An official at Sudan's Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) on Sunday said the temporary truce deal the group inked with the government is aimed at facilitating the upcoming elections. According to Gibril Ibrahim, without a ceasefire agreement, "nobody would guarantee a peaceful election in Darfur".
"The government was quite worried about how these elections can be held in Darfur without a ceasefire. And they know that if Jem wanted to disrupt the elections it can do so," he told Al Jazeera. "Any reduction of violence makes life easier ... People can enyoy the safety. There's a big difference, of course.
"The fact that people have had to be displaced because of aerial bombing, if they get a ceasefire they would be staying in peace at least those staying in the villages."
Sudan is to hold its first multiparty elections in April for the first time in 24 years. A referendum to decide whether southern Sudan should become independent is to be held in 2011.
Jem, Darfur's largest opposition group, signed a "framework agreement" with the government on Saturday in Ndjamena, Chad's capital, setting out the terms for future peace talks. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan's president, said in a speech on state television: "Today we signed an agreement between the government and Jem in Ndjamena and in Ndjamena we heal the war in Darfur."