PM Hamdok expects peace deal with holdout Sudan rebel groups soon
Prime Minister Hamdok expects a peace deal with the holdout rebel movements can be reached soon. A delegation of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) has held talks with Abdelaziz El Hilu, leader of the holdout Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N El Hilu) in Juba on Sunday.
After returning to Khartoum from the South Sudanese capital on Sunday, where he attended the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said that the peace signed in Juba “will open a new page in the history of the transitional period”. “Implementing peace is one of the most important priorities of the transitional period. It will open many horizons and create economic stability.”
Hamdok said he expected to be able to sign peace with the holdout movements* SPLM-N El Hilu and the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) in Darfur.
The President of South Sudan, Lt Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, demanded during the signing ceremony in Juba on Saturday that the Arab and European countries abide by their commitment to support the implementation of the peace agreement in Sudan, given the circumstances in the country.
Kiir indicated that the work on the peace agreement has not ended, as there is another great work awaiting the parties to the agreement in making peace a living reality, calling on the SPLM-N El Hilu and SLM-AW to join the peace talks.
On the international level, the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, the Sudan Troika (USA, UK, and Norway), and the neighbouring countries welcomed the final signing of the peace agreement in Juba on Saturday.
The Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Jeremiah Mamabolo, attended the formal signing of the peace agreement as a witness. He echoed the key message of UN Secretary General António Guterres when he welcomed the peace agreement as a historic milestone.
“In his message, the Secretary General also called on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu, and the Sudan Liberation Army under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur to fully engage in negotiations,” Mamabolo said to the media.
Talks FFC with El Hilu
The FFC delegation in Juba held talks with SPLM-N leader Abdelaziz El Hilu in Juba on Sunday. They focused on the formation of a joint mechanism to work on the removal of the obstacles that prevented SPLM-N El Hilu from joining the peace process. This mechanism could include other parties in the future as well.
Ibrahim El Sheikh, member of the FFC Central Committee and former head of the Sudanese Congress Party, said that El Hilu blamed the FFC for their delay in responding to his proposal on secularism that he presented during the visit of a FFC delegation eight months ago. “We accept El Hilu’s justification to continue their armed struggle, as they still fear that politicians will exploit religion to set citizens against each other,” he said.
El Sheikh said they promised El Hilu to immediately initiate a team within the FFC Central Council, and return to Juba next week to continue talks with El Hilu.
In Juba, the government delegation and the SRF members stressed the need to speed up the procedures to implement the agreement from Khartoum, not from Juba.
After a joint meeting yesterday, Sovereign Council member Mohamed El Taayshi, and official spokesman for the government delegation, said that the two parties agreed not to postpone any of the terms of the agreement, which are governed by timetables.
“The priorities are the inclusion of the peace agreement in the Constitutional Declaration and the formation of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the agreement,” he said. “It is important to start implementing the security arrangement clauses as soon as possible, to prove to the Sudanese people that the wars have definitely stopped.”
El Taayshi added that “the situation does not tolerate a delay in forming the government”. He announced that the SRF rebel alliance will soon get seats in the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers, as agreed upon in Juba. The Legislative Council will be formed soon as well, he said.
National peace conference
The Political Bureau of the National Umma Party (NUP) presided by El Sadig El Mahdi commented in a statement on Sunday that “important parties are still not part of the peace agreement”. A national peace conference should be organised in which these parties should participate “to complete what has been agreed upon and settle controversial issues”, the NUP proposes.
The parties that strongly object to the eastern Sudan track of the peace agreement should, according to the NUP, definitely take part in this national conference, “as their demand for self-determination is endangering the unity of Sudan”.
In its statement, the NUP affirmed its support for every effort made to stop the war, remove the causes of the war, and address marginalization. The party thanked South Sudan for facilitating and mediating the negotiations.
The Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Minni Minawi called in a press statement for “expanding the political base of the transitional government, making fair arrangements that lead to democracy, establishing a permanent mechanism to ensure that the views of the Sudanese are heard, and paying attention to humanitarian issues related to compensation for the displaced when they return to their areas of origin”.
* In August, SPLM-N El Hilu withdrew from the peace negotiations in the South Sudanese capital Juba, which it had entered separately from the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance, in protest against the government delegation chairman, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Commander Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti', and the delay in the negotiations concerning their demands for secularism and self-determination. Abdelwahid El Nur, founder and head of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement, with strongholds in Jebel Marra in central Darfur, did not join the peace talks in Juba in September last year. El Nur will only join negotiations after security and stability have been realised in Sudan’s conflict-torn western region. Displaced still complain about insecurity. Recently, El Nur proposed to them to hold an internal dialogue on the peace process in Darfur.
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