Darfur: Sudan's government agreed on Tuesday to appoint a vice president from the war-torn Darfur region, taking a step toward satisfying a key rebel demand for greater power-sharing, state media reported.
"The government agrees to appoint a vice president from (the) Darfur region to complete the current electoral term," SUNA news agency said in a brief statement.
But it remains unclear how the vice president will be selected, and the appointment, for just four years, is likely to fall short of what the key rebel groups are now demanding.
"For me this is not the key issue. It is not a matter of a toothless nominal appointment," said Ali Trio, a senior member of the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army lead by rebel chief Minni Minnawi.
"Sudan needs to be redefined.”
"We need a radical resolution to the Darfur crisis within the context of what remains of Sudan after July 09. That has to include real power-sharing and wealth-sharing and security arrangements," he said, speaking by phone from Uganda.
"Everybody has to be a part of the package," he added.
The latest peace negotiations, in Doha, have made little headway despite strenuous efforts by the Qataris, due to the absence from the talks of key rebel groups and the government's unwillingness to make major concessions.
The head of the UN-African Union mission in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, said on Monday that a so-called framework document for peace, the result of intensive negotiations last month, was the best available chance for peace, and urged the rebel groups to sign it.
"The international community ... should put pressure on the armed movements, those who have not come in to join and those who are in there to sign, and let's move on to issues of recovery and development," Gambari said.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and 1.9 million people fled their homes since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, the United Nations says.
The government puts the figure at 10,000.
Analysts have warned that the independence of south Sudan in less than two weeks may encourage the Darfuri rebels to demand greater autonomy.
First Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 13:34