The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) issued a press statement today in which it sets out its current views. The statement coincides with a visit by Thabo Mbeki, chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), to Khartoum next week, and the expected visit by the US Special Envoy Donald Booth.
Yasir Arman, the secretary-general of the SPLM-N, says in the press statement that journalists and media reporters have approached the rebel movement, asking about the standpoint of the SPLM-N about the current stalemate concerning the peace talks and the national dialogue.
The rebel leader states that this question needs “correct and straightforward answers”, especially, he states, as Dr Ibrahim Ghandour, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, “is planning to meet President Barack Obama today as part of the IGAD mediation on South Sudan”.
The Sudanese government has not yet taken a strategic decision to stop the wars and to accept a democratic transformation. “Therefore, any engagement with Gen. Al Bashir’s government should take a new approach to prevent the Sudanese government from its usual practice of buying time and business”.
The SPLM-N further claims that Khartoum is “meddling in many regional affairs and conflicts, from Libya to Central Africa. “Resolving the Sudan issue and achieving peace and democracy is the right way for a stable region.It goes without saying that Gen. Al Bashir’s government is a source of instability in the region and beyond,contrary to the way they are trying to market themselves, as a source of stability.”
As for the collapsed peace negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLM-N concerning the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile), under auspices of the AUHIP, the rebels hold President Al Bashir responsible for the current stale-mate.
Arman points in this context to the Sudanese opposition forces allied by the Sudan Appeal, a two-page political communiqué calling for regime change, last December in Addis Ababa, who “communicated to the AUHIP, the IGAD, and the international Special Envoys their views on the current situation and their readiness to achieve peace and democratic transformation through a national constitutional dialogue”.
“It is important to recall that it is the Sudan government that refused to attend the pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa called for by the AUHIP in accordance with Resolution 456 of the African Union Peace and Security Council and instead they preferred to go for rigged elections.”
The allied opposition forces are requesting the AUHIP and the international community to address a number of issues:
First of all, the Sudanese government should be ready to start a genuine process that will immediately stop the wars from Blue Nile to the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, and Darfur. “Stopping the wars. . . will help Sudan. . . to direct resources to solve the current crises of water and electricity, health and education,which are the major sources of discontent today in Sudan.”
Secondly basic freedoms should be ensured, as they “are necessary for any genuine national constitutional dialogue process”.
Thirdly the AU should give the AUHIP a clear mandate to facilitate the “national constitutional dialogue”.
And lastly, the Sudan Appeal forces believe that to strengthen the AUHIP,end the national constitutional dialogue process successfully, to have the sanctions lifted, and to “address bilateral and international demands on issues related to the gross violations of the Sudan government over the last three decades”, the AUHIP needs to be supported by partners of the IGAD countries.
Arman concludes his statement with the hope that the US president and “his Envoy” will take into account the serious concerns and the catastrophic humanitarian and human rights situations in Sudan. “The Sudanese government should not be allowed “to use its engagement with the USA to continue genocide, human rights violations, to deny humanitarian access, to meddle in regional affairs, and to buy time to continue its dictatorship.”