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'Opposition may pull-through stalled Sudan peace talks'

August 23 - 2016 KHARTOUM
File photo: Ghazi Salah Eldin Atabani, the head of the Reform Now Movement sits with El Sadig El Mahdi (NUP) in Addis Ababa after his arrival on 24 August 2015.
File photo: Ghazi Salah Eldin Atabani, the head of the Reform Now Movement sits with El Sadig El Mahdi (NUP) in Addis Ababa after his arrival on 24 August 2015.

A Sudanese opposition party leader has proposed to rethink the priorities in the stalled negotiations between the Sudanese government and armed movements. “They have to regain and utilise the momentum of the peace negotiations.”

Ghazi Salaheldin Atabani, the Chairman of the Reform Now Party, said that the advance from the political course to the track of security and military issues, did not benefit the peace negotiations.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Atabani claimed that the difference between the Khartoum delegation and the Sudan Appeal alliance, that took place in the Ethiopian capital from 9 to 14 August, on security and military issues “has created a new blockade, after we have passed the first one in the signing of the peace roadmap.

The roadmap was signed by Khartoum and recently by the rebel SPLM-N, JEM, and SLM-MM and the National Umma Party, by many (including the African Union and the United Nations) seen as a significant milestone towards the realisation of genuine peace negotiations and the National Dialogue.

But the talks on ceasefire and humanitarian aid access this month reached a stalemate as both sides disagreed on the thorny issues. “Now we have a chance to re-arrangeme the priorities in this political process about the security and military issues,” according to Atabani.

He pointed to the political parties in the Sudan Appeal, including the National Umma Party, that have not participated in the talks on military and security issues – this is a matter solely discussed between the government's delegation and the rebel SPLM-N, SLM-MM and JEM.

“These political parties have no armed forces, and that might help them regain the momentum of the negotiations and re-arrange priorities.”

Resumption

Recently the announcement was made that the negotiations of Addis Ababa between the two sides will resume after two weeks. Atabani: “It is a logical and natural step to resume negotiations. I believe that the two-week period for the resumption of negotiations is a long one.

“We especially have to bear in mind the United States' exceptional role in the last period [in which no negotiations were held]. This probably has something to do with the nearing end of Barack Obama's presidency.”

The failure of the negotiations in Addis Ababa this month have “dashed the hopes and expectations of the long-suffering Sudanese people”, said the mediating African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) last week.


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