Sudan’s transitional government signed a joint agreement* with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa yesterday, which stipulates that the movement will remain armed until complete political and social equalities separation of religion and state have been achieved.
The agreement also stipulates that the current cessation of hostilities, will continue for the duration of the negotiation process.
The SPLM-N El Hilu which controls parts of South Kordofan and p Blue Nile state, and the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement in Darfur, led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), excluded themselves from the comprehensive peace agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in the South Sudan capital of Juba on Monday.
The Addis Ababa agreement was signed by Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and Abdelwahid El Nur, in the presence of dignitaries including the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley.
El Hilu has resolutely adhered to the principle of non-secularism, has described the tracks approach of the South Sudanese mediation team in the Juba peace talks as “a circumvention of the discussion and treatment of the roots of the social crises in Sudan and the causes of the civil wars in the country”.
This week, he told reporters in Kauda, the stronghold of the rebel faction in South Kordofan, that “partial solutions will only lead to continuation and further exacerbation of the factors causing the disintegration and collapse of the Sudanese state”.
Sudan will not be stable and cannot remain united if the separation of religion and state is not solved.
In speeches after the signing of the Juba peace accord on Monday, Chairman of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, and South Sudan President Salva Kiir, all called on El Hilu and El Nur to join the peace negotiations.
The USA, the United Kingdom, and Norway (the Troika), as well as the European Union and the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), all issued statements welcoming the accord (see further Radio Dabanga reports today). They all echoed the appeal for the remaining armed movements to join the negotiations.
* Joint Agreement
We, Representatives of the Transitional Government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, affirm the following principles:
I. Sudan is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. Full recognition and-accommodation of these diversities must be affirmed.
2. Complete political and social equalities of all peoples in Sudan must be guaranteed by law.
3. A democratic state must be established in Sudan. For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of “separation of religion and state” in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected. Freedom of belief and worship and religious practice shall be guaranteed in full to all Sudanese citizens. The state shall not establish an official religion. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion.
4. The people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile (the “Two Areas”) retain the status quo which includes self-protection until security arrangements are agreed upon by the parties to the conflict and until “separation between religion and state” is actualized.
5. The parties hereby agree to maintain the cessation of hostilities throughout the peace process until the security arrangements are agreed upon.
6. The principle of appropriate and fair sharing of power and wealth among the various people of Sudan must be realized through the constitution.
Signed at Addis Ababa this 3rd day of September 2020
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