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Interview: Rebel leaders blame Sudanese govt. for talks collapse

August 17 - 2016 ADDIS ABABA
The signing of the AU roadmap by four Sudanese opposition groups in Addis Ababa, 8 August 2016 (RD)
The signing of the AU roadmap by four Sudanese opposition groups in Addis Ababa, 8 August 2016 (RD)

The heads of the Sudan Liberation Movement–Minni Minawi (SPLM-MM), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have blamed the Sudanese government for the collapse of the AUHIP-brokered Cessation of Hostilities Negotiations from 9 to 14 August in Addis Ababa.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, SPLM-MM head Arko Minni Minawi, cited three major reasons for the failure of the Addis Ababa negotiations.  ​

“This is unreasonable and has never happened in the history of conflicts and agreements...”

“The first reason is the government's insistence on precisely determining our (forces’ tactical) positions via GPS. This is unreasonable and has never happened in the history of conflicts and agreements. This confirms and demonstrates the government’s purpose to make the negotiations fail.

“The second reason is the government's refusal to the request for the formation of a humanitarian unit comprising the government, the movements, the affected, the displaced persons, refugees, the United Nations, and the humanitarian organisations working in Darfur, to address the humanitarian issues and delivery of relief and humanitarian aid. This was categorically refused and we were asked in return to join the institutions of humanitarian security, which is unacceptable.

“The third reason is the government's rejection of our request for the return of the humanitarian organisations that have been expelled following the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for Omar Al Bashir in 2009.”

Minawi added that the government also refused the release of detainees and the exchange of war hostages at the moment of the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement, which is “a necessary humanitarian imperative”.

“The government delegation rejected all the concessions we have presented on seven items with three key issues in front of us that require compromise from all sides.”

He pointed out that the government's refusal of basic issues at the negotiating table in Addis Ababa led to the failure to sign the cessation of hostilities.

Cessation of hostilities

Ahmed Adam Bakhit, deputy head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) proffers that one of the main other disagreement points with the government that led to the failure and collapse of the negotiations is the question of timetables for the cessation of hostilities.

“The government insists on one month for the cessation of hostilities,” he says in a separate interview with Radio Dabanga.

“This is not enough for the formation of the monitoring, the identification of areas of the forces, verification of the issues to be negotiated on, in addition to the other political issues and mechanisms. ​

“The government insists on the impossible which seems simple, but means waiting for the end the rainy season to prepare for next summer campaign.”

“The government insists on the impossible which seems simple, but means waiting for the end the rainy season to prepare for next summer campaign.”

Ahmed states that among other contentious issues is also a matter of parties to monitor the implementation of the cessation of hostilities. “The movements demanded that Unamid will monitor the implementation in Darfur, which the government refused.”

‘Imperative of national duty’

Bakhit said “the Sudanese government has an imperative of national duty to be serious in the coming rounds of negotiations if there are any”.

He confirmed that his movement seeks peace, and is willing to do so “to end the suffering of our people on a permanent basis. Unfortunately there is no qualified and serious partner to trust in stopping the suffering of the Sudanese people.”

He called on the international community to effectively attend in the coming rounds, because “this government does not respond to any positive attitudes without the big stick of the international community”.


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