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DOHA - 25 Mar 2013

Darfur splinter faction JEM-Bashar joins Doha agreement

A splinter faction of the Justice and Equality Movement has joined the Doha peace agreement, which governs relations between the Sudanese government and Darfur armed groups that have left the rebellion.

The dissident group had announced itself in Furawiyya, North Darfur, in September last year after several meetings between their commander Mohamed Bashar Ahmed and the Chadian president Idriss Deby in Ndjamena.

JEM-Bashar began direct negotiations with the Sudanese government in Qatar the following month, with talks focusing on the Doha Document, the peace deal signed in mid-2011 by the Liberation and Justice Movement led by Tijani Sese, and backed by the Gulf emirate. The JEM faction expressed some reservations about the Doha framework and wanted to make changes particularly to the treaty’s terms on justice, wealth-sharing, and compensation for victims of the Darfur conflict.

Meanwhile, the main JEM faction led by the brother of the late founder Khalil Ibrahim has downplayed the participation of the the breakaway group in the Doha talks, saying they are seeking to join the National Congress Party in exchange for jobs.

Following the initialing of the agreement yesterday, mediators from the state of Qatar and the African Union issued yesterday a statement in the names of the Qatari deputy prime minister and minister of state for cabinet affairs Ahmed bin Abdallah Al-Mahmoud, and the AU-UN joint chief mediator for Darfur, Aichatou Mindaoudou.

"This Agreement is initialed following the Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and Commitment to the Peace Process signed on 24th of October 2012; the Agenda for Negotiations signed on the 24th of January 2013, and the Ceasefire Agreement signed on the 10th of February 2013," the statement said.

The mediators said that the deal was signed by Amin Hassan Omar, Sudan's Minister of State in the Presidency and Head of Darfur Peace Follow-Up office, and the Mohammad Bashar Ahmad, president of the Justice and Equality Movement.

An agreement on final security arrangement and political participation is yet to be reached, the mediation acknowledged.  

Reporting by Radio Tamazuj.