Alliance of rebel factions agrees to Darfur peace deal
Jan 3, 2011, 16:24 GMT
Doha, Qatar - An alliance of Darfuri rebel factions agreed on Monday to a final peace settlement with the Sudanese government.
'We submitted a letter yesterday after we confirmed that we accept the proposals made by the mediation and we believe it represents a solution to meet the aspirations of the people of Darfur,' Tijani Cisse, chairman of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), said in the Qatari capital Doha.
The apparent agreement comes after nearly two years of talks between Khartoum and various rebel groups, with the support of the African Union and the Arab League.
Without giving details of the agreement, a statement by the movement said that they agreed on the points put forth by the Qatar mediators. LJM said they are now waiting for the final peace document to sign it.
A spokesperson for Darfur's largest rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said yesterday that they received the text of the agreement and would hand their position to mediators before the end of the week, according to the Sudan Tribune.
The announcement comes just days after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir threatened his side would quit the talks in Qatar if there an agreement could not be reached within 24 hours, a deadline that expired on Friday.
His remarks were immediately deplored by mediators and by the JEM.
The talks were aimed at bringing a definitive end to the long conflict in the restive western Sudanese region, which began in 2003 when the predominantly black African tribes took up arms against what they called decades of neglect by the Arab government in Khartoum.
According to United Nations estimates, more than 300,000 people have died and almost 3 million been displaced as a consequence of the conflict. Khartoum says only 10,000 people have died.
Fighting had died down, but during the course of 2010 clashes between government forces, JEM and other rebel groups have begun to pick up again.
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide carried out in the province.
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