Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Darfur Rebel Leader on Al-Bashir’s Possible Arrest | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr Khalil Ibrahim, leader of Sudan’s Justice and Equality Movement [JEM], has told Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from the Qatari capital Doha where he is leading his movement in the negotiations with the Sudanese government which started before six days that his movement is close to signing an agreement with Khartoum on demonstrating good intentions and building trust after which they enter into negotiations over a framework agreement.

Ibrahim added “we are expecting to sign an agreement on good intentions and building trust at any moment” and pointed out that his movement has a large military and political presence in Sudan and is therefore seeking to solve the country’s entire problems instead of fragmenting them. After stressing that his movement is not seeking to isolate any party in the province in the search for a final solution to the crisis, he pointed out that all the Darfur sons, political forces, civil society organizations, and representatives of the displaced and refugees would be mobilized during the stage of detailed negotiations of the issues and asserted that he was not seeking power but seeking to include everyone in the peace and said “we are seeking to make the ongoing war in Darfur the last one in Sudan.”

Ibrahim refused to link the ongoing negotiations with the government in Doha to the expected warrant from the International Court of Justice [ICJ] to arrest President Al-Bashir and said “we are not bound by the ICJ decision against Al-Bashir” but added: “Issuing the warrant might help us reach an agreement and achieve the democratic change and not the opposite.” He pointed out that the negotiations stage between the two sides is now focusing on demonstrating good intentions and building trust and they are proceeding well and noted that the negotiations of a framework agreement would follow the agreement on building trust which involves the release of prisoners and detainees, a halt to the air bombardment of civilians, and the opening of roads for the delivery of relief. He said: “Only after this we can enter into negotiations about the framework agreement which regulates the framework of negotiations and details of the issues.”

The JEM leader went on to say that the government side is hesitating about signing the trust building agreement because it involves the exchange of prisoners between the two sides and added: “The government is hesitant about signing this agreement because it does not care about its prisoners, among them senior army officers and thousands of soldiers. It does not wish to have them back. We want our prisoners held by Khartoum and we can hand over the prisoners to any mediator, Qatar or anyone else.”

Ibrahim disclosed that his movement would keep its representatives in Doha after the agreement on demonstrating good intentions and building trust so as to continue the negotiations about the framework agreement and prepare for it and added that the framework agreement could turn the power and resources issue into the roadmap in the detailed negotiations which require collateral technical action by both sides and mediators. He pointed out that his movement handed its vision of a clear roadmap to the mediators before three months and added that the government side wants peace without paying its obligations and believes the JEM is after jobs like some movements and said: “We are seeking a comprehensive solution and the war in Darfur to be the last one in Sudan by dealing with the Sudanese provinces’ problems under a real federal system and a democratic change bound by time.” He noted that the transitional period should have a known time period and added that the presence of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement as a partner in the government has been unable to bring about the change towards democracy and attributed this to the National Congress Party’s control of all key institutions and said “continuing with the National Congress Party’s policy will not help bring about the democratic transformation and change the governance structure in favor of those marginalized.”

The JEM leader stressed the holding of elections under the present government [as published] and called for a transitional government led by an independent person and for the parties to be financed by the state’ treasury and said: “The National Congress cannot use the state’s funds alone and then contest the elections. We reject this and will absolutely not allow it.” He pointed out that his movement’s demands “are reasonable, to have water, gas, and electricity enter every house, and his movement has a clear program for solving Sudan’s problems.” He added: “We do not call for excluding anyone, either in Darfur or Sudan, and will mobilize all the movements, civil society organizations, the women, and the displaced and refugees in the detailed negotiations of the issues.” He noted that negotiations of the cease-fire and hostilities issues are held between the fighters and not parties that are not fighting, which was a reference to some armed groups in the province. After stressing that his movement is seeking peace for all the Darfur citizens which deals with the displaced and refugees’ issue, he said: “I am optimistic about reaching peace and my optimism is objective because we have the real desire and political will and we are not that far from achieving peace if the government side’s intentions are sincere.” He then expressed his willingness to continue negotiations with Khartoum while the war goes on in Darfur and said his movement does not have a problem about the government continuing its war while we continue to negotiate with it and the evidence is that it lost its battle with us the day before yesterday.