The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 23, 2022

Los Angeles Times: Disunity hobbles upcoming Darfur talks. The thorniest issue in the upcoming Darfur peace talks isn't when to deploy United Nations peacekeepers or how to disarm government-backed militias. It's how many chairs to set at the negotiating table for the rebels. Rebel disunity has become one of the biggest obstacles to resolving violence in the war-torn region of western Sudan and is already threatening to derail the much-anticipated peace conference in Libya, slated to begin Saturday. Two years ago, there were three main rebel groups in Darfur. By the latest United Nations count, 28 are vying for recognition. In this hot and humid provincial capital in southern Sudan, more than 80 rebel leaders have spent the last week huddled in talks aimed at resolving their differences and formulating a common negotiating platform for the meeting in Libya. Under the mentorship of former fighters from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, which carried out a separate rebellion in the nation's south, the pre-Libya strategizing session has had mixed success. Participants here say they largely agree on the terms of power-sharing and security reforms they'll demand from the Sudanese government in Libya. But the western rebels are still bickering over which faction should take a lead role in negotiating strategies. Much of the time has been spent attempting to reconcile offshoots of the two main rebel groups, the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. Complicating matters is the fact that the founders of those two groups, Abdel Wahid of the SLA and Khalil Ibrahim of the JEM, boycotted the Juba conference and are vowing to torpedo the Libya talks. Analysts say the chances of a successful peace negotiation in the current environment look dim. Adam Azzain Mohammed, head of the University of Khartoum's Institute for the Studies of Public Administration and Federal Governance, said some rebel leaders were less interested in achieving peace and more concerned about securing personal power and territory.

Reuters: UN envoy due in Sudan after yearlong gap. The U.N.'s new top envoy to Sudan was due arrive in Khartoum on Tuesday, a year to the day after his predecessor was expelled. Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Qazi will take up his duties as the U.N. Secretary General's special representative in Sudan at a time of deepening political uncertainty in Africa's biggest state. A faltering north-south peace deal, which Qazi will be expected to oversee, was thrown into crisis when former southern rebels withdrew their ministers from the country's coalition government on Oct. 11. Qazi's arrival also coincides with an upsurge in violence in Sudan's western Darfur region, just days ahead of peace talks between the government and splintered rebel groups. It was Darfur that sealed the fate of Qazi's predecessor, the Dutch diplomat Jan Pronk. Pronk angered Khartoum by publishing comments on his weblog saying the Sudanese army had lost two major battles to rebels in North Darfur and soldiers were refusing to fight. He flew out of Khartoum on Oct. 23, 2006, after the government ordered him to leave, calling him a threat to Sudanese security. Qazi was the U.N.'s special representative in Iraq before taking up the Sudan post. U.N. staff are known to be unhappy about the length of time it has taken to replace Pronk. The appointment was held up by the handover from Kofi Annan to the current U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Associated Press: Sudan to Announce Darfur Cease - Fire. Sudan will announce a cease-fire at the start of talks with rebel groups on Oct. 27 aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur, the country's U.N. ambassador said Monday. Ambassador Abdelmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed said the government decided to declare a cease-fire at the opening session to help promote the success of the talks in the Libyan city of Sirte, the hometown of the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi. ''On that day ... we will declare a cease-fire so that we can give the negotiators a chance to get out with an agreement on cessation of hostilities and cease-fire in the first round of the talks,'' he told The Associated Press in an interview. ''So this will be a good confidence-building measure when all parties agree to a cease-fire, which we are going to announce on the 27th,'' Mohamed added. Earlier this month, the U.N. special envoy to Darfur, Jan Eliasson, called on the Sudanese government and rebel factions to begin the peace talks with a cease-fire agreement and urged both sides to make concessions. ''Fighting should not be the means for achieving political goals,'' he said. Past cease-fires in Darfur have been regularly violated and it is doubtful that all rebel groups will sign on to a truce.

USA Today: Notes: Bulls' Deng works to stop Darfur killings. The Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng knows the stakes in the Sudan all too well: He was born there, and he and his family ended up fleeing the African nation for their lives. The refugee-turned-NBA star drew on that personal history Sunday to appeal for help to stop the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region, where civil strife has left more than 200,000 dead. "We all need to put a stop to this and do whatever we can to stop this," he told about 200 people at a downtown Chicago rally. "I just hope more people will get involved." Other speakers called on China, one of Sudan's closest allies, to exert its influence to end the crisis that has also displaced 2.5 million people. Some activists have even called for boycotts of next year's Beijing Olympics unless China acts. One banner at the event read, "China Please: Bring the Olympic dream to Darfur." "I think there are a lot of people out there waiting for hope, and if we don't do anything ? the opportunity that came to me will never come to them," he said.


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