The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 7, 2023

New York Times: Darfur Rebels Agree on Approach to Peace Talks, U.N. Says. Eight rebel groups from the chaotic Sudanese region of Darfur agreed Monday on a common platform for peace talks with the government, the United Nations announced. After three days of talks in Arusha, Tanzania, the rebel factions reached a framework on “power-sharing, wealth-sharing, security arrangements, land and humanitarian issues, for the final negotiations” with the government, which could begin with two or three months, according to a statement from the United Nations and the African Union. Details of these agreed-upon elements, which have historically proved deeply divisive, were not immediately available. The groups, which have often fought one another, not just the government, “reiterated their readiness to respect a complete cessation of hostilities, provided that all other parties make similar commitments.” They also committed themselves to ensuring access for relief aid to Darfur, where the combined effects of war have left at least 200,000 dead since 2003, according to United Nations estimates. The participants stressed that the conflict in Darfur “can have no military solution and that a political solution is of the utmost urgency,” the final statement said. None of the participants were signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement, which the Sudanese government reached with one rebel faction last year. Absent from the consultations was Suleiman Jamous, the highly regarded relief coordinator for the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, who has been in government custody for more than a year while awaiting medical treatment, despite pleas for his release by rebel groups and rights activists.

Reuters: Sudan Not Enthusiastic on Darfur Rebel Platform: U.N. Envoy. Sudan's government is not enthusiastic about some elements of a joint Darfur rebel platform agreed during U.N. and African Union mediated talks in Tanzania, U.N. Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson said on Tuesday. Eliasson and his AU counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim brought many Darfur commanders and groups together for unity talks in Arusha. They emerged from the meeting with a common platform, including land issues, power and wealth-sharing, ahead of proposed peace talks with the government. But Khartoum, which says a Darfur peace deal it signed with one of three rebel negotiating factions in May 2006 should not be reopened, was not happy with all the issues raised in the rebel's final joint declaration. "Not all of the points of course are met with great enthusiasm, but it is a basis," Eliasson told reporters after the meeting. "The government does not want to have a renegotiation of the DPA (Darfur Peace Agreement) so this is a matter we will discuss both with the government and with the non-signatories -- how will we finalize the final agenda." Analysts have said the Arusha meeting's chance of success were hampered by the absence of some important rebel figures, but nonetheless succeeded in boosting unity. Eliasson said a seat was available for Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) leader and founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur, who refuses any talks until an oil-for-food program and no-fly zone is in place in Sudan's remote west. Khartoum at the weekend expressed its anger at France, hosting Nur, for not pressuring him to attend the Arusha talks.

Reuters: EU Says Rebel Talks Take Darfur Closer to Peace. The European Union on Tuesday hailed an agreement among Darfur rebel factions, saying it had taken the region a significant step closer to peace. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called the outcome of the meeting in Arusha brokered by the African Union and the United Nations "very encouraging." "The prospect of peace in Darfur has moved a significant step closer," he said in a statement. "The common position among essential non-signatory movements is an achievement, which holds the promise of peace negotiations in the coming months." Solana pledged that the European Union would continue strong support for the peace process and urged the rebel movements and the government to live up to their commitments. "Now is the time to engage and demonstrate genuine dedication to put an end to this crisis," he said.

Fortune: A Khartoum boom, courtesy of China. Thousands of miles from the tough talk in Washington about sanctions and peacekeeping troops, and from Hollywood's celebrity campaign to save Darfur, Sudan is booming. Cranes loom over Khartoum's cityscape while bulldozers roar down below, churning up the earth to make way for multilane roads and tall office buildings. Think of Sudan these days and you're likely to envision janjaweed militia in Darfur rampaging through villages on horses and camels, killing and raping, or shallow desert graves and refugees in a scorched landscape. Those images have filled newspapers and television screens for more than four years. Yet during those same years billions of dollars have poured into Sudan - a rural country the size of Western Europe - thanks to a nascent oil industry whose production soared just as oil prices hit record highs and energy needs rocketed for Sudan's main customer, China. The realization in the West that China's investment in Sudan might be financing the Darfur massacres has transformed a small activist organization on U.S. campuses into the biggest divestment push since the 1980s, when a similar campaign helped end white rule in South Africa. "They are starting to wonder, 'How far can this go?'" says John Prendergast, a divestment activist and former director of African affairs at the National Security Council. "Sudan totally dismissed sanctions nine months ago. Now it is a different ball game." After decades of civil wars and Al Bashir's tough rule, Sudan ranked No. 1 on this year's "failed states" list compiled by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington - above disaster zones like Iraq and Zimbabwe. Yet by some measures this most-failed state is a big success. Its economy grew about 9 percent last year, and foreign investment rose to about $5 billion, the second highest for an African country. The growth is overwhelmingly driven by oil, which accounts for most of the nation's GDP. Production has risen from 160,000 barrels a day in 2000 to about 480,000 barrels now. That underplays the boom's big weakness: Sudan's fortunes depend heavily on a single customer, China. Its other partnerships, with Malaysia's Petronas and India's ONGC Videsh, are far smaller than the one with China National Petroleum Corp., which owns more than 40 percent of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., Sudan's largest oil firm. When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited in February, hundreds of people lined the route from the airport to greet him, and a camel was slaughtered in his honor. While Hu pledged $5.2 million in aid for Darfur refugees, he avoided scolding Al Bashir for the conflict in Darfur, wrote off $80 million in debt and offered $13 million in interest-free loans - including for a new palace for his host. China, in fact, is digging in. In June, CNPC signed a 20-year concession for offshore drilling.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].



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