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Mixed hopes for Sudan peace deal

Displaced Darfuris
An estimated 2.2 million people have been displaced by the Darfur conflict

Three Sudanese people tell the BBC what they make of a deal between Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) and the Khartoum government.

The accord paves the way for broader peace talks aimed at ending the six-year conflict in Darfur.

ISHAG MEKKI, 41, INTERPRETER, LONDON

Ishag Mekki
I don't trust the Sudanese government. My sister was killed in Darfur in 2006 by a Sudanese government soldier.

He fired randomly into the house where she was staying and she was hit.

It's difficult to see how this agreement will work. It's not an inclusive agreement when the other main rebel groups in Darfur haven't signed up to it.

Jem Collective Leadership (a Jem splinter group) and Sudan Liberation Movement should have been included in the accord.

Regardless of the deal between Jem and the Sudanese government, elements within Chad will continue arming other rebel groups in the Darfur area. The fighting will start all over again, despite this deal.

With elections coming up, it's in the government's interest to keep Darfur volatile
Ishag Mekki

[President Omar al-]Bashir's government has struck this deal with the strongest rebel group in Darfur. But I don't believe that Bashir genuinely wants to bring peace to Darfur in the long run.

With elections coming up in 2011, it's in the government's interest to keep Darfur volatile.

The Sudanese government should also have included Darfuri tribal leaders sitting in the refugee camps in Chad in this agreement. Consulting the leaders representing the Zaghawa ethnic group would have helped bring peace to the region.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) must go ahead with their indictment of President Bashir.

Three hundred thousand people have died in Darfur. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

Taking Bashir to court is an important step towards bringing peace to the region.

GASIM BADRI, 62, ACADEMIC, KHARTOUM

Dr Gasim Badri
The accord is a very positive step. With a conflict like this, people need to sit around a table to negotiate a peace. This is at least a step in that direction.

The conflict in Darfur is an unnecessary conflict and if the political leaders do not resolve it soon, the Sudanese will take matters into their own hands. This could be very dangerous.

This is the Sudanese government's last chance to come up with a viable solution.

I don't think the Justice and quality Movement are playing games, I think they genuinely want a lasting peace.

If the ICC charges President Bashir with war crimes, it will complicate matters. Nothing will come out of it.

It's time for Sudan's politicians to shape up or ship out
Gassim Badri, Khartoum

I think the ICC is playing games; they are using the indictment as the only way to resolve the conflict in Darfur is for all the involved parties to come together around the negotiating table.

The government, all the rebel groups, the north, the south, they must all be present.

The people of Sudan have suffered enough because of this conflict. The politicians need to make peace or leave office. It's time for them to shape up or ship out.

AZHARI ELHAG, 45, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, KHARTOUM

This accord is not going to work. It only includes two parties and you cannot bring peace to Darfur unless you include other rebel groups.

For instance, Abdul Wahid al-Nur, who founded the Sudan Liberation Army, should have been included in this accord.

I respect what the Justice and Equality Movement are trying to do. Two years ago I didn't think they were a serious movement, but I think they genuinely have a political vision.

They are more than just an Islamic movement, they want a new distribution of wealth in Sudan.

As far as the ICC is concerned, I believe it is a very important tool in bringing justice to Sudan and very essential for our work.

But I doubt that now is the right time for an indictment of Bashir because it may bring more unrest here and we are the only ones to be affected seriously by that (I mean the true civil activists working inside Sudan).

Our country is in a very critical position socially and politically and any unwise steps from the international community will result negatively in our patient struggle for change in Sudan.

The human rights violations are committed on a daily basis all over Sudan, even in Khartoum; not only in Darfur.

So we need to be supported by the international community in developing our own tribunal; not only in Darfur, but in all Sudan.


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