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Qatar, Sudan set up joint group to work to end Darfur conflict

March 12, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani delivers a speech during a press conference in Doha, Qatar on 19 June 2017 [Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency]

A joint political committee setup by Qatar and Sudan will meet twice a year in an effort to overcome regional conflicts and bring an end to the decades-long Darfur conflict, the Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.

Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, said the two countries have agreed to form a joint political committee which will meet every six months to discuss geo-political and bilateral matters.

“I met the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and discussed with him the regional issues and handed him a letter from his counterpart the Emir of Qatar,” Al Thani said.

One of the messages sent by Emir Tamim Bin Hammad Al Thani was to push forward a peace deal in Darfur.

In 2011, Qatar created the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) after 20 months of negotiations, which formed a framework for peace. The government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement signed the document in July of the same year. Qatar’s approach seeks to address the root causes of the conflict, including power sharing, human rights and wealth sharing. Recently, one of the major rebel groups has indicated that it wishes to join the DDPD.

Read: Qatar to export 505 buses to Sudan

Qatar’s latest political move in Sudan comes at the same time as Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s intelligence chief, landed in Sudan for talks. Egypt supported a Saudi-led blockade against Qatar in June last year over terrorism and extremism allegations, which Qatar categorically denied.  Qatar continues to endure an air, land and sea blockade, although the economic impact is “fading” according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Early this year, the Sudanese army deployed thousands of troops near its borders with Eritrea, after Egypt sent its own troops to the area in coordination with the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar is not a stranger when it comes to peace deals. It previously attempted to forge a peace deal between the Yemen government and the Houthis in 2004. It continues to work on Afghanistan by allowing peace talks between the US and Taliban to be held in Doha.

Darfur has been the scene of war between the Sudanese government and three rebel movements since 2003. The conflict has left 300,000 people dead and around 2.5 million others displaced, according to the UN.

Read: Sudan’s internal power struggle amid economic woes