Riyadh: The credibility of Qatar as an honest broker increases the chances of success in the Darfur peace initiative, launched by the Gulf state to end the conflict in the troubled province, Sudanese academics and activists say.

Speaking to Gulf News, they expressed confidence that the initiative taken by Qatar, in its capacity as the head of the steering committee of the Arab Initiative for solving the Darfur crisis, would result in restoring peace and normalcy to the restive western Sudanese region.

Dr Othman Abu Zaid, a former minister in the government of President Omar Hassan Al Bashir, told Gulf News that the regional and international situations are most suitable to find a peaceful solution to Darfur crisis.

"Perhaps, it may take some more time until the completion of the presidential election process in the United States and the new president's policy announcement on Darfur crisis, and the UN Security Council's decision on the findings of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo," he said.

Dr Othman Abu Zaid does not believe that talks with Sudanese groups, which receive support from outside, would bring any positive results. "Negotiations with such groups getting outside support are virtually like negotiations with outsiders, who are the forces aiding these groups," he said.

The former minister noted that Sudanese government had entered well before in negotiations with the United States that resulted in the First Peace Agreement signed in Abuja, then for signing the agreement of the East, it talked with its neighbour Eritrea and later with the international community as a whole at Nifasha in Kenya.

On his part, Dr Omar Shaikh Al Asam, a Saudi-based Sudanese university professor, said there are several factors that would bolster peace initiative in Darfur this time.

"Qatar is known for its impartiality, transparency and credibility on the international arena as well as its good intentions in bringing together all the groups in one single nation," he said citing the example of Lebanon.

According to Al Asam, the initiative has paved the way domestically for a solution to the Darfur problem.