Sudan peace negotiations: Direct talks in Khartoum on outstanding issues
On Thursday, a delegation of the South Sudanese team mediating the Sudanese peace negotiations in Juba arrived in Khartoum, for a two-day visit. They are accompanied by senior negotiators of the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance, who will negotiate a number of outstanding issues in direct talks with the Sudanese government. The Sudanese Professionals Association discussed the peace process with PM Abdallah Hamdok.
The South Sudanese delegation consists of chairman Tut Galuak, Security Advisor to the South Sudanese president, and members Dieu Mathok and Jeral Kol Kor.
They are accompanied by Yasir Arman, negotiator of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar), Ahmed Tugud, negotiator of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Mohamed Bashir, negotiating on behalf of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction, headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM).
Mediator Dieu Mathok told reporters at Khartoum International Airport that the visit aims to discuss a number of outstanding issues in various files with Khartoum. “The mediation team felt that it could propose some ideas to the Sudanese government delegation that could cause a breakthrough in the remaining peace talks.”
The mediation team came to Khartoum to meet with the Sudanese negotiators, and with the political leadership of the country, represented by the chairman of the Sovereign Council and the Prime Minister, he said.
Mathok expressed his hope that the visit would overcome the last obstacles. He regretted the delay in the negotiations. “It was hoped that June 20 will be the day on which the initial agreements would be signed, but because of some difficulties, we have put in place a new plan for the success of this process.”
The direct negotiations began the same day at the El Salam Rotana Hotel in Khartoum.
“This is a most important visit”, Mohamed El Taayshi, member of the of Sovereign Council and spokesman for the government peace talks delegation told reporters yesterday evening after the sessions. “The visit puts the three parties, namely the Sudanese government, the mediation, and the partners, before one option: To reach a comprehensive peace, after the settlement of the outstanding issues.”
According to El Taayshi, the discussion paper the government received from the mediation team constitutes a solid basis for agreements on the outstanding issues.
The talks can be considered more as a dialogue between partners than negotiations between opponents. “This partnership will bring us a political settlement that will change the future of political life in the country,” he said.
He expressed his hope that the parties will soon start discussions with the other stakeholders through national media platforms as well.
The government negotiator further lauded the role of South Sudan in the peace talks. “The decision to choose South Sudan as a venue for the negotiations has been a good one. These negotiations will have a significant impact on the strategic relationship between Sudan and South Sudan,” he said.
Following a meeting with PM Abdallah Hamdok on Thursday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the driving force behind the Sudanese uprising that led to the ousting of Al Bashir, said in a statement that they agree with the prime minister on “the importance of managing the peace process in a balanced manner and comprehensively, by taking into consideration the societal role in the negotiations and peace building”.
Hamdok told them that the Council of Ministers is currently engaged in talks with parties that are not part of the Juba negotiations.
The PM and the SPA as well agreed on the need to expedite the appointment of civilian governors and the formation of the national Parliament, two pressing issues that have been delayed because the rebel movements insist to have a say in the matter.
According to the statement, the prime minister sent his view on women representation and proposal for MP candidates and nominees for the position of governor to the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) Central Council for discussion.
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