Sudan

Darfur displaced welcome peace initiative by SLM rebel leader

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The displaced people in Darfur have declared their full support for the peace initiative proposed by the head of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW), Abdelwahid El Nur. A high-level delegation of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance is scheduled to arrive in Khartoum today.

The Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination has started to consult the people in the camps about the proposal of rebel leader Abdelwahid El Nur to hold an internal dialogue on the peace process, Yagoub Abdallah, head of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination, told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday.

"We found a 100 per cent support for the initiative among the displaced in the five Darfur states," Abdallah said.

"The people consider the internal dialogue a real, correct, and radical approach to solve the Sudanese identity crisis and reach a lasting peace. We all hope that the government in Khartoum will positively respond to the initiative as well," he stated.

"An internal dialogue gives them the opportunity to be heard, as most of them cannot travel to Khartoum or abroad. They have no identity papers or travel documents. In addition, the insecurity in the region hinders their travelling as well," the displaced leader explained.

"The voice of the displaced will only become clear until we all meet as Sudanese, including representatives of displaced people and refugees in a place to be agreed on, in order to answer this question, and participate in drafting the country's constitution accordingly," he stated.

Governance

"The most basic question is how Sudan will be governed," he said. "Whoever governs Sudan is not important for the displaced people, but what is necessary and crucial is to agree on how the country will be governed," he explained.

Regarding accusations that the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination is affiliated with the SLM-AW, Abdallah said that "the displaced listen to any person who cares for human rights. As El Nur now is such a person, we all support his initiative to have internal dialogues concerning the peace process.

"We are now waiting for the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdelwahid El Nur, to present the programme of the dialogue from within, and we are ready to take part in it."

'Who governs Sudan is not important for us, but what is crucial is how the country will be governed' -- Darfur displaced'

Abdelwahid El Nur, founder and head of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement, which has still strongholds in Jebel Marra in central Darfur, did not join the peace talks in the South Sudan capital Juba in September last year.

El Nur, known as a "serial naysayer" adheres to his position that he will only join negotiations after security and stability have been realised in Sudan's conflict-torn western region. Displaced still complain about attacks on civilians in Darfur.

Yet, after the peace negotiations with the members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front alliance of six rebel groups proceeded well, pressure on El Nur to join the peace negotiations grew. Early this year, he proposed the internal dialogue to the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination as an alternative to the peace talks.

For this reason, El Nur, residing in the French capital of Paris, where he met with visiting PM Abdallah Hamdok in October last year, would reportedly be prepared to return to Sudan, and attend the Darfur internal dialogue. If it had not been for the COVID-19 lockdown, he would have arrived in Khartoum months ago, sources say.

On September 6, a week after the Sudanese government and the members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front alliance signed the comprehensive peace agreement in initials in Juba, hundreds of displaced in Central Darfur took to the street in protest against the peace deal.

All agreements on Darfur that have been signed so far all come down to "trading the rights of the displaced," a camp leader told Radio Dabanga. He said they do not feel represented in the agreement, and continue to support El Nur.

Khartoum

A high-level delegation of the SRF rebel alliance* is scheduled arrive in Khartoum today.

The delegation, headed by Yasir Arman, consists of members of nine committees, of which three are chaired by women. Among the 36 people of the delegation, nine are women.

Ibrahim Zariba, the official spokesperson for the delegation, told Radio Dabanga that the delegation will hold meetings with the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers. They also planned to visit a number of Sudanese states.

"We intend to mobilise official and popular support, and strengthen the partnership with the Forces of Freedom and Change, Resistance Committees, women and youth groups, and political forces in the country, to bring the peace agreement to reality and build a broad social base to complete the tasks of the revolution, and make the transitional period successful," he said.

A delegation of the South Sudanese mediation team is already in Khartoum, in preparation of the final signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in Juba on October 3.

The head of the team, Tut Galuak, handed official invitations from the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, to Sovereign Council President Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to attend the signing ceremony.

Galuak told reporters in Khartoum that he discussed with Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti', Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Rapid Support Forces militia, the ongoing arrangements in forming several committees for the implementation of the peace agreement.

He hopes that the separate peace talks with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) will be resumed soon. He added that the mediation team adheres to the Juba Declaration of Principles signed by the negotiating parties in September last year.

Exit

In North Darfur, Joint Special Representative for the UN-AU joint peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Jeremiah Mamabolo, held talks with the state governor in El Fasher, that focused on the exit strategy of the mission, and arrangements for the handover of tasks to the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) that will start its work in Sudan when the mandate of UNAMID ends on December 31.

Mamabolo said in a press conference after the meeting that during the remaining period, UNAMID will organise a series of workshops on the contents and terms of the comprehensive peace agreement.

He said that the UN Security Council will evaluate the work of the mission on October 21.

** The SRF members are the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North faction headed by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) active in Blue Nile state, and the Darfur rebel groups Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), SLM-Transitional Council, the Sudan Liberation Forces Group, and the Sudanese Alliance (which includes 15 smaller groups).*