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‘Sudan govt. declared ceasefire to appease US’: opposition

January 16 - 2017 KHARTOUM / PARIS
Dr Jibril Ibrahim, Head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
Dr Jibril Ibrahim, Head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)

Opposition forces have welcomed the Sudanese government’s extension of the unilateral ceasefire, despite their doubts about Khartoum's intentions.

On Sunday, the Council of Ministers, chaired by President Omar Al Bashir, decided to extend the ceasefire in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states) for another six months.

Washington announced on Friday that it has decided to ease a 20-year-old trade embargo against Sudan, unfreeze assets, and remove financial sanctions as a response to Khartoum's cooperation in fighting Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

Serious negotiations’

“The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) welcomes any step toward a ceasefire that stops the bloodshed and creates a conducive environment for serious negotiations, not a ceasefire announced in response to American demands,” said Dr Jibril Ibrahim, head of the armed movement.

“What is needed now is a cessation of hostilities agreed upon by both parties hat will be the basis for real negotiations that will lead to real peace in the country.”

“The extension of the ceasefire on Sunday was done in a routine manner, announced only for the purpose of sending a message to the American administration.”

He told Radio Dabanga that he hopes “the Khartoum regime will use this six-month extension to seriously seek for peace. If this happens, Khartoum would find us just as serious about realising real peace”.

Routine’

Omar El Digeir, chairman of the Sudanese Congress Party and chairman of the Sudan Appeal forces inside Sudan commented by saying that “It is not the first time for the government to declare an empty ceasefire”.

He expressed his doubts about the government’s political will to commit itself to peace and dialogue. “The extension of the ceasefire on Sunday was done in a routine manner, announced only for the purpose of sending a message to the American administration.”

He called on the Sudanese opposition and the people “to overcome their mentality of waiting, and take the initiative to topple the Khartoum regime”.

“The solution for the armed conflicts in the country can only be a political one, but Khartoum does not like political solutions.”

Yahya El Hussein, head of the Sudanese Baath Party, as well told this station that the ceasefire extension of Sunday “should only be considered as a message to the international community suggesting that the regime is serious in solving the fighting in Sudan.

“The solution for the armed conflicts in the country can only be a political one, but Khartoum does not like political solutions,” he said. “The ceasefire does not have any meaning as long as the deadlock in the negotiations process continues.”

Ceasefire

In June 2016, President Al Bashir announced a unilateral ceasefire for the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile state), reportedly after US pressure. Not much later the decision was extended to Darfur. 

In October, the president extended the ceasefire until end 2016, and on 31 December, the ceasefire was extended again, with one month.

The rebel movements in Darfur (except the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur) and the Two Areas announced a unilateral cessation of hostilities as well last year. They have accused the Sudanese military of violating the government’s ceasefire more than once in the conflict-torn areas.


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