Thursday, July 15, 2004

Sudan/Darfur: rebel groups set down conditions at Addis talks

Both rebel groups are in Addis for the AU sponsored talks ... but they have laid down conditions that must be met before they will particpate.
"Removal of government troops and Janjawid militia from Darfur, including those who are integrated into the police or other government offices" was top of a list read out by SLM official Adam Ali Shogan.

The rebels also insisted Khartoum step up efforts to counter Darfur's humanitarian crisis, where a major famine is looming, recommit itself to an April 8 ceasefire -- which both sides are accused of violating --, investigate war crimes such as "ethnic cleansing" and prosecute perpetrators, and release prisoners of war.

"Until these are done there is no question of political dialogue," the rebel official declared. (source)
UPDATE: Something that wasn't mentined in yesterday's stories ... that the rebels had said the conditions had to be met within one month. The government however doesn't need that long ... it has rejected the conditions.
Government spokesman Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim told Reuters: "We will not accept the conditions because they are impractical. ... We do agree people are being killed, but the question is who is killing them?"

"Sudan may agree to consider the conditions presented by the rebels if they are put out as an agenda for discussions, but not as a prerequisite for talks."

Ibrahim said his delegation would stay in Addis Ababa for as long as it took to reach an accord, and asked the AU cease-fire monitors in Darfur to quickly assess who was guilty for attacks in the region. He said Khartoum was not to blame. (source)
UPDATE: Saturday, July 17. According to the Associated Press, the rebels have walked out of the talks.
"These talks are now finished," Ahmed Hussain Adam said on behalf of his Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese Liberation Army. "We are leaving Addis Ababa."

[...] Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said the government remains open to further negotiations.

"This round will not be the last one," he told reporters in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

African Union mediators were working to bring both sides back to the table. "Nobody told us the negotiations have ended," AU spokesman Adam Thiam said. (source)