Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Darfur's main rebel movements, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLA) Saturday issued a joint statement expressing, for the first time, their commitment to the international peace talks process, hosted by the government of Qatar.
The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) immediately described the development as a breakthrough.
“The venue of Doha, Qatar, under the auspices of the United Nations, united African Union initiative and the government of the state of Qatar, is currently the only viable and save venue for the negotiations of a political solution to the conflict,” the leaders of JEM and SLA said in joint statement received in Khartoum.
"I wholeheartedly welcome the joint statement from the main Darfur movements which for the first time ever states their common commitment to the international peace talks, an unprecedented agreement to stand together on issues,'' Joint Chief Mediator of UNAMID, Djibril Bassole, said in a statement he issued on Saturday.
''This breakthrough gives all of those who have been committed to Darfur in recent years a new reason to hope that a just and sustainable peace can be reached,” Bassole said, adding: “This is the most promising moment in years for a serious peace, but this opportunity will fade unless we all choose to make it the start of the end of this conflict and the beginning of a new era for the people of Darfur and all Sudan.”
The Doha peace talks, which have been going on for more than a year, have been marred by the continued boycotts of the main rebel movements, making it impossible to move forward.
Frustrated by the absence of the movements, the government in Khartoum decided that the negotiations be moved to Sudan. However, the movements saw the move as a “a
Khartoumization”, saying it would give upper hand to the government in Sudan at the expense of the Darfurians.
-0- PANA MO/SEG 29Jan2011