Posted by Kuku on 8:12 PM

Well, it is only an 'agreement of understanding' -- something that will lay the groundwork for peace talks that will hopefully lead to a peace agreement between both sides. Among other things, the agreement outlines a prisoner swap between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement. These prisoners would undoubtedly include those captured after the brazen JEM attack on Omdurman by the Sudanese government. One of those detained is the brother of Khalil Ibrahim, the commander of the JEM. According to AlJazeera, the prisoners would be exchanged in several batches, leading to the peace talks that would be held at a later time.

This is a very serious and positive development. For some reason, I believe these peace talks will lead to a more robust agreement, unlike the failed and moribund Abuja talks that led to the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement. I think this will be mainly because of the location and the organizers. Holding the peace talks in Doha, Qatar, a major Arab capital, under the auspices of the Qatari government, the Arab League, African Union and the United Nations, forces the government to take the talks, and any resulting agreement, very seriously. If they renege or back away from the agreement, it will not be very convincing to claim that the mediators or the venue were not fair or unbiased. It will be much harder for them to blame the Qataris than it is for them to blame the Americans (the main architects of the DPA) for anyof the agreement's (potential) shortcomings.

Here is a two part "Inside Story" program that focuses on the Doha talks.