Sudan govt talks with SPLM-N El Hilu begin in Juba
The long-anticipated official negotiations between the transitional government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu, began in the South Sudan capital of Juba this morning.
Addressing the inaugural session, Abdelaziz El Hilu described returning to the negotiation table with the transitional government as a sign of his movement’s desire to reach durable peace in Sudan.
El Hilu pointed out that today’s inaugural session coincides the 38th anniversary of the establishment of SPLM-N “which fought for a new Sudan”.
“The movement worked with its allies after the revolution to reach consensus on building the new Sudan despite the challenges it faces for a Sudan that respects diversity and based on freedom, justice and equality,” he stressed.
The President of host nation South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has called for the non-signatories to the peace agreement to join peace process. He also appealed to the parties present at the negotiations to consider the suffering of displaced people and refugees.
In the presence of the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council , Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, President Kiir expressed keenness on reaching durable peace, saying “we have to work together in the two countries for achievement of development and peace”.
He said he is confident in the commander El Hilu, who described as courageous fighter, and called him “to focus on how to achieve peace by taking difficult decisions that end sufferings of the people”.
‘These negotiations represent a dialogue between the citizens of one nation, and send a message to the world that the Sudanese people are capable of solving their own issues after the great revolution’ – PM Abdalla Hamdok
In his address to the inaugural session, Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok said that “these negotiations represent a dialogue between the citizens of one nation, and send a message to the world that the Sudanese people are capable of solving their own issues after the great revolution”.
Hamdok underlined that the current negotiations represent an important step in the peace process, stressing that the main goal of the dialogue is the stability and well-being of the Sudanese people, especially in the areas affected by the war.
“The search for peace has remained our priority, and reaching it is a duty,” and it is one of the demands of the revolution” he said.
The PM renewed his call on the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement Abdelwahid El Nur*, to join the peace process, affirming his readiness to put all issues on the dialogue table so as to carry out a Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue for the benefit of the Sudanese people.
The Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, has underscored the government’s commitment to implement any agreement reached in the Juba peace talks. “Our heart is open and we are determined to accomplish Sudan’s peace which we have started in the previous deals,” El Burhan told the opening session this morning.
‘The door which has been opened for realising peace will remain open for all those who seek peace’ – TSC Chairman Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan
He affirmed that “the government will stick to dialogue until it reaches a satisfactory agreement that meets aspirations of the people of Sudan, in which all enjoy the rights and duties… one Sudan that does not discriminate on basis of religion or colour”.
El Burhan praised SPLM-N leader El Hilu for siding with peace, saying that “the door which has been opened for realising peace will remain open for all those who seek peace”.
Al Burhan expressed appreciation to government of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir for hosting the Sudan peace talks, and Sudan’s partners and friends. He called the international community to help Sudan and the South Sudan address impact of the long war, saying “ the two countries will stand with each other to achieve peace”.
President Al Burhan echoed the call to Abdelwahid El Nur “to join the process of change and engage and participate in construction of Sudan”. He underscored that the change being made by the Sudanese people is a real one, stressing the necessity to work together to make the peace process a success.
El Hilu withdrew from the previous Juba peace talks in August in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. The rebels accuse the RSF forces of committing “heinous crimes” against civilians in various parts of Sudan.
In November, El Hilu reaffirmed his eagerness “to reach a peaceful, just, and comprehensive political settlement of the Sudanese problem that would put an end to the civil wars in Sudan”.
A Declaration of Principles was signed on March 28, in which the two parties agreed “to work together to achieve and consolidate the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Sudan”.
* The mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) reaffirmed in a statement last month that it is not interested in negotiating with the current government and has never met with the South Sudanese mediation team . Instead, it is preparing arrangements for an internal Sudanese dialogue.
The official spokesman for the movement, Abdelrahman El Nayer, reported that the SLM-AW is now working to complete its internal arrangements and consultations with its allies in order to form the initiative promised to the Sudanese people.
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