January 12, 2019 (PARIS) – Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Gibril Ibrahim said they declined the resumption of peace talks with the Sudanese government under the current demonstrations in Sudan hostile to the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
On 6 December 2018, the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnwi (SLM-MM) signed in Berlin a pre-negotiation agreement providing to resume peace talks in Qatar in January 2019.
Speaking in a meeting held in Paris to mark the 8th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day, Ibrahim disclosed they decided to not resume peace talks with the government while Sudanese have demonstrated across the country calling for regime change.
“They asked us to go to negotiate but we refused and said we cannot betray the Sudanese revolution at this critical moment,” he said in a meeting room full of Sudanese chanting revolutionary slogans in support of the intifada.
Ibrahim who is also the deputy leader of the Sudan Call alliance which is one of the groups participating in the demonstration added they explained their reason for the postponement of the talks and convinced the international facilitators and mediators, pointing to their fear that the regime uses the negotiations in his propaganda to quell the revolution.
“We said that our partners and our members are in the regime’s prisons… More than 2,000 people were arrested, and even the detention facilities are full detainees and there is no place for newly arrested people so they beat them and transport them to places far from the urban areas and leave them.”
Sudanese government security forces killed 24 protesters according to its own estimations and arrested over one thousand protesters. Also, hundreds are injured by live ammunition that the security forces used to disperse demonstrations.
Ibrahim hailed the Sudanese activists participating in the three-week protest movement, which takes place in several cities and described it as a “glorious revolution” that gave a “new meaning of martyrdom”.
The head of the rebel group, which has been fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur since 2003, acknowledged that the marginalized regions in western Sudan are not massively involved in the current protest movement, despite some demonstrations taking place in Darfur’s major cities.
He said that this can be explained by their fear that the regime would be the repression of the regime forces would be toughest against them, or perhaps they feel that margin issues were not central to this protests movement.
So, he urged the opposition leaders to make the issue of the margin more visible in their agenda and to give more attention to their grievances.
He pointed out that the forces of the intifada need a new shift, and to develop its activities to declare a general strike and civil disobedience.
Further, he called on the opposition forces to send reassurance to regional and international parties that are fearful of the insurrectional movement and to neutralize those who are supportive for the regime.
Ibrahim reiterated the importance of ensuring the peaceful character of the protests saying it is “the strongest weapon”, and pointed out that any resort to the violence will give the regime a pretext to strike the movement.
He pointed to the need to develop the unity of the opposition groups, provide the required leadership, and develop the Declaration of Freedom and Change opposition to a political charter to prepare a transitional programme.
The Declaration of Freedom and Change include the National Consensus Forces, the Sudan Call, Sudanese Professionals Association and the Gathering of Unionists in Opposition.