Sudan wants next round of Darfur talks in Doha to be final

News and Press Release
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Thursday 7 January 2010 06:55.

January 6, 2010 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail said this week that Khartoum hopes that the next round of negotiations with Darfur rebel groups in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar will be the last one.

Ismail said that the any agreement reached in Doha would be a complement to the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in Abuja, Nigeria.

The presidential adviser further added that the next round of talks would be preceded by a workshop that should include civil society in the war-ravaged region and rebel groups to come out with a vision that would bring back peace and stability.

He reiterated that the war in Darfur is over with lawlessness "here and there".

The former head of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur Adada told the UN Security Council (UNSC) last year that the situation in Darfur is now a 'low intensity conflict'.

The talks between the Sudanese government and the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) started almost a year ago with the signing of a goodwill agreement. However, the negotiations broke down after Khartoum expelled 13 aid groups in the wake of the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment against president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Furthermore, the death sentences handed down against JEM fighters who took part in the 2008 attack on the capital further widened the rift between the two sides.

Sources tell Sudan Tribune that Khartoum informed the mediation teams that the peace talks need to be concluded before the April elections because the newly elected government may revise its stance on the talks.

Sudan wants to sign an agreement with the rebel groups that agree to come to Doha and declare the non-signatories as "terrorist groups", the sources said.

During a recent meeting with the Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, the mediation team has urged Khartoum to improve the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur to create the suitable atmosphere for the talks.