Doha Agreement: A Milestone Towards a Lasting Peace
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Under the auspices of Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa of Qatar, and in the presence of Presidents Al-Bashir, Idriss Deby of Chad and Isais Aforki of Eritrea, witnessed by the representatives of regional countries, actors and members of the international community, a monumental stride towards the realization of peace has been made in Doha, with the official signing of the preliminary framework agreement that inaugurates further bilateral negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), effectively paving the way for final talks towards a comprehensive agreement with the remaining stakeholders.
The groundwork for this remarkable achievement was secured under the patronage of President Deby who diligently facilitated the talks in N'Djamena between the Sudan Government represented by Presidential Advisor Dr. Ghazi Salah Al-Deen and the Justice and Equality Movement led by its chairman Khalil Ibrahim. The agreement spells out the timeframe and terms under which the talks will commence. These include Power Sharing, Wealth Distribution, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) and regional development. Among the immediate and notable outcomes of the talks is a temporary ceasefire that binds the parties to a cessation of hostilities through the duration of negotiations. As a gesture of goodwill President Al-Bashir soon after the signing in Chad annulled the death sentences issued against all JEM members and called for the release of 30% of those who participated in the launching of the May 2008 attack on Omdurman.
The significance of this breakthrough cannot be overstated. It represents the sum total of the tremendous exertions made in the cause of peace. And it is to those whose strenuous efforts have helped avail this moment that the deepest gratitude of the Sudanese is extended; including President Idriss Deby, the U.S. Government, the African Union, the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic conference. A special appreciation is in order for the Emir Sheikh Hamad whose tireless efforts and generous contributions have been pivotal. His country has engaged in and hosted numerous talks while leading the way in addressing the root causes of the issues, including a $1bn U.S. dollars donation towards development. This agreement stands alongside the CPA as a testament to the fact that war cannot be a substitute for dialogue between people and demonstrates the immense achievements we're capable of when we resort to the latter.
There remain significant challenges. And predictably the foremost are the same voices that have perennially opposed all positive gains made in Sudan who are at once downplaying and denouncing this accomplishment. It is these same bitter forces that have held the country's progress hostage and obstructed the path to peace. The rebels that are particularly displeased with this development must remember that this agreement does not deprive them of any opportunities to make peace. It in fact should provide them with the encouragement and confidence needed to earnestly participate in the forthcoming Doha talks. The quest for peace is an inclusive and comprehensive campaign and the rebels must meet the government's efforts and be equally willing to engage in this process. There is no better time for it . Therefore Sudan asks for the continued support of the international community and urges the peace-loving world to seize on the momentum and the current political will to push for a wider and more encompassing peace process.
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