Darfur rebels offer political solution

2011-12-29 18:01
New York - A new rebel alliance battling Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir wants a political solution to the country's mounting conflict but doubts the government's willingness to negotiate, one of its leaders told AFP in an interview.

"The fighting is being widened by the National Congress Party government, the people are protecting themselves," said Minni Minnawi, head of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army based in Darfur.

Minnawi spoke to AFP just ahead of the weekend announcement that Khalil Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement, the biggest Darfur armed group, had been killed in an attack by government forces.

The impact of the killing on the alliance is unclear. But the creation of the alliance in November has worried the international community. The UN leader Ban Ki-moon condemned the coalition and the US State Department guarded against "unrealistic demands and inflammatory rhetoric."

Publicly the alliance has said it wants to overthrow Bashir. Minnawi insisted however that it would propose a peaceful solution.

"The priority of this alliance is to put a political solution on the table - how to redefine the entity of Sudan to reflect all the diversity of all the people of the Sudan and how to leave the country free from determination by one people and one religion," said Minnawi, who was on a visit to the United States to talk to government officials and thinktank leaders.

New constitution

The alliance wants a new constitution which reflects "the diversity of the people" and "power-sharing and accountable wealth-sharing", Minnawi said.

He added that the United Nations and western governments had rushed their judgment of the alliance. "We are offering a political solution. We are politicians, we are not only military people."

But he said the Darfur conflict, which has led to ICC "genocide" arrest warrants for Bashir and other Sudanese government officials, was continuing. The UN reported fighting in northern Darfur in recent days. It says at least 300 000 people have died there since 2003.

"The genocide goes on. A ceasefire cannot come until there are negotiations," Minnawi said. And if the government steps up hostilities? "We are ready."

The Darfur uprising erupted against the Arab dominated government in Khartoum accused of killing and repressing black African groups in many parts of the country.

Minnawi briefly joined the government after one peace agreement signed in 2006. "They hated me while I was in the government," he said.

None of the new alliance members signed an accord with the government made in Doha in July this year. Minnawi said it was not "workable."

The alliance is made up of the JEM, militarily the strongest of the Darfur groups; Minnawi's group; another SLA faction headed by Abdelwahid Nur; and the SPLM-N, northern affiliate of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement which rules South Sudan.

The SPLM-N is confronting government forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, which has heightened international fears that the new alliance risks widening Sudan's conflict.

Main issues

An official who attended Minnawi's meetings in Washington said the alliance would struggle to keep up its message that it wants a political solution.

"The killing of Khalid makes Sudan all that more explosive," said the official speaking on condition of anonymity. "The question now is whether the message is genuine or whether it is just what they want people to hear."

Sudan is also set to become a key topic for the United Nations in 2012.

After guiding Sudan and South Sudan through their acrimonious separation this year, Darfur remains a tinderbox and the UN has been kept away from Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Sudan is refusing to move its forces out of Abyei, which it contests with South Sudan.

"One of the main issues is going to be Khartoum's relationship with its new periphery," said a senior Western diplomat on the UN Security Council.

"Will they reach out to the groups in Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile or will they try to crackdown and say 'we have lost one third of the country and we don't plan to lose any more?'

"At the moment they don't seem to be edging toward the second option," the diplomat said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    un  |  jem  |  omar al-bashir  |  ban ki-moon  |  sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Health
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.