The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Darfur Peace Talks: Delayed

By Nathan Schmitt

Before the core story, here is a very, very brief history of the conflict between the Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region, via the BBC:

Fighting in Darfur began in 2003 when rebels attacked government targets.

Sudan’s government then launched a military and police campaign in Darfur.

A 2006 peace deal faltered because it was signed by the Sudanese government and only one rebel group.

The rebel movement then splintered into at least 12 groups and sub-factions.” (1)

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel groups scheduled for this past weekend were delayed due to a lack of rebel presence. This situation is well summarized by CNN:

The peace conference, which opened Saturday, had widely been expected to see direct negotiations between rebels and government forces to resolve over four years of fighting that has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the western Sudanese region.

But none of Darfur’s rebel main leadership was in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte for the start of the talks, dashing hopes that an agreement could rapidly be reached.” (2)

Despite the absence of these key leaders,

The mediators declined to say the conference was being adjourned, insisting instead that the preliminary low-level talks were a necessary build-up for full-fledged negotiations.“(2)

However, the Sudanese government is less than enthusiastic about these developments:

Sudan‘s government negotiator warned earlier Sunday that Khartoum would have no patience for absent rebels. Nafie Ali Nafie said negotiations could be adjourned only to allow ‘those who came here’ to have more time to reach a common ground.” (2)

If key rebel leaders don’t agree to attend these talks in the very near future, it seems that these peace talks may be much less effective than was desired.


October 29, 2007 Posted by | Darfur, Nathan Schmitt | , , | Leave a comment

Light in an Extremely Dark Tunnel

By Theo O’Brien

Amid The chaos of the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan, victims of the fighting are receiving hope from the most unlikely of places…their own government. The Sudanese government has announced plans to begin a cease-fire in Darfur during its peace negotiations this week. U.N. ambassador to Sudan announced:

“‘On that day … we will declare a cease-fire so that we can give the negotiators a chance to get out with an agreement on cessation of hostilities and cease-fire in the first round of the talks,’ he told The Associated Press in an interview.” (1)

Although it is a tad belated—estimates suggest over 200,000 people have died as a result of the fighting and 2.5 million are now refugees—and an important rebel leader has promised to continue fighting despite the cease-fire, the Sudanese government’s willingness to enter peace talks suggests a possible paradigm shift on their part. This news–along with the UN/AU Hybrid peacekeeping force in the region– provides a stronger source of optimism than those effected have seen since the conflict’s beginning in 2003.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Darfur, Theo O'Brien | , , , | 1 Comment