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Coronavirus: Sudan rebels extend ceasefire

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction leader Abdelaziz El Hilu (File photo)
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction leader Abdelaziz El Hilu (File photo)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) announced the extension of the ceasefire starting from April 1 until 30 of May.

In a statement today, the chairman of the faction, Abdelaziz El Hilu, announced that the SPLM-N decided to unilaterally cease all hostile activities in all SPLM controlled areas. El Hilu orders all SPLM affiliates to implement and respect the new decision under all circumstances except in self-defense cases.

In January, the SPLM-N El Hilu announced an extension of the unilateral ceasefire for three months in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The movement said that the decision to extend the cessation of hostilities unilaterally in all areas under its control comes as a goodwill gesture and to give the ongoing peace talks in Juba an opportunity to succeed. The ceasefire was to expire today.

El Hilu’s statement is in line with an appeal for a universal ceasefire by UN Secretary-General António Guterres last week. He urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against coronavirus (Covid-19): the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind.

Sovereign Council member and spokesman for the government’s negotiating  delegation in Juba Mohamed El Taayshi welcomed El Hilu’s statement. He reiterated the government’s firm commitment to a comprehensive ceasefire in all regions of the Sudan.

El Taayshi considered the extension of the cessation of hostilities an important step that demonstrates political will and a strong desire to achieve the comprehensive and sustainable peace that the Sudanese people deserve.

Also last week, the head of the UN-AU joint peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid) Jeremiah Mamabolo urged the Sudanese parties to the current peace talks in Juba to reach a final agreement as soon as possible, and urged the holdout movements to join the Juba peace talks.

On Sunday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son, called for a ceasefire across Sudan as part of a global fight against coronavirus pandemic. “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown, pull back from hostilities and focus together on saving lives,” Son said.

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