Sudan, Darfur rebel group resume peace talks

Sudan’s government and Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement resumed peace talks yesterday in Qatar following an agreement signed in the Gulf state in February.
Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmad al-Mahmood urged both sides to resolve the conflict as soon as possible, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.
Reuters notes Sudan and JEM signed a deal on February 17 that included measures to aid and protect refugees in Darfur and a commitment by both sides to continue negotiations in Doha.
JEM and other Darfur rebels took up arms against the government in 2003, demanding better representation and infrastructure for the Western region. Khartoum mobilised mostly Arab militias to crush the revolt but denies US accusations this amounted to genocide.
International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes. Khartoum puts the death toll at about 10,000.
Yesterday’s meeting follows reconciliation talks between Chad and Sudan that were held in Doha last week. The porous border between the two African countries has contributed to several conflicts, including the civil war in Darfur region.

Pic: Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir