Tags: Sudan | rebels | pact | deal

Sudan to Sign Another Rebel Pact

Wednesday, 17 March 2010 09:19 AM

DOHA – The Sudanese government is to sign a deal with a small Darfur rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement, this week as talks with the larger Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) falter, a minister said.

"The accord will be signed on Thursday in the presence of Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, who is expected to arrive in Doha on Wednesday," Culture Minister Amin Hassan Omar told reporters in the Qatari capital late on Tuesday.

The deal with the LJM -- an alliance of splinter rebel factions formed last month -- comes after a deadline set for the completion of peace negotiations between Khartoum and the JEM passed without agreement on Monday.

The target was set by a framework accord inked last month and hailed by the international community as a major step towards bringing peace to Darfur but the talks have since run into difficulty.

Before heading to Doha last week, US Sudan envoy Scott Gration urged all parties to the Darfur conflict to seize the "little window" for a peace agreement before presidential, parliamentary and state elections next month.

"If we can get a jump on a Darfur peace agreement, then we should, because there's going to be a lot of things keeping us from focusing on Darfur," Gration told reporters in Nairobi.

The framework agreement "has to be turned into a more formalised agreement... If there is going to be a comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur, all rebel groups need to be involved," he said.

One key rebel group -- the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Abdelwahid Nur -- has so far refused to have any negotiations with the government and earlier this month engaged in fierce clashes with the army in the fertile Jebel Marra plateau in the heart of Darfur.

Since ethnic minority rebels first rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in 2003, the conflict has claimed some 300,000 lives and left 2.7 million people homeless, according to UN figures.

Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010 09:19 AM
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