Sudan gov't agrees to return negotiating delegation to Doha

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The Sudanese government on Thursday agreed to return its negotiating delegation to Qatari capital Doha, sponsor of Sudan peace talks on Darfur, in response to a request by Qatari mediator who set the end of February as its timetable to reach a final peace document.

The Sudanese government on Dec. 30, 2010, withdrew its negotiating delegation from Doha after parties to the Darfur conflict failed to agree on a peace accord that was supposed to be signed by the end of last December.

Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abdullah al- Mahmoud on Wednesday held talks in Khartoum with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in the presence of Ghazi Salahuddin, assistant to the Sudanese president and government official in charge of the Darfur file, besides Amin Hassan Omer, head of Sudan government delegation to Doha peace talks.

"The president agreed to send a very limited delegation to get acquainted with the new ideas proposed by the mediation, provided that the timetable, set by the end of this month, be committed to, " Salahuddin told reporters after the talks here on Thursday.

"We still believe that there is no use in continuation of the negotiations in their current form, but the mediation sees that there is a historical opportunity for signing a peace agreement by end of this month. Therefore we agreed to open this page and we will send a delegation to Doha," he added.

In the meantime, the Qatari minister seemed optimistic over achieving a positive breakthrough in the Darfur file.

"We are now at the final stages of the Darfur peace document and I have spoken to the Sudanese officials on the importance that there should be a delegation in Doha to complete the consultations on the document," al-Mahmoud told reporters following the talks.

The negotiations between Khartoum and the Darfur rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) have failed to overcome the points of difference after the movement insisted on its demands concerning establishment of one Darfur region instead of three and to be given the post of Sudanese vice-president.

However, Khartoum rejected the movement's two demands, arguing that only the Darfur people has the right to decide on the issue of one region during a referendum to be conducted on a period to be agreed on.

The difference between the two sides also includes issues of personal compensation where Khartoum proposed 200 million U.S dollars for that purpose while the LJM demanded 500 million dollars.

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