DOHA (AFP) – The Sudanese government signed a ceasefire agreement with a faction of Darfur’s far-west region rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), state news agency QNA reported.
Under the agreement, the ceasefire took effect at midnight in Doha (Sunday, 2100 GMT), QNA quoted Qatar’s deputy prime minister Ahmed al-Mahmud as saying.
The ceasefire deal “will pave the way for inking a final peace agreement in Darfur between both sides,” said Mahmud.
Two committees bringing together peacekeepers from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as representatives from Sudan, Qatar and the Arab League, have been formed to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire, he said.
Mahmud announced that Doha will host “a donors conference for the development and rebuilding of Darfur on April 7 and 8.”
Qatar has for years been a key mediator in the Sudanese crisis.
In July 2011, the Sudanese government signed a peace accord with an alliance of rebel splinter factions, the Liberation and Justice Movement.
The JEM — part of an alliance of ethnic-minority Sudanese insurgents seeking to overthrow the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime — had rejected the deal as failing to address any serious issues.
At least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and over one million people have fled their homes since the conflict broke out in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Khartoum regime, according to the United Nations.