April 18, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese government today criticized the suspension of peace talks by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) which asks Khartoum to renounce a referendum on Darfur administrative status.
The rebel group on Sunday declined to attend a meeting with Sudanese government delegation on wealth sharing and asked the mediation to discuss Darfur administrative make-up first in order to reaffirm Khartoum’s commitment to reach a negotiated agreement over the issue in Doha instead of the announced referendum.
The spokesperson of the Sudanese government delegation in the peace talks criticized, in statements made on Monday, the position of the rebel group saying they are far from what is agreed with the other rebel Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM).
Omer Adam Rahma, who was speaking in Khartoum, ruled out the possibility of reaching a deal with JEM before the end of April, stressing that the mediators plan to announce their final peace document at the end of the month.
The mediation urged the parties last month to give their comments and observations on four chapters they generally agree and to develop their points of view on the pending issues particularly the power sharing — Darfur status and Darfur representation at the presidency — and the security arrangements.
A general conference for all Darfur stakeholders is expected to take place by the end of April in Doha to discuss the divergences between the negotiating parties and to adopt a joint position on it.
Among the four chapters, JEM had to hand its observation on the wealth sharing but froze its participation in the talks to protest a presidential decree to hold a referendum on the administrative shape of the region.
The two rebel groups said the referendum is a clear breaching of the framework agreements signed with the government. But LJM kept negotiating announcing they will only be committed to what would be agreed in Doha and reject any measure undertaken unilaterally by Khartoum.
Khartoum refuse to establish a fourth level of power in Darfur between the states and the central government allowing to administrative the whole region by a regional authority. Two rebel groups, JEM and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel wahid Al-Nur, refused in May 2006 to sign Abuja peace agreement because Khartoum did not concede this demand.