Rebel boycott of Darfur peace talks deepens

The Islamist Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) announced on Wednesday that it would boycott Darfur peace talks due to open in Libya on the weekend, bringing to seven the number of rebel groups intending to stay away.

The JEM said it had taken its decision in the light of consultations with six other rebel groups, which announced after preliminary talks hosted by the African Union and the United Nations on Tuesday that they would not take part in the new talks with the Sudanese government.

“The movement is not ready to take part in the masquerade that will turn Sirte into a slave market and a place of renunciation of people’s rights,” said a JEM statement dated October 23 issued on the group’s website.

UN and AU mediation “has not produced a clear and precise vision of how to relaunch the peace process”, said the statement signed by spokesperson Ahmed Hussein Adam and issued in the southern capital of Juba, where the talks were being held.

Besides the JEM, headed by Khalil Ibrahim, six factions of the secular Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM/A) have said they will not attend the talks.

The other recalcitrant groups are under the command of Ahmed Abdel Shafi, Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim, Jar al-Nabi Abdel Karim and Mohammed Aki Kelai, as well as the Northern Command faction and another group of west Darfuri rebels.

The SLM/A faction of Khamis Abdallah Bakr has said it will attend the Sirte talks.—AFP

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