Sudan Appeal forces sign AU roadmap in Addis
Early this evening, the leaders of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, the Justice and Equality Movement, the breakaway Sudan Liberation Movement, and the National Umma Party signed the roadmap for the Sudanese peace talks in the Ethiopian capital.
The signing, proposed by the AU high-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), was attended by Donald Booth, US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
The roadmap, prepared by AUHIP chairman Thabo Mbeki in March is based on two main components. The first one concerns a cessation of hostilities, and political negotiations on the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan) and Darfur, while the second component is related to the National Dialogue process, in particular to the stances of the ruling National Congress Party.
The document was signed by the chairman of the Sudanese government delegation and chief mediator Mbeki on 21 March. The allied opposition refused, insisting that a ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian relief to the affected population in the conflict areas, basic freedoms, and the release of political prisoners to be addressed prior to their participation in the National Dialogue.
Progress was made to bring the parties closer together during meetings in Paris last month.
International leaders including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the ‘Troika’ of Norway, the UK, and the USA, and AU Commission Chairwoman Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called on the opposition to sign the roadmap, in order to accelerate the resolution of the conflict that has ravaged the country for years.
The attention will now immediately turn to developing an accord on the cessation of hostilities in Darfur and the Two Areas, followed by an agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire, and an agreement on political solutions for Darfur. The talks will begin on Wednesday.
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