First, on behalf of the Justice and Equality Movement Sudan (JEM), I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and its Special Envoy to Sudan for availing us this invaluable opportunity to revive the stalled peace process in Sudan and again push forward towards peace. Thanks are also due to the Berghof Foundation for its warm hospitality and logistical arrangements that have made the meetings this week possible. Further thanks go to our international partners, whose presence here this week shows a strong sign of commitment on their part to peace in Sudan. We wished if our colleagues in Sudan Call and the other armed movements were allowed to observe this event because comprehensive inclusive peace requires the involvement of all stakeholders. Achieving a comprehensive peaceful settlement for Darfur and all of Sudan remains our core objective. In support of that objective, we are here this week to look, with good faith, for an effective way to put an end to the prolonged suffering of our people. That suffering will not end without a negotiated peaceful settlement that addresses the root causes of the conflict. There can be no military solution to the conflicts in Sudan, and any assumption that peace and stability are attainable by military might is misinformed because the conflicts in Sudan are fundamentally political in nature. The peace process in Sudan—and particularly for the Sudanese conflict in Darfur—has taken too long to produce tangible results for durable peace. Besides the absence of political will to make peace on the side of Government of Sudan, the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) has itself been a stumbling block to peace. Not only were there problems with the DDPD at the time of its signing, but also there have been major shortcomings in its implementation, and it now fails to contemplate new issues and changed circumstances in Darfur since 2011. That was why the two movements—JEM and SLM—came up with the idea of a pre-negotiation agreement to remove the hurdle of the DDPD and streamline the complicated mediation. We maintain that concluding a pre-negotiation agreement is the first step towards paving the way for a negotiated Cessation of Hostilities (COH) agreement and opening the door for substantive political negotiations. It has been almost a year since we first suggested the idea of a pre-negotiation agreement. Our international partners, and in particular the Germans and our colleagues from United States, have made tremendous efforts and conducted extensive shuttle diplomacy to produce the latest draft at hand. Throughout that process, the movements have made all the concessions they have been asked to make, and we believe all the concerns of the other party have been well taken care of in the draft. As such, we are ready to sign the document as it is. When we say we are ready to sign the pre-negotiation agreement, we are doing that not because we are convinced that the DDPD is still alive as it is, or because the AUPSC or any other party is forcing us to do so. Rather, our drive to sign a pre-negotiation agreement is our people’s pressure to sign what will bring them closer to a genuine and durable peace and political settlement. In fact, we have been negotiating peace with the Government since before we resorted to armed struggle, and we have never turned down a genuine invitation for peace talks unless the surrounding circumstances were counterproductive to peace. It would thus be fair and understandable if the AUPSC, instead of targeting the victims of the Darfur conflict, had addressed its ultimatums and harsh words for those who have refused to abide by its Communiques, namely 456 and 539, and who have practically disregarded the AUHIP Roadmap Agreement to which they were the first signatory. To this day, the Government is unabatedly exploiting its notorious militias and whatever military muscles it has to kill and displace our civilian population in and around Jebel Marra, Darfur. The recently displaced population, which numbers in the tens of thousands, is in dire need of humanitarian assistance, as are all of the IDPs suffering tremendously from near total neglect and deprivation. Our country-women and -men in the refugee camps in Chad, CAR, and elsewhere are not much better off. The international community must see into it that these barbaric attacks on civilians are halted and that unimpeded humanitarian access to the displaced is guaranteed. In this context, the Government has declared a plan to dismantle the IDP camps in Darfur and move the IDPs to ghettos around the big cities. This plan has two objectives: the first is to get rid of the striking symbol of the conflict and the magnitude of the role of the regime thereof; and, the second objective, which is rarely noted, is to confiscate the original lands of the IDPs to the advantage of the new settlers. The Government’s plan is thus an attempt to legitimize the status quo. By so doing, the regime is planting a time bomb that will explode very soon and make sustainable peace a remote dream for times to come because the issue of land is one of the ‘make or break’ political issues critical to peace for Darfur and the rest of Sudan. Those who genuinely seek a lasting peace should not accept, support, or be complicit in the implementation of this vicious plan. Furthermore, violations of human rights and attacks on fundamental rights and freedoms are rampant across Sudan. While the government recently released some political party leaders and activists, it only did so to preempt the visit of the UN Special Human Rights Independent Expert to Sudan. That is how the government released them as a concession, and not because it was their right. Still, many Darfurians, including a blind preacher, have been singled out to remain behind bars, and still everyday more Darfurians are killed by Government militias, with the women also subject to rape by the same. Darfur university students also continue to be one of the most targeted and persecuted sectors of the Sudanese community. Our POWs have been kept in secret prisons since April 2015, and the Government refuses to declare their presence or their whereabouts, in stark violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. The problems extend well beyond Darfur, and even beyond Sudan, as the actions of the Government and its militias contribute to the issue of illegal migration from the region and into Europe. Nonetheless, the EU financing to Sudan and the RSF continues, and the commander of the RSF is threatening to stop his cooperation unless the EU recognizes his role in curbing the flow of migrants from the Horn of Africa. In considering the situation in Darfur, I also seek to highlight that it is too early to terminate the peacekeeping mandate of UNAMID in Sudan. UNAMID is still critically necessary for the protection of civilians, as well as for the protection of relief convoys and peace related activities. We thus urge the international community not to make or support any decision to withdraw UNAMID from Darfur prematurely. Once again, we greatly appreciate the opportunity to be here for the meetings this week, as we undertake the effort to overcome the challenges facing Darfur and bring about durable peace. We are hopeful that, with a pre-negotiation agreement as the first step, we will be embarking upon such a path. .