Peace negotiations: Darfur almost final, SPLM-N make demand
In Juba, capital of South Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance clarified issues with the security protocol in the peace agreement on the Darfur track. Meanwhile, a political declaration has been made concerning the stalled Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile state) track, demanding transfer of negotiations to Sudan's Council of Ministers.
This weekend, the Sudanese government and the SRF rebel alliance finalised revisions to political issues of the Darfur track peace agreement in Juba.
Tut Galuak, head of the mediation team in the South Sudanese capital, stated that rounding up the peace talks is going well: “All parties are determined to sign the peace agreement on August 28”.
Issues reviewed include displaced people in the Darfur region, refugees, recurrent conflicts between farmers and herders, land use and ownership, and transitional justice, according to South Sudanese mediator Dhieu Mathok.
The security protocol has been finalised apart from the issue of integrating the forces, said Mathok. The government negotiation delegation believes the integration should take place within a time frame of 39 months (the length of the transitional period after which general elections will take place), while the rebel groups suggest that it takes place over a period of seven years.
About one month ago, Mathok announced the postponement of the signing of the final peace agreement by the government and the SRF. At the time, he said that the government and the SRF agreed on six major issues, only the security protocol remained to be discussed.
The SRF attributed the postponement of the signing of the peace agreement, which they call the “national pivotal issues paper”, to the violent break-up of the sit-in in Fata Borno in North Darfur by militiamen.
Also in Juba, a set of projects to strengthen the peace process among various communities in the western region of Sudan was presented to a government delegation headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ yesterday by the Darfur Women group delegation. The delegation also presented projects to enhance the role of women in political and social life.
Hemeti said he will heed all the projects put forward. He also called for unity in Darfur and the importance of the national interest over “narrow” interests.
In October 2019, the USA-based Darfur Women Action Group and 37 experts and Sudanese civil society representatives produced a “Strategic Framework for Sustainable Change in the Republic of Sudan”. The comprehensive strategy was delivered to the Sudanese government, as well as to international and regional actors and stakeholders working on Sudan.
The Darfur Women Forum held in November 2019 recommended that women not only participate in peace negotiations, but also take part in the demobilisation, disarmament, and reconstruction committees. The Darfur Women group claims to represent all Darfuri women in various political and societal issues.
On Sunday, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) and the Peoples’ Demand Association* signed a political declaration in Juba.
SPLM-N El Hilu General Secretary, Ammar Daldoum, signed the document on behalf of the movement, and Emadeldin Mirghani on behalf of the Peoples’ Demand Association.
The political declaration, containing 20 items, demands the transfer of the negotiation file from the government delegation in Juba chaired by Hemeti, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), to the Council of Ministers. According to the declaration, this will “expedite the completion of the establishment of the Peace Commission and enable it to play its role in accordance with what was stipulated in the 2019 Constitutional Document, in addition to the formation of the Parliament”.
The declaration also states that those accused of crimes in Darfur should be handed over to the International Criminal Court, and those involved in crimes committed against peaceful demonstrators, activists, human rights defenders in all parts of Sudan must be held accountable.
The declaration also prohibits the establishment of political parties and organisations on religious or ethnic bases. Daldoum said in a press conference after the signing that secularism is not mentioned in the political declaration, but this does not mean that the movement has backed away from it.
The recent involvement of RSF forces in violence in South Kordofan, along with “heinous violations” committed against unarmed civilians in various parts of Sudan, led the rebel group to withdraw from negotiations on Thursday. Daldoum explained that the movement has strong reservations about the military chairmanship of the government negotiation delegation.
The SRF rebel alliance and the Forces for Freedom and Change** (FFC) agreed to “a joint transitional mechanism” on Sunday. This includes restructuring the FFC in order to carry out its tasks as “a powerful coalition that will work to determine the political direction of Sudan”.
El Hadi Idris, chairperson of the SRF, said that the agreement represents a new page opened for the FFC.
In his press statement, he explained that a joint mechanism will play a coordinating role between the SRF and the FFC until peace has been reached. The mechanism will be responsible for organising the conference proposed by the FFC about resturcturing the alliance.
* The Peoples’ Demand Association is a body set up by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) during the uprising against former President Al Bashir. The SPA re-activated the body in end July this year, to enforce the Sudanese people’s demands for a return to the principles and demands of the revolution.
** The Forces of Freedom and Change is a coalition of movements including the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the NCF, No to Oppression Against Women Initiative, MANSAM, Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering, the Sudanese neighbourhood committees, and the SRF. In July 2019, the FFC negotiated a power-sharing plan with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) for a transition to civilian governance.
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