Region | Sudan

Sudan unhappy at some rebel demands

Sudan's government is not enthusiastic about some elements of a joint Darfur rebel negotiating platform agreed during UN and African Union mediated talks, UN Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson said on Tuesday.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 08:38 August 8, 2007
  • Gulf News

Khartoum: Sudan's government is not enthusiastic about some elements of a joint Darfur rebel negotiating platform agreed during UN and African Union mediated talks, UN Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson said on Tuesday.

Eliasson and his AU counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim, in an effort to reignite peace efforts, brought many Darfur commanders and groups together for unity talks in Arusha early this week.

They emerged from the meeting in Tanzania with a common platform, including agreement on land issues, power and wealth-sharing ahead of proposed talks with the government.

But Eliasson told reporters after meeting Foreign Ministry officials in Khartoum: "Not all of the points of course are met with great enthusiasm, but it is a basis."

Khartoum says a Darfur peace deal it signed with one of three rebel negotiating factions in May 2006 should not be reopened to address the concerns of rebels, who have since split into more than a dozen factions.

"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 finalise the final agenda," Eliasson added.

He said the UN-AU team would to try to bring government and rebel positions together in the coming weeks to reach a final agenda for talks, due to begin in about two months.

Senior Foreign Ministry official Mutrif Siddig said the government welcomed the Arusha talks, but was disappointed not all the factions were present and that the original timeline, which had envisaged peace talks beginning by August, was lost.

International experts estimate 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes during more than four years of rape, murder, disease and looting in Darfur, violence Washington calls genocide.

European governments are reluctant to use the term, which Khartoum rejects. Sudan puts the death toll at 9,000.

After months of talks, threats and negotiations, the government finally agreed to a joint UN-AU 26,000-strong peacekeeping force in Darfur, but said most of the troops should come from Africa.

But Zambia said on Tuesday the continent could not muster enough soldiers to complete the mission and international troops would have to be found from other areas.

"We don't have the means," Foreign Minister Mundia Sikatana told Reuters during a meeting in Malaysia. "Immediately Africa has no capacity to deal with the situation in Darfur."

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