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Sudan: Darfur Rebels Reject Doha Talks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Justice and Equality Movement [JEM] led by Khalil Ibrahim has denied any knowledge of a framework agreement published by some newspapers and news agencies yesterday that said that it would be signed today between JEM and the Sudanese Government.

According to some news reports, it is probable that negotiations will commence today in the Qatari capital over Darfur between the rebel movement and a delegation from the Sudanese Government headed by presidential assistant Nafi Ali Nafi, with the attendance of UN mediator Djibril Bassole.

JEM official spokesman Ahmad Hussein Adam is in Cairo where JEM is holding consultations with the Egyptian Government over the situation in Darfur. With regard to the framework agreement to be signed today in Doha with the Sudanese Government, and which was published in a number of newspapers and news agencies, Adam has told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We have nothing to do with this agreement.” Adam adds: “There is nothing for us to sign. What was published perhaps was leaked by the mediator, and we have nothing to do with it at all.”

Adam pointed out that the delegation of his movement is conducting talks in Cairo, and will leave today for Doha. He says: “The talks that will take place in Qatar between the Khartoum Government and JEM delegation are concerned with the building of trust between the two sides.” Adam continues: “We will know then whether Khartoum is serious and pursues peace. Khartoum has to stop the bombing that is continuing until today, it will have to stop dispersing the citizens, and it will have to release the detainees and prisoners of war.”

Adam stresses that the UN negotiator has presented issues that have nothing to do with JEM. Adam says: “The negotiations we will conduct are not similar to those of Abuja, because we are trying to involve the Darfur factions, the Darfur people, the civil society institutions, and the dispersed people.”

Adam says that he is not optimistic about the negotiations that will start in Doha. However he adds that his delegation will go with an open mind and an open heart. He continues: “This time, our way in negotiations will be different, and we will not link whatever comes from the International Criminal court against Al-Bashir to the negotiations that will take place.” Adam says that if Khartoum and the mediators are trying to “exploit the participation” of his movement in the negotiations in order to hinder the resolutions of The Hague, his movement “will not engage in the negotiations.” Adam adds: “The leader of our movement, Khalil Ibrahim, has conveyed this to the mediators in a clear way.” He says that his delegation will not sign the published agreement, and will submit a clear address in the opening session.

In his turn, the leader of Sudan Liberation Movement [SLM], Abdul-Wahid Muhammad Nur, has said to Asharq Al-Awsat that the he considers the negotiations that will commence in Doha as taking place among the Islamists of Sudan, and have nothing to do with the Darfur issue. He points out that his movement rejected the Abuja agreement despite the international pressure exerted on the movement. Nur reiterates the conditions of his movement for engaging in any negotiations with the Sudanese Government, namely stopping the killing and rape, evicting the aliens brought to occupy the land of the province, disarming the Janjawid, and putting the culprits on trial in the Hague. Nur says: “These are issues that are not open for any concessions, and we will not negotiate before implementing them. This is the difference between us and the others.”

Nur reminds the international community of the stance when the senior assistant of SLM leader Mani Arkoi Minawi signed the Abuja agreement on the basis that he was the strongest on the ground. Nur says: “Now, it is revealed that he is not the strongest. However, we do not object to the others going to look for positions, or to rescue Al-Bashir from The Hague.” Nur considers that the timing of the Doha negotiations being close to the issuing of a decision by the International Criminal Court against Al-Bashir has not been accidental.

Nur adds: “What is taking place in Doha is a well-studied plan to rescue Al-Bashir from The Hague in exchange for releasing the brothers of Khalil Ibrahim from the prisons of Khartoum.” He stresses that the Doha negotiations are an attempt to convince the international community to use Article 16 to hinder the procedures of putting Al-Bashir on trial. He says: “We know that the Qatar negotiations between the government and Khalil Ibrahim group is one of the recommendations of the Islamist movement, which convened a meeting in Khartoum some months ago in order to unite its factions, and hence we reject the Doha [negotiations].” Nur points out that Qatar mediated in the past between the two wings of the Islamist movement, led by Hassan al-Turabi and Al-Bashir, in 1999. He continues: “What is taking place today is the same thing, and an extension of it.”

In his turn, leading member of the SLM Fasil Ahmad Abdul-Shafi has told Asharq Al-Awsat that his movement rejects the Doha negotiations. Abdul-Shafi describes the negotiations as “a badly-cooked arrangement between the National Congress Party and JEM.” He says that the mediators did not contact the other fighting factions in Darfur, and that they will not recognize the results of the negotiations, whatever they might be, because they are not a party to what is taking place.”