A Darfur rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, said Friday it would cooperate with other militant factions following US mediation efforts. US envoy Scott Gration said rebel unification was a first step to a "lasting and durable" peace in Darfur.
AFP - One of the myriad rebel groups in Sudan's western region of Darfur said on Friday that it had struck a cooperation deal with some other rebel commanders following mediation by US envoy Scott Gration.
The Unity faction of the Sudan Liberation Army said it had agreed to work with some commanders who had broken away from the SLA faction led by the movement's historic leader Abdelwahid Mohammed Nur.
"This is a cooperation agreement not a merger," SLA-Unity spokesman Mahjoub Hussein told AFP.
The US Sudan envoy joined unity talks among the rebel factions in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa earlier on Friday after saying that forging a common platform among the two dozen rebel splinter groups was a prerequisite to successful peace talks.
"How do we get a process that will bring peace that is lasting and durable in Darfur?" Gration said in the south Sudan capital Juba on Thursday.
"The first element that we are working on is the unification of the rebels, because we believe that the rebel groups have to be unified so that there are single leaders, and there is an agenda that is common to all rebel groups."
When the rebellion first broke out in Darfur in early 2003, the there were just two main rebel groups -- the secular SLA and its Islamist rival, the Justice and Equality Movement.
But after one faction of the SLA signed a peace deal with the Khartoum government in 2006, the rebellion splintered into multiple breakaway factions.
Date created : 2009-08-22