The prime minister of
Qatar, which is mediating peace talks between Sudan and Darfur rebels, said
Monday that both sides will sign a deal on confidence-building measures Tuesday.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani gave no details but said the agreement could
lead to wider peace talks.
Officials of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement
also said they have reached a basic prisoner exchange agreement with the
Qatar has been mediating between Sudan and the Justice and
Equality Movement, while other rebel groups are boycotting the talks.
Darfur-born Ali Ali-Dinar is president of the Darfur Alert
Coalition in Philadelphia and associate director of the African Studies Center
at the University of Pennsylvania. Ali-Dinar tells VOA reporter James Butty
he's pessimistic because the Sudan government has never been committed to
issue is not the signing of an agreement or signing memorandum of understanding
of good intentions, but to what extent you are genuinely and seriously
committed to peace because before this negotiation in Doha, there are other
initiatives between the government and other rebel groups, but unfortunately
the government fulfilled its part. So I'm very pessimistic not with the text of
what will be signed, but with the commitment and good intentions of the
government Sudan to commit to what it signed," he said.
said the National Congress Party of President Omar al-Bashir has a history of
not fully implementing past agreements, including the 2005 Comprehensive Peace
Agreement known as the CPA.
Peace Agreement that is just one, but also there is Abuja Agreement which the
government signed with one of the rebel groups, and that agreement also was not
implemented. What people want on the ground is peace and that is not happening.
The Sudanese people and the people of Darfur are just tired of such tactics,"
said President Bashir and the National Congress Party are simply trying to buy
is just a matter of buying time because the government of Sudan because the
government has its own strategy so that it will not implement any kind of
agreement it has signed. It has something you could say to do with the ICC
(International Criminal Court) expected decision. So it's all politics and less
of good intentions," he said.
the deal expected to be signed Tuesday, both the Sudanese government and the
rebel Justice and Equality Movement agreed to exchange prisoners. But Ali-Dinar
said the exchange is not a big deal.
about those millions of people who died and now being displaced inside and
outside Sudan? Nothing is happening to them. This is also propaganda. What does
it mean for you to exchange a couple of people while you have hundreds of
thousands of your own population under the mercy of the international community
providing with food, drinks and shelter," Ali-Dinar said.
Criminal Court (ICC) judges are expected to rule within weeks on whether to
issue a warrant for President Bashir's arrest over allegations that he masterminded
genocide in Darfur.
Sudanese officials and the African Union have warned that Sudan
peace talks could be undermined if the ICC indicts President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
for war crimes in Darfur.
Ali-Dinar said the Sudanese people should decide what is good for
their country and not the African Union.
"I think that is also extremely naïve for the African Union to
meddle in this issue because this is the same position of protecting presidents
and not the people. This is the same position the African Union took with
regard to Mugabe (President of Zimbabwe), with regards to the conflict in
Zimbabwe. This is the same position it took at some point in Kenya, this is the
same position it took also in Somalia," Ali-Dinar said.