Sudan, Darfur rebel factions reach deal: UN
The government of Sudan and one of the Darfur rebel factions agreed Thursday to a framework for continuing peace talks aimed at ending a decade-long war, a top UN official said.
Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet had just briefed the Security Council on recent flare-ups of violence between Darfur rebels and Sudan's forces when he received word of the development from Doha, Qatar, where talks were under way.
Mulet took the floor again, breaking into the Sudanese ambassador's presentation, to inform the Security Council of the agreement between the government of Sudan and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM-Mohammed Bashar).
They "have just, a few minutes ago, signed a framework agreement. This document sets out the basis upon which the parties will negotiate over the adoption of" the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, Mulet told the council.
Sudan's Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman welcomed the news, and later told reporters that the peace agreement was with a "splinter faction from the Justice and Equality Movement. This is good progress. It shows that the peace process is going very well."
Until Thursday, only one Darfur rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement, had signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with the Sudanese government. The document lays the groundwork for a peace process and focuses on seven areas: human rights; power-sharing; wealth-sharing; justice and reconciliation; compensation of refugees and internally displaced persons; cease-fire and security arrangements; and internal dialogue and consultation.
A group of rebel negotiators have been meeting with Sudanese representatives and a UN mediator in Doha since January 20, Mulet said.
Osman said he urged the Security Council "to exercise all pressure on the remaining movements who are still refusing to join the peace process."