Sudan's Al Bashir rejects merging of peace talks, tells Unamid to leave
The Sudanese government is seeking to achieve separate comprehensive cease-fire agreements for the war-torn areas of Darfur, and the Two Areas (Blue Nile and South Kordofan). It will not accept a limited cessation of hostilities, President Omar Al Bashir said at a press conference in Khartoum today. He furthermore told the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) to leave the country.
The Sudanese president stressed that the government will never agree with the unification of the peace negotiations of Darfur and the Two Areas. He explained that Presidential Aide Dr Ibrahim Ghandour is the head of the negotiation team dealing with the Blue Nile and South Kordofan. “Dr Ibrahim Ghandour will not negotiate any other issue, just as Dr Amin Hassan Omar will solely deal with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.”
Al Bashir also discarded the rebels’ demands for autonomy.
The peace talks on the Two Areas with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, under the auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), were adjourned on 17 November. The chairman of the AUHIP team, Thabo Mbeki, expressed his confidence that “we are not too far from concluding an agreement”.
The parallel negotiations on Darfur stalled on Thursday, as the delegations of the government and the two main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Minni Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, failed to reach an agreement on the agenda.
On Saturday, AUHIP officials informed the two delegations of an adjournment of the Darfur peace talks for a week, saying that Mbeki would leave for a three-day visit to Germany for discussions with government officials. He will brief officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin about the course of the discussions between the Sudanese parties on the security arrangements and humanitarian aid in order to move the peace negotiations forward, Sudan Tribune reported on Saturday.
Since September, Mbeki has held several meetings with German delegations in Addis Ababa over the Sudanese peace process. Germany is supporting the Sudanese National Dialogue and is making efforts to facilitate the settlement of the conflicts in the country.
“Exit programme” for Unamid
At the press conference today (Sunday) Al Bashir also stated that the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur has become a “security burden” on the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).
“Instead of offering the Sudanese army support in protecting the civilians in the region, they are protecting the rebels”. Therefore, he stressed, Unamid should develop a “clear exit programme”.
Furthermore, the president accused “foreign agents” of being behind the allegations of rape of 200 women in Tabit in North Darfur on 31 October. “They intend to disturb the stability in the region, and to hamper the arrangement of development projects after the SAF managed to defeat the rebel movements.”
File photo: President Omar Al Bashir at the press conference today (Sudan Vision Daily)
Sudan, Darfur rebels fail to agree on peace talk agenda (28 November 2014)
'Khartoum and SPLM-N rebels about to conclude peace deal': Mbeki (17 November 2014)
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