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AUHIP mediators suspend roadmap consultations indefinitely

December 14 - 2018 ADDIS ABABA
Thabo Mbeki is in charge of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) that is mediating between the Sudanese parties (file photo)
Thabo Mbeki is in charge of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) that is mediating between the Sudanese parties (file photo)

The African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) suspended the Addis Ababa consultations that discuss the peace roadmap amendments for an indefinite term on Thursday.

The mediating panel, under the chairmanship of Thabo Mbeki, has wrapped up the consultations with the Sudanese parties on the revision of the roadmap agreement without meeting the Sudan Call coalition.

The AUHIP has publicly stated to the Sudan Call alliance of opposition parties that it only wants to meet with the National Umma Party (NUP), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) armed opposition and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi. It excluded the SPLM-N-Agar and other political opposition groups including the Sudanese Congress Party.

The panel explained that the participation of such non-signatories in the consultations would contradict “the objectives of the meeting”. “As a result, the consultations could not be completed,” the statement reads.

Dr Faisal Ibrahim, the head of the government delegation to the negotiations, said that following the suspension of meetings the next round will be a “negotiating round on the agenda of the Constitution and elections” as well as a cessation of hostilities.

“All issues will be discussed within the axis of the Constitution.”

Ibrahim said that the consultative round was suspended in order to consult and reflect on the amendment to the roadmap, that sets to include the humanitarian aid track and the cessation of hostilities leading to a permanent cease fire.

El Sadig El Mahdi, chair of Sudan Call and Umma Party (archive)

AUHIP not meeting Sudan Call

The delegation of Sudan Call alliance of opposition groups and civil society organisations sent a statement from Addis Ababa yesterday, claiming that the government’s delegation exerted “pressure on the mediators and hindered any attempt to reach a comprehensive peace solution within the framework of its usual policies”, in an attempt to divide the parties.

El Sadig El Mahdi, head of the Sudan Call alliance of opposition groups, affirmed the Call’s readiness to sit with the mediation team once “the issue of representation has been resolved and the Sudan Call is invited as a genuine party in implementing the roadmap”.

In November, the AUHIP met with Sudan Call representatives in Berlin to discuss amendments to the roadmap.

Roadmap is unfit’

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction headed by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N-El Hilu) has told the mediators in Addis Ababa that he thinks the roadmap was “outdated, dead and unfit for resolving the Sudanese crisis”.

The secretary-general of the faction, Ammar Daldoum, told Radio Dabanga after the conclusion of consultations in Addis Ababa yesterday that their delegation informed the AUHIP of their view.

The SPLM-N-El Hilu delegation, however, agreed with the AU mediators to continue consultations to reach common understandings – on which basis the AUHIP can later call for direct negotiations with the government.

Roadmap is a national document’

Minni Minawi, the secretary-general of the Sudan Call, pointed out that the roadmap is not confined to the signatories on the document, but rather it is a national document “that brings together all the political forces that desire a comprehensive solution, a just and comprehensive peace and full democratic transformation.

“The members of the Sudan Call want to sit down for broad consultations with Thabo Mbeki in order to implement the roadmap. We are ready if there is a need to modify or expand a number of points,” he told Radio Dabanga.

Meanwhile the leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement-MM claimed: “The government delegation only seeks to use African and international mechanisms to give a new term to President Al Bashir. They want to start their next election campaign by dispersing the Sudan Call and any unity of opposition.”

Established in 2016

The roadmap was established in March 2016 by AUHIP head Thabo Mbeki. It lays the steps for accords to be agreed in order to begin negotiations on the armed conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, and on opposition parties to participate in the National Dialogue.

This week, the AU mediators convened a consultative meeting that gathers the government and the opposition forces in the Ethiopian capital, aimed at the signatories of the framework agreement to share their positions on the proposed amendments they had made on September 25.

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