The signing of the ‘framework agreement’ between the Sudanese military and the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and other civilian groups has reportedly been scheduled for tomorrow. The Trilateral Mechanism spoke with hold-out rebel movements in Juba in the hope to involve them in the agreement.
Sources from the FFC-CC told Radio Dabanga that its Executive Office on Thursday completed the final text of the initial agreement, after including all the parties' comments.
FFC-CC had previously handed copies of the draft agreement to a large number of political parties and groups, including the resistance committees, and gave them a period of time to submit their observations.
This initial ‘framework’ agreement does not deal with the thorny issues of transitional justice, security and military reform, the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, and the dismantling of the remnants of the ousted dictatorial regime of Omar Al Bashir.
Agreements on these issues have been postponed to the ‘final agreement’ due to the lack of consensus within the FCC.
The direct talks between the military junta and opposition groups regarding the handover of power to a civilian government were brokered by the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the United Nations, who together form the Trilateral Mechanism.
El Hilu and El Nur
A delegation of the Trilateral Mechanism met with Abdelaziz El Hilu, the head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N El Hilu) in the Nuba Mountains, in the South Sudanese capital Juba yesterday morning.
The delegation of the AU, IGAD, and UN envoys to Sudan, Mohamed Belaiche, Ismail Wais, and Volker Perthes, called on the SPLM-N El Hilu to support the framework agreement and return to the peace talks.
The hold-out rebel movement said in a press statement on its website that the ongoing political process in Sudan should lead to ending the hegemony of the military and not to restoring the old partnership between the military and civilian groups.
The statement stressed the necessity of addressing “the roots of the Sudanese crisis” and achieving a comprehensive peace, rather than dividing power among the existing political elites.
SPLM-N leader Gatiko Dalman reported on his Facebook page that the movement and the Trilateral Mechanism delegation agreed that the ongoing political talks will be a prelude to “a comprehensive and radical peace process”.
The delegation also met with leaders of the Darfuri Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) yesterday.
The SLM, another key hold-out rebel movement, said in a press statement on its website that its delegation had stressed that “any political settlement that does not fully achieve the goals of the revolution and does not find acceptance by the revolutionaries in the street and the Sudanese people is totally and completely rejected”.
The movement holds to its stance that “the solution of the national crisis does not take place through bilateral agreements that have been tried before and failed. It should begin with the distancing of the military from the country's governance and the formation of a transitional civilian government of non-partisan technocrats, followed by a country-wide inter-Sudanese dialogue to address the roots of the national crises”.
'The solution […] should begin with the distancing of the military from the country's governance' – SLM-AW
The SLM-AW stressed the importance of justice and insists that all those involved in crimes and violations against the Sudanese people must be held accountable.
The military’s demand for impunity has formed one of the main points of contention within the negotiations and agreements on the issue of justice, including possible immunity from prosecution, have been postponed to the ‘final agreement’.
The FFC recently denied that it would allow the military to escape accountability but resistance committees and families of murdered protesters fear that this promise might be empty.
Abdelsalam Kesha, father of a young protester killed during the demonstrations against the military junta, declared his rejection of “any option other than criminal justice” regarding the martyrs' cases.
Human rights defender Abdelbagi Jibril explained that the military’s demand for immunities means that they fear the consequences of the actions committed.
Hold-out rebel movements
Both the SPLM-N El Hilu, with its stronghold in Kauda, South Kordofan, and the mainstream SLM-AW in Darfur did not join the peace negotiations in Juba. Both criticise the level of collaboration with the military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s most infamous paramilitary that has been responsible for widespread atrocities in Darfur.
For years, El Nur adhered to his position that the SLM-AW will only join peace negotiations after security and stability have been realised in Darfur, Sudan’s conflict-torn western region.
El Hilu separately entered into negotiations following a visit of PM Abdallah Hamdok in January 2020, but withdrew half a year later in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
El Hilu described the Juba Peace Agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of a number of rebel movements, as “a quota deal between the elites and the RSF generals, which has nothing to do with the crucial issues of concern in Sudanese society”.
In a statement on November 16, 2020, SLPM-N El Hilu reaffirmed its position that “the path to peace begins by addressing the roots of