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Sudan and rebels agree plan to end Darfur conflict

December 28, 2019

The government and rebel groups agreed to discuss power-sharing and returning millions of people who were displaced. The agreement was hailed as an "important step" towards achieving lasting peace in Darfur.

In this July 1, 2004 file photo, displaced Sudanese women are seen at a refugee camp in the Darfur region of Sudan
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. Prinsloo

Nine rebel groups and the Sudanese government on Saturday signed off on a plan that outlines a roadmap to ending the conflict in Darfur.

Under the deal, the parties agreed to the topics that will need to be negotiated during ongoing peace talks.

The issues include discussing the root causes of the conflict, power-sharing, integrating rebel forces into the national army — as well as returning millions of people who were displaced by the conflict.

The Sudanese government also agreed to address the destruction of property during the conflict.

The conflict in Darfur erupted in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels fought against former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir's government. Human rights groups say that, at that time, Sudanese government forces targeted pro-rebel ethnic groups by raping, killing and burning villages.

Hopes renewed for peace  

The chief negotiator from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of several rebel groups, hailed Saturday's agreement as "an important step."

"This step no doubt will help the process to achieve a lasting peace in Darfur and also it will enable the transitional process in Sudan to move smoothly without hindrances," negotiator Ahmed Mohamed told news agency AFP.

The government has been negotiating with different rebel groups in the South Sudan city of Juba in recent weeks as part of the latest effort to end the conflict in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.

Hopes for peace in the region after Bashir was overthrown earlier this year and the transitional Sudanese government made securing peace in Darfur a priority. Mediators hope to reach a final peace deal in February 2020.

General Samsedine Kabashi, the top Sudanese government representative at the talks said: "We are committed to ending all the problems in Darfur and ensuring that we restore peace and stability not only in Darfur but across all parts of the country."

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur conflict which killed an estimated 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to the United Nations. Earlier this month, a Sudanese court sentenced Bashir to two years in prison on corruption charges.

rs/rc (AFP, EFE)

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