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Sudan peace negotiations coming to a close

August 15 - 2020 JUBA / KHARTOUM
Rebel fighters in Darfur (File photo)
Rebel fighters in Darfur (File photo)

The Sudanese government delegation to the peace negotiations in the South Sudan capital of Juba and the Darfur rebel movements have agreed to unify their negotiating positions on the security arrangements file. Khartoum and the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) are preparing for the peacekeepers’ exit at the end of this year.

After the negotiation session on the security file yesterday, South Sudanese mediator Dhieu Mathok told reporters in Juba that both parties agreed to include the various negotiation papers in one paper, and define the points of dispute, in order to address them.

He explained that these points can brought back to three basic issues: Integration of the rebel forces, the formation of a peacekeeping force in the conflict-torn western region, and reintegration and demobilisation of militia forces.

The mediation team has requested the Darfur rebel groups to present their position on these issues.

Head of the government delegation for the security arrangements, Defence Minister Maj Gen Yasin Ibrahim, said that Khartoum is ready to complete the remaining file of the peace negotiations.

He expressed his satisfaction about the negotiation session of yesterday, in which “several understandings have been reached with the Darfur track delegation on the security arrangements file”.

The Defence Minister further referred to his meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Juba, during which they addressed the importance of achieving peace in Sudan, given the direct impact of the developments in the region.

A presidential delegation led by Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, will arrive in Juba on Monday, to attend the completion of the security arrangements file, and prepare for the initial signing of the peace agreement.

Peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and most of the rebel movements in the country started on October 14 last year. Originally scheduled to end within two months, the talks were suspended several times. Progress was made in the beginning of 2020.

The sudden death of Sudan’s then Minister of Defence, Lt Gen Jamaleldin Omar, who died of a heart attack in Juba on March 25, and the coronavirus pandemic led to further delays and suspensions. In April, the Sudanese government and the rebel groups agreed on the date of May 9 for the conclusion of the peace talks. In mid-May, the deadline was extended again.

On Thursday, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance leadership in Juba held meetings with international parties, including Chad, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about the peace agreement.

UNAMID

In Khartoum, the Sudanese government and the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) have agreed to enhance cooperation related to the end of the mission’s work.

At the conclusion of the Civilian Protection workshop organised by the government in cooperation with the peacekeeping mission in Khartoum on Friday evening, Ilham Ibrahim, Assistant Undersecretary for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described the workshop as “an essential step in enhancing cooperation and coordination with UNAMID” until the end of the mission’s mandate on December 31.

She explained that the workshop focused on the support UNAMID will provide to the National Committee for the Protection of Civilians.

On June 3, the UN Security Council decided to set up a UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS). The mandate of UNAMID was extended until December 31.

According to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the new mission will help rebuild the country in a way similar to the Marshall Plan.


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