Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Parties to the crisis in the Sudan's western Darfur region have agreed that tribal land ownership (hawakeer) and other historical rights of the people of the area shall be affirmed within their historical borders, as part of an expected resolution of the Darfur crisis.
This was one of the highlights in the Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed by the parties - the government of Sudan, Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday night.
SLM/A and JEM have been fighting the Sudanese government, aided by its proxy the Janjaweed, since early 2003 over access to the limited resources in Darfur.
The fighting has left at least 180,000 people dead and forced over 2 million others to flee their homes.
In the DOP, the parties also affirmed that traditional mechanisms in Darfur would be considered consistent with the provisions of the national constitution.
The three-page document consented to by the parties will now guide future deliberations by the parties and constitutes the basis for a just, comprehensive and durable settlement of the conflict in Darfur.
It recognises the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Darfur as a priority and underlines that steps would be taken to compensate the people of Darfur and address their grievances for lives lost, assets stolen or destroyed and suffering caused by the conflict.
The document encourages the promotion of reconciliation and the restoration of the traditional and time-honoured peaceful co- existence among the communities of Darfur, based on the principle of mutual respect and the commitment to prevent future divisions.
It says national wealth shall be distributed equitably to facilitate the devolution of power in the region within the framework of a federal system of government, while noting that due consideration would be given to the socio-economic needs of Darfur.
The declaration also provides for effective representation in all the government institutions by all the segments of the society, including the legislative, judicial and executive branches.
It recognises that all refugees and internally displaced persons have the inalienable rights to return to their places of origin in accordance with international law and UN norms and standards.
The fifth round of the African Union-brokered talks, which started in June after a six-month break, has now been adjourned.
The parties are expected to return to Abuja 24 August to begin discussions on the substantive issues of power and wealth sharing.