As the Sudanese government and Darfur’s largest rebel group sparred this week over who violated a new ceasefire agreement that paved the way for peace talks in Doha, the Enough team released a update on the progress – or lack thereof – of the negotiations ongoing since February.
With an ear to the ground in Doha and sources involved in the process at a variety of levels, we’ve sought to capture the substance and tenor of the process heralded by some diplomats as a major breakthrough. We caution that the reality on the ground in Darfur and the lack of transparency in Doha should temper any enthusiasm for the process and raise the red flag that history may be repeating itself.
“There is much in the recent talks to suggest they are not built for success,” said John Norris, Enough’s executive director. “The current process replicates many of the exact same mistakes of earlier failed agreements at a time when the international community, frankly, should know better.”
The report, entitled ‘The Darfur Peace Process: Recipe for a Bad Deal?,’ builds on a previous update and presents new details about the recent developments. We also provide insights into the significance of the talks, the motivations of the parties involved, and the accompanying implications for the people of Darfur. Enough Advisor Omer Ismail, who travels regularly to the region, noted:
“The Doha process is hampered by backroom deals that put the Sudanese government in a strong, omniscient position while rebel groups jockey for temporary advantages, with little consideration for how their lack of unity leaves them collectively susceptible to government manipulation. With so many players clamoring for short-term gains without comprehensive knowledge or long-term outlooks, I fear we will see a replay of the 2006 Abuja talks’ failure.”
With national elections set to begin this weekend, the government delegation announced it would leave Doha on Thursday. Talks will be officially suspended until after the polling and will hopefully begin again in late April or early May.
Photo: Leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, in Doha (AP)