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‘Informal talks’ between Sudanese govt., SPLM-N start in Addis Ababa

December 17 - 2015 ADDIS ABABA
Head of the government delegation, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid (file photo)
Head of the government delegation, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid (file photo)

Wednesday witnessed the start of informal meetings between delegations of the Sudanese government and the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) “aimed at reaching understandings on pending issues”.

After five days of negotiations in November, the chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, had to suspend the 10th round of peace talks on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states), after both parties adhered to their positions on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The government delegation, led by Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, insisted on arranging aid for the population of the Two Areas on Sudanese territory, while the SPLM-N delegation, headed by Yasir Arman, proposed the provision of humanitarian aid through two routes, via Sudan and Ethiopia.

A SPLM-N official confirmed to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the informal talks between both four-member delegations met that day without the presence of AUHIP team members.

He said the two parties failed to narrow the gaps as the government delegation wanted to discuss the issue of the Two Areas, while the SPLM-N insisted on the need to agree first on a national agenda, and to discuss the Two Areas later within this framework.

“The gaps are still significant,” he told Sudan Tribune. “The government sticks to the ongoing National Dialogue, while the SPLM-N proposes a new comprehensive and healthy process.”

He added that the parties did not yet discuss the cessation of hostilities.

A Sudanese diplomat said that the government delegation arrived at the Ethiopian capital with the “specific aim of reaching a final settlement and a comprehensive solution to the issue of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states”.

National Dialogue

In October, AUHIP proposed a National Dialogue preparatory meeting between Khartoum and the allied opposition forces to be convened in Addis Ababa early December. Yet, the government insisted on meeting with the rebel movements only, as the opposition in Sudan was welcome to join the dialogue in Khartoum.

Mbeki told the press early November that the agenda of the 10th round of peace negotiations included a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access to the war-affected areas, and a pre-National Dialogue meeting.

Access

On Sunday, Sudan Tribune reported that UN Envoy Menkerios had arrived in Khartoum to meet President Al Bashir and convey to him a UN compromise proposal related to the cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid to the affected in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

On 7 December, a group of international and Sudanese organisations and individuals wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama about the delay of humanitarian aid to the war-affected areas in Sudan.

The more than 100 signatories underlined that the refusal of humanitarian access constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.

They requested “safe, unhindered and immediate access of the United Nations and other humanitarian personnel to deliver equipment and supplies and to assist conflict-affected civilian populations” in Sudan.


 


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