Addis Ababa, 8 March 2014 —The African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR) and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, facilitated a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 7 March between the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and leaders of the Sudan Liberation Army – Minni Minawi and the Justice and Equality Movement – Gibril Ibrahim.
“This meeting is a significant opportunity for the movements and the African Union to exchange views and for building a common understanding of the basis for a lasting political settlement for Darfur,” said JSR Chambas.
The leaders of the armed movements, Minni Arko Minawi and Gibril Ibrahim Mohamed, affirmed their commitment for peace, a united Sudan with a national identity that reflects its cultural and religious diversity, and the need for a national dialogue to address holistically the problems facing the country. They urged the African Union to become fully engaged in the political process and assist the Sudanese parties to realize these goals.
The Chairperson welcomed the commitment of the armed movement leaders to peace, the unity of their country, a comprehensive and negotiated solution to Sudan’s issues, and the holding of national dialogue. Reflecting on the experience of the African National Congress of South Africa, she advised: “There will always be problems of mistrust, skepticism and doubts when people have been at war for decades.”
The Head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) urged the movements to join the ‘national dialogue’ proposed by Sudanese President Al Bashir in January, as a workable option towards bringing a comprehensive solution to the crises in Darfur and all of Sudan. Chairperson Zuma similarly, encouraged them to continue to work with UNAMID and other stakeholders to formulate a strategy on how to conduct the national dialogue.
The Chairperson reaffirmed the commitment of the African Union, through the joint efforts of UNAMID and the African Union High Level Panel on Sudan, to continue to assist all the Sudanese parties in the search for lasting peace and economic development in Sudan. “The more we can assist Sudan to be united, diverse with a common national identity, the better for the AU”, she said.
During his visit to Addis Ababa, JSR Chambas also met the Envoys of the League of Arab States member states accredited to Ethiopia and briefed them on the situation in Darfur, highlighting the security situation, including the rise in inter and intra-communal conflicts and continuing belligerency between the Government of Sudan and armed movements with their negative impact on the humanitarian situation which has worsened.
Mr. Chambas discussed his efforts towards facilitating an inclusive and sustainable political process to bring the Darfur conflict to a successful and acceptable conclusion for all stakeholders. He stressed the need for the support and goodwill of the international community, including the Arab League, to make the national dialogue proposed by the Government of Sudan transparent and credible.
The United States has called on the Sudanese government to prevent further acts of violence by government-supported fighters in Darfur.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a statement Saturday condemning the attacks on civilians. She said the Darfur militia, also known as the Rapid Support Forces, burned homes outside of the southwestern city of Nyala on February 27.
The assault killed several citizens and forced thousands more to flee to displacement camps.
The statement also condemned the Sudan government’s “campaign of aerial bombardments” and called on Sudanese officials to allow U.N. peacekeepers to investigate the incidents.
Citizens from Kalamindo, El Taweisha, and Alliet localities in North Darfur have protested in El Fasher against the attacks on their villages by the joint rebel forces of Darfur. The rebels have claimed full control of several villages in El Taweisha.
A relative of one of the protesters told Radio Dabanga on Friday that “they handed over a memorandum to the authorities of North Darfur, the UN-AU mission in Darfur (Unamid), and the UN’s humanitarian office (OCHA)”. He said the protesters also criticised the ruling National Congress Party for not moving to protect the citizens who were affected by the attack in the three localities.
“More than 500,000 people were affected by the rebels’ attack”, Najeeb Mohamed El Amin, the spokesman for the three localities, claimed. He called upon the government to “relieve the affected people and provide them with humanitarian aid”, and to “implement the rule of law in these three localities”.
Karoya Laban, Usban captured
Meanwhile, the “Darfur joint resistance forces”, as they have called themselves, announced they are in full control of Karoya Laban and Usban in El Taweisha locality on Friday. “The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and other Darfuri resistance forces captured Karoya Laban at 9 am and Usban at 11 am”, Adam Saleh Abakar, spokesman for the Darfur joint resistance forces and Minni Minawi’s troops (SLM-MM), told Radio Dabanga. He claimed that the pro-government militias had fled and left behind three vehicles, which they have seized.
Abakar announced on Wednesday that after the joint resistance forces take control of the villages and the surrounding areas in the three localities, they intend to facilitate the formation of civil governments by the citizens of the region, “without any interference by the joint resistance forces or the SRF”.