November 12, 2007
Darfur - the latest
As I said below, we've been away for a few weeks. So the first job on returning was to phone around to find out what has been happening in Darfur.
As you no doubt already know, the Sudanese government, the African Union, the United Nations and a smattering of obscure rebel factions are still going through the motions of peace talks in the Libyan town of Sirte. Meanwhile all the less obscure rebel groups who boycotted the Libyan talks are all out in the field, or holding their own meeting in South Sudan's capital Juba.
So, how are things going in Juba?
'Great, things couldn't be going better', said one well known leader of one well known faction. 'In fact we have all patched up our differences. We have decided to reunite under one banner. We will launch our own roadmap for peace in the next couple of days.'
Great story, I thought. A rare ray of hope in doom-laden Darfur. The story was already forming in my head. It would have gone something like this:
Splintered factions from one of Darfur's biggest rebel groups on Monday said they had reunited under one banner and would release their own roadmap to peace in the war-torn region.
Time to phone a second rebel leader who, according to the first rebel leader, was a keen member of this brave new world of unity and cooperation.
'Everything is falling apart,' he said. 'Everyone else around the negotiating table is a power-hungry phoney. We have never been more divided. In fact we are pulling out delegates back into the field as soon as we can get a seat on a plane.'
Great story, I thought. A further nail in the coffin for peace talks in Darfur. The story was already forming in my head. It would have gone something like this:
A Darfur rebel group said it was withdrawing its delegates from a meeting of insurgents in South Sudan's capital Juba on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to already battered hopes for peace talks in the war-torn region.
Time to phone a third rebel leader, boss of the second rebel leader and former comrade of the first, to try to get him to confirm story A or story B.
'No one has told me about any grand reunification plan,' he said. 'And no one is pulling out. The negotiations continue.'
Posted by aheavens at November 12, 2007 5:15 PM