Rebels’ workshop on Juba Peace Agreement ‘will not contradict’ Sudan political process
KHARTOUM / JUBA –
Anonymous sources told Radio Dabanga that a workshop evaluating and amending the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), which is being organised by the South Sudanese mediation team for mid-February in Juba, was requested by rebel signatories.
The Juba workshop contradicts the JPA dialogue conference being held by signatories to the Framework Agreement in Khartoum tomorrow, said the sources. They said that the Southern Sudanese mediators already sent workshop invitations to the leaders of the 13 rebel movements that signed the peace agreement in 2020.
The review of the JPA, signed by the Sudanese government and members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance on October 3, 2020, is part of the political process the military junta and more than 40 political parties and civil society groups agreed upon in the Framework Agreement signed on December 5 last year. About 400 people, including displaced and other victims of armed conflicts in the country, will participate in the conference.
It was agreed that five important but contentious issues would be discussed by the civilian signatories of the Framework Agreement in separate dialogue conferences, under the umbrella of the Forces of Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and under auspices of the AU-IGAD-UNITAMS Trilateral Mechanism. The outcomes are to be incorporated in a Final Agreement with the military, after which a civilian government of non-partisan technocrats will be formed.
On January 19, the FCC-CC agreed with the Trilateral Mechanism that the international mediation team would take over the organisation of the conferences on the review of the JPA and the issue of governance in eastern Sudan.
Malik Agar, rebel leader and member of the Sovereignty Council, confirmed to Radio Dabanga on Thursday that the South Sudanese mediation team has invited all the signatories to the JPA, including the Sudanese government, to a workshop on the implementation of the agreement in Juba in February.
El Hadi Idris, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council faction that signed the Framework Agreement and member of the Sovereignty Council, told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that he does not believe that the two workshops on the JPA will contradict each other.
“The South Sudanese government has been invited to participate in the workshops of the conference on the JPA in Khartoum on Tuesday,” he said. “In the next few days, a delegation from Juba will arrive in Khartoum and discuss the issue with the Trilateral Mechanism. At the end of the conference, if we see that there is a need to establish other workshops, then we will go south, as South Sudan has been mediating the agreement.”
Idris further stressed that “there is no disagreement between the signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement.”
Darfur stakeholders ‘excluded’
Saleh Eisa, chair of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Coordination, strongly condemned “attempts to remove the issue of the displaced by intruders.” He told Radio Dabanga on Friday that “over the past few years, we have been repeatedly surprised by people who claim to represent the displaced, but in reality, they only represent themselves.”
He refused “any settlement that takes place in the absence of the displaced” and said that they have not been involved “in any of the stages that have led to the Framework Agreement.”
According to Habiba Dawelbeit, representative of the Darfur Displaced Women, “the issue of the displaced people and refugees should form one of the bases of the political process, which in turn is to be based on the goals of the glorious December revolution.”
Mohamed Saleh Khaddam, media secretary of the South Darfur branch of the National Umma Party (an important member of the FFC-CC), stressed the need to involve stakeholders and war victims from Darfur in the official dialogue conference on the JPA on Tuesday.
“The support of the rebel signatories of the JPA to the 2021 military coup has definitely harmed the agreement,” Khaddam told Radio Dabanga. “The challenges that hindered the implementation of the JPA have to be addressed, in order to reach a comprehensive consensus to complete the democratic transition process in the country.”
Juma El Wakeel, one of the leaders of in the Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Minni Minawi and spokesperson for the FFC-Democratic Block, predicted the failure of the JPA conference the signatories to the Framework Agreement are organising in Khartoum on Tuesday. “We consider it an attempt to add more fuel to the fire.”
The FFC-DB was formed in early November last year by rebel groups that signed the JPA and supported the 2021 coup d’état and the mainstream Democratic Unionist Party. A few weeks later, the High Beja Council wing chaired by Sayed Tirik, joined the coalition.
He told Radio Dabanga that “90 per cent of the JPA signatories will not participate in the Khartoum conference.” He stressed that the organisers of the conference “do not have the right to do so because they are not a party to the JPA”.
The FFC-DB also rejects Framework Agreement, on the basis that “the JPA conference is biased,” accusing the FFC-CC of “seeking to exclude many others”.
The FFC-DB welcomes the recent Egyptian initiative to organise a Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue in Cairo, said El Wakeel. They have not received any notification about the postponement of the dialogue, planned to be held on February 1.
He explained that “all parties are welcome to participate in the Sudanese-Sudanese round table, except the [dissolved] National Congress Party. The dialogue will be about the economy, issues of the transitional period, peace, and the roots of the Sudanese crisis, among other things.”
El Wakeel said that he considers the Egyptian initiative “a positive intervention, as the neighbouring countries are aware of the situation in Sudan and have common interests and mutual influence in security and other issues.” He accused the international community and the Trilateral Mechanism of “selectively dealing with political forces, stressing the need for all Sudanese to participate in the dialogue.”
Regarding the visit of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Egypt, Ashraf Abdelaziz, editor-in-chief of El Jareeda newspaper, told Radio Dabanga said that “it is likely that it will also deal with the Sudanese issue, in order to prevent Cairo from complicating the course of the ongoing political process through the establishment of alternative platforms”.
On January 19, the mainstream Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC-Central Council) announced that it definitely refuses to participate in the Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue workshop which Egypt intends to organise in Cairo in February.
Many political parties and civilian groups that signed the Framework Agreement with the military junta on December 5 last year have previously said they reject the Egyptian initiative for an inter-Sudanese dialogue platform to be held in Cairo.