Doha, 21 January 2013 - Amid optimism and determination, peace negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement Sudan were launched on 20 January in Doha, under the auspices of Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, and the Acting Joint Special Representative of UNAMID and Joint Chief Mediator a.i. Ms. Aichatou Mindaoudou.
Negotiation teams, respectively led by Amin Hassan Omer, State Minister and Head of the Darfur Follow-Up Office, and General Arko Suleiman Dahiya, Vice-President of JEM Sudan, vowed to spare no effort to reach a peaceful settlement on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
“Both parties came to Doha with a sincere and strong desire to reach a settlement that would put an end to the suffering of the people of Darfur,” said Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister. He also emphasized that the DDPD is the outcome of two and half years of negotiations, broad dialogue and inclusive consultations with the major parties to the Darfur conflict, all Darfur stakeholders and international partners, with strong technical support from UNAMID.
Ms. Mindaoudou commended both parties for having kept their promise to return to negotiations on the basis of the DDPD. “The African Union, the United Nations and other national and international actors stand ready to assist the parties, and to support successful negotiations,” she stated, urging delegations to seize this opportunity to soon reach agreement and give peace a chance in Darfur.
On 22 October 2012, representatives from the Government of Sudan and JEM Sudan signed a declaration affirming their commitment to the peace process, the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations to achieve a comprehensive conflict settlement on the basis of the Doha Document.
Along with the Government of Qatar, UNAMID has been heavily involved in mediation efforts in the Darfur conflict. On 10-14 January 2013, the African Union-United Nations Joint Mediation Support Team organized a workshop for the JEM delegation to enlighten 36 JEM future negotiators on the provisions of the DDPD and negotiation skills.
As it continues to engage in mediation with other hold-out movements that have expressed their interest in joining the peace process on the basis of the DDPD, UNAMID urges all non-signatory movements to lay down arms and join the peace process.