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Sudan extends ceasefire for four months

July 2 - 2017 KHARTOUM
President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir (file photo)
President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir (file photo)

Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir officially extended the unilateral ceasefire on all military operations, starting today.

Al Bashir's presidential decree, which he signed today, stated that the move comes to continue the policies that his government has adopted, which “hold high the values of peace to the detriment of those of war”.

The decision seeks to “encourage those who still carry guns to join the peace and National Accord process”.

The extension of the cessation of hostilities also comes within the context of implementing the outcome and recommendations of the National Dialogue in Sudan.

On 31 October the government's unilateral ceasefire is planned to end, the Sudanese news agency Suna; however, the Sudanese president and the Sudanese armed movements have been known to extend their individual cessation of hostilities each time they expire.

The Sudanese opposition Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement’s Minni Minawi faction (SLM-MM) made a joint declaration of a unilateral six-month humanitarian ceasefire on 3 May.

The rebels noted “the Government of Sudan’s multiple and repeated violations of its own unilateral Cessation of Hostilities declarations, most recently exemplified by continued aerial attacks in Jebel Marra”.

Another rebel group, the SLM-AW, condemned aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force in April which violated the government's ceasefire.

On the other hand the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the rebel group of Minawi “initiated the aggression [that broke out on 20 May in two of Darfur's states] with the view to renew the fighting in Darfur from two fronts. They crossed the borders with South Sudan and with Libya in a desperate attempt to re-sow seeds of conflict in Darfur”.

The renewed fighting between government forces and rebels on more than one front in Darfur in May triggered widespread reactions in the country and abroad, as the international community called on the warring parties to show restraint and allow the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian organisations in Darfur.

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