The Vice President of the Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, yesterday announced the suspension of the Eastern Sudan Track of the Juba Peace Agreement, for two weeks, until a new accord has been reached with the eastern Sudanese stakeholders.
Hemeti announced in a press conference on Thursday, in the presence of Sovereignty Council members Abdelbagi El Zubeir, Abulgasim Bortom, and El Taher Hajar that after consultations with the government, the mediation team, and the eastern Sudan stakeholders, it was decided to suspend the protocol until a consensus has been reached among the people of eastern Sudan.
“The parties of the East will sit together to solve all the problems facing the people in East Sudan and to reach an agreement,” he said. A high committee has been formed to prepare the upcoming negotiations.
Tut Galuak, the head of the South Sudanese mediation team that is currently visiting Sudan for a follow-up of the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, signed by the Sudanese government and a number of rebel movements on October 3 last year, already announced on Wednesday evening that the Eastern Sudan Track would be suspended for two weeks.
He said in a press statement that it was agreed to hold a comprehensive conference for the people of eastern Sudan to work on resolving all outstanding issues.
The Juba peace mediation team will return to Sudan after two weeks “to continue negotiations with the people of the East to reach a peace that fulfils all the hopes and aspirations of the Sudanese people”.
'Step in the right direction'
Nazir Sayed Mohamed Tirik, native administration leader of the Beja Hadendawa clan and head of the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains, welcomed the suspension of the Eastern Sudan Track, describing it as a step in the right direction.
In a statement yesterday, he appealed to “all eastern Sudanese communities, with their various tribal backgrounds and viewpoints, to adhere to these decisions and work to make them a success”.
On Wednesday, the Beja High Council threatened to set up a sit-in on Sunday unless the federal government would agree with their demand to cancel the Eastern Sudan Track – while the eastern Sudanese High Native Administration Council expressed its support for “the immediate implementation” of the eastern Sudan peace protocol.
The Beja nazirs have opposed the Eastern Sudan Track since it was first agreed upon by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance in the South Sudan capital of Juba in February 2020. They fear that the rich resources in the east will continue to be exploited by foreign companies.
The eastern Sudanese protocol was negotiated by members of the Beja Congress in Opposition and the Unified Popular Front for Justice, who alo signed the Juba Peace Agreement, containing the Eastern Sudan Track, on October 3 last year. The Beja High Council was not involved.
The signatories to the protocol announced their acceptance of the two-week suspension yesterday.
In a joint statement, Osama Saeed, Beja Congress chairman and head of the eastern Sudan negotiating team, and Khaled Idris Shaweesh, chairman of the Unified Popular Front, SRF political secretary, and the track’s supervisor, confirmed their involvement in the upcoming consultations.
The emphasised that “the gains contained in the Eastern Sudan Track, which belong to all the sons and daughters of eastern Sudan, will not be lost”.