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H E Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud and Aichatou Mindaoudou during the meeting, yesterday.
Doha: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, H E Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, and Aichatou Mindaoudou, Joint AU-UN Chief Mediator for Darfur, opened negotiations between a delegation of the Government of the Republic of Sudan, led by Dr Amin Hassan Omar, Minister of State in the Presidency, head of the Darfur Follow-up Office and head of the office to pursue peace in Darfur, and a delegation of the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Deputy President, in Doha yesterday.
JEM has decided to participate in peace talks after it signed a cessation of hostilities agreement, Al Mahmoud said after the opening session.
The JEM delegation has asked for more time to study the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), he said, referring to workshop held in Doha for JEM and run by the UNAMID Mediation Support in which a number of UN and AU experts participated.
The workshop aimed at building the capacity of JEM delegation and explain the provisions of the DDPD, he said.
“The two parties demonstrate keenness to enter into negotiations while I will, together with the joint AU-UN chief mediator for Darfur, draft an agenda for talks which will be approved by the parties before starting negotiations,” Al Mahmoud said.
On the issues being discussed, he said they will be decided by the negotiators.
It has been suggested to form a number of committees to deal with clauses stipulated in the DDPD.
The Deputy Premier said that he had received calls from other movements, which expressed keenness to join the DDPD.
“A third party to the conflict will join negotiations... Things are progressing on the right path, it is not a compliment,” Al Mahmoud said.
He said that the information he received confirmed existence of a “genuine desire for peace.”
“They seek a framework of arrangements... We are now working with the United Nations to provide them with such a structure” to deal with the Darfur conflict, he said.
Al Mahmoud urged non-signatory movements to sign up the DDPD, calling on all armed movements to resort to the voice of reason and enter negotiations to find a comprehensive settlement.
The DDPD was finalised at the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference in May 2011 in Doha.
On July 14, the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a protocol agreement, committing themselves to the document, which is now the framework for a comprehensive peace process in Darfur.
The DDPD is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of negotiations with the major parties involved in the Darfur conflict, all relevant stakeholders and international partners.
It addresses the root causes of the conflict and its consequences, including power and wealth sharing, human rights, justice and reconciliation, compensation and return, and internal dialogue, among others.
On whether there was a time-frame for negotiations, Al Mahmoud said that Qatar is the host country and was trying to give both parties enough time to negotiate.
He said that Qatar made it clear to both the parties that there were other commitments on schedule such as the re-building of Darfur.
Al Mahmoud said that the secret of the success of the Doha Document for Peace is that it welcomes any party or group to join it.
He added that the international community backed the document because it was made by the people of Darfur.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that Qatar, led by the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, believes that any document, if not undertaken by the people of Darfur, will end up being a failure.
To a question on implementation of the document, Al Mahmoud said that both the Sudanese Government and the JEM were pleased at the pace of implementation.