Sudan, Darfur rebels close to accord: rebel spokesman

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by AFP, Feb. 14, 2009

DOHA (AFP) — Sudan and the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement are close to signing a “trust building and good intentions” draft document, the JEM spokesman said in Qatar on Saturday.

“It will be signed any moment from now. Maybe tonight, or Sunday morning,” Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP in Doha, where the two parties are holding their first peace contacts since 2007.

“The document calls mainly for a stop in violations against the camps of the displaced people, and stopping indiscriminate bombing against civilians, in addition to exchanging prisoners,” he said.

Late Friday, after a lengthy day of negotiations between the two parties under Qatari mediation, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said that there had been progress.

“This progress will be reflected in a draft document now in its final stages of preparation (by mediators),” he said.

The meetings, which began in the Qatari capital on Tuesday, are aimed at paving the way for substantive peace negotiations between Khartoum and the rebel group.

On Wednesday, JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim and the head of the government delegation, presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, held their first face-to-face talks, which were described by the parties as “positive.”

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