Sudan peace talks: Hope for a comprehensive peace grows despite obstacles
On Friday, members of the government delegation and the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance reached an understanding on most of the issues concerning the central Sudan track. The talks between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) proceeded less smoothly, as the group adheres to its long-standing position regarding a secular state.
The ongoing peace talks in the South Sudanese capital of Juba consist of five tracks: Darfur, the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile state) eastern Sudan, northern Sudan and central Sudan. The five teams formed for each track will work to resolve issues within a national framework while respecting the specificity of each region.
The central Sudan track team, headed by SRF leader El Tom Hajo, met with the government delegation headed by Sovereign Council member Gen Yasir El Ata on Friday.
After the meeting, El Ata told reporters in Juba that the two parties reached an understanding on most of the issues raised. He expressed his optimism that an agreement on the central Sudan track will be signed within the next two days. “This positive development might encourage the negotiations on the other tracks,” he said.
The Sovereign Council member emphasised that the approach of the central Sudan track does not focus on power-sharing. “The approach is based on how to govern Sudan and not who will govern the country. All issues dealt with directly affect the lives of the Sudanese.”
He described the atmosphere during the peace talks in the South Sudanese capital as constructive. “In general, the negotiations are proceeding well,” he stated. “There is a large possibility that soon we will reach a just and comprehensive peace agreement which will solve the root causes of Sudan’s problems.”
Other members of the government delegation reported that there are conflicting views with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) regarding the rebels’ demand for a secular state.
It seems that the new interim government does not intend to cancel the Sharia (Islamic law), imposed by the regime of Jaafar Nimeiri in September 1983, soon.
Following the negotiation session between the government team headed by Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabashi and representatives of the SPLM-N El Hilu on Friday, Minister of Justice Nasreldin Abdelbari reported that the parties agreed on a number of issues.
He said in a press statement that the two parties will meet again on Saturday morning, in a new attempt to find an agreement on the most complex negotiation issues with the SPLM-N El Hilu faction: The right to self-determination and a secular state.
It is expected that El Hilu will hold individual meetings with Sovereign Council members Aisha Mousa and Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabashi, and Minister of Justice Nasreldin Abdelbari.
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