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'Opposition cannot change Roadmap for peace': Sudan to USA, UK

July 1 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud (SUNA)
Presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud (SUNA)

The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan and the British Ambassador to Sudan expect the opposition parties to sign the roadmap agreement for peace and dialogue, drafted by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel last March. The Sudanese government has informed the diplomats that it refuses any supplements to the Roadmap that have been suggested by the opposition.

The Sudanese government will stick to the Roadmap agreement, presidential assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid told U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth in Khartoum on Wednesday. The Roadmap does not need any additions, Mahmoud said, because it is meant to draw the road for peace negotiations and is not a peace agreement.

The opposition, members of the Sudan Appeal. said that they would hand over a supplemental document to AU chief mediator Thabo Mbeki following a meeting in Addis Ababa with Booth on 18 June. They vowed to reconsider their rejection of the Roadmap in case Mbeki accepts the supplemental document.

Mbeki, however, declined to negotiate about such a document owing to the role of facilitator that the AUHIP carries. “Any further negotiations concerning the Roadmap Agreement should be between these Parties, not the AUHIP,” he wrote in a statement on 20 June.

On Wednesday, Mahmoud said that peace negotiations begin with a cessation of hostilities through a framework agreement, and then participate in the National Dialogue to discuss political issues. The Sudanese government will not wait for the opposition, he added, stressing that the Dialogue's General Assembly is scheduled on 6 August.

Booth told the press in Khartoum that he and Mahmoud discussed the implementation of the Roadmap, the National Dialogue, and the peace talks on Darfur and South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

'Opposition soon signs'

The American diplomat expressed optimism about the completion of the peace process in Sudan, saying that he expects the opposition parties will soon sign the Roadmap. He pledged to exert every possible effort to convince the opposition to sign the roadmap for peace.

The next day Mahmoud talked with British Ambassador Michael Aron. Aron reiterated UK’s support to the efforts of the AUHIP to encourage the opposition groups to sign the Roadmap. He said that the opposition is likely to sign after a meeting the Sudan Appeal members would hold with Mbeki in Addis Ababa in the near future, according to the official news agency SUNA.

The ‘Troika’ of Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA, have welcomed the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Roadmap and urged the rebel JEM, SLM-MM, SPLM-N, and the National Umma Party (Sudan Appeal) to endorse the agreement. “If agreed to by all parties to the conflicts, the AUHIP Roadmap could allow genuine political dialogue at both regional and national levels that is needed to address the underlying causes of the armed conflicts that have plagued Sudan for so long.”

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