News / Africa

Darfur Truce Follows Chad-Sudan Rapprochement

Darfur rebel group, backed by Chad, to sign power-sharing deal with Sudanese president; comprehensive peace likely to remain elusive

Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (L) welcomes Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir upon his arrival in Doha to sign a peace deal between Khartoum and the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement, 22 Feb 2010
Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (L) welcomes Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir upon his arrival in Doha to sign a peace deal between Khartoum and the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement, 22 Feb 2010
Alan Boswell

The most powerful Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, is scheduled to sign a truce with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir Tuesday in Doha, Qatar. The deal, negotiated in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, was spurred along by the recent pledge from Sudan and Chad to quit fueling the proxy war on their border.

The cease-fire is supposed to lay the groundwork for a formal peace deal to be completed by March 15, though a Justice and Equality Movement spokesman told Reuters that such a deadline was unrealistic. The final agreement is to incorporate elements of power-sharing, prisoner amnesty, and the integration of rebel forces in the Sudanese army.  Other rebel groups have not signed on to the deal.

Also expected in attendance at the signing ceremony is Chadian President Idriss Deby, whose presence underscores the shadow role that Sudan's western neighbor has played both in fueling the long-running war in the Darfur region, and, now, in possibly ending this segment of the conflict.

A senior communication official in Bashir's ruling party, Rabi Abdulaati, told VOA that the apparent rapprochement between the two countries set the stage for the agreement.

"The normalization of relations between Chad and Sudan definitely has a great role in this breakthrough between JEM and the Sudan government. I think also the visit by the president of Chad also has resulted in this frame agreement between the two parties," Abdulaati said.

JEM was one of two main rebel groups that rose against Khartoum in 2003, complaining of the western region's marginalization.  Most agree that JEM is now the strongest of the fractured Darfur rebel groups on the ground.

The group's leader, former government official Khalil Ibrahim, is from the Zaghawa tribe, as is most of JEM's leadership. Chadian President Deby is also Zaghawan, and has been accused of arming Ibrahim's rebellion in Darfur.

But this month at a rare meeting between the Sudanese and Chadian heads of states, the two agreed to end support for each other's rebellions. President Bashir is facing an election in April and is hoping to shore up support and stability in the vote-rich Darfur region, and President Deby is also beginning to get ready for upcoming polls.

Analysts say Chad's support for the peace arrangement could be the key factor that separates this cease-fire from previous short-lived deals. JEM is already claiming that Sudanese forces have  broken the truce, though the rebel group says it is still committed to the peace framework.

If the deal does manage to result in an end of hostilities between JEM and Khartoum, comprehensive peace in Darfur will still likely remain an elusive goal.

The other main rebel group on the ground, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction still aligned to exiled-leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur, has refused to join the peace talks. While JEM holds Islamist ideological ties with the Khartoum regime, SLA is an ethnic Fur-dominated rebellion seeking secular rule. Paris-based founder Abdel Wahid is reported to continue to enjoy wide popular support among the displaced populations on the ground.

More than 300,000 were killed and millions displaced in the conflict as Khartoum mobilized Arab militias to destroy the rebels' bases of support. Khartoum rejects the casualty figures.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs