday released a joint statement expressing ” the need to address the issues of Darfur as a priority” within the framework of a comprehensive solution of the Sudan’s conflict.
The rebel leaders further agreed that the AJSR “would come up with suggestions on possible venues for the next meeting” after consulting with the parties and other stakeholders.
Bashua is expected to consult with the Sudanese government, AUHIP and the Qatari government which is sponsoring the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that some rebel leaders reiterated their reserves over the DDPD, but welcomed the Qatari participation in the process.
The AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki has invited the rebel groups members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) for a consultations meeting on 21 August to discuss ways to involve them in the national dialogue process.
BOOSTING UNAMID’S ROLE
The three rebel leaders in statements to Sudan Tribune pointed to the importance of the role played by the UNMAID in Darfur in order to protect civilians and humanitarian aid workers on the ground.
Also they said the hybrid mission has the means and expertise to better work on the a political solution for the conflict.
“We are seeking for a mechanism allowing to discuss the (peace) files” JEM leader told Sudan Tribune, pointing that the UNAMID has the “means and the knowledge” to achieve progress in this respect.
The AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki during his recent visit to Khartoum on 3 August focused in his discussions with the Sudanese officials on the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and the national dialogue but he didn’t raise the Darfur file.
Also, the head of Darfur peace implementation office, Amin Hassan Omer stated that Mbeki is not tasked with the resolution of Darfur conflict.
Abdel Wahid al-Nur in separate statements to Sudan Tribune reiterated his support to the UNAMID for its role in the protection of the civilians in Darfur, adding they want the Security Council extends its mandate from a “peacekeeping to a peacemaking” operation.
Further, he emphasized that “peace should begin with the security and protection of civilians, and it should be comprehensive despite the specificity of the situation in Darfur due to the ethnic cleansing and genocide, the presence of displaced people and tribal conflicts”.
“Peace has to begin with the security first. But the security we demand means disarming the Janjaweed militias, stopping the killing, and rape (in Darfur). So, if the UNAMID was able to convince the government to stop these (crimes) we are going to the peace (talks)”.
The rebel leaders in their joint statement said they agreed to ” develop and submit proposals on substantive issues for discussion as well as a suggested format for the discussions at resumed political process”.
“On this we agreed that the movements will provide a common position paper prior to the next meeting,” they stressed.