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Sudanese govt. wants a peace deal on the Two Areas soon, opposition request postponement

January 29 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Presidential Assistant and head of the government delegation for the peace negotiations on South Kordofan and Blue Nile State, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid (file photo)
Presidential Assistant and head of the government delegation for the peace negotiations on South Kordofan and Blue Nile State, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid (file photo)

The resumption of the peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu will take place in Addis Ababa next weekend. The opposition parties have requested the AU mediation team to postpone the consultations meeting on the peace process en democratisation.

The head of the government delegation, Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud said yesterday that the talks, to be held on Saturday and Sunday, will focus on the views of the parties towards the AU proposed roadmap for the peace process in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile State).

In a press briefing at his office at the Republican Palace, he stated that the government intends to reach an agreement about a cessation of hostilities and to achieve a comprehensive peace deal as soon as possible.

“All the current data indicate that the atmosphere is appropriate to complete the negotiation process concerning the Two Areas,” he said.

The spokesman for the government delegation, Hassan Hamid, told the reporters that the government received an invitation from the AU mediation team, the High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki for the resumption of the peace negotiations regarding South Kordofan and Blue Nile in Addis Ababa in two rounds in early February.

A completion of the negotiations on the cessation of hostilities is foreseen – which in turn leads to an immediate cease-fire and the implementation of the security arrangements, after which the much-needed delivery of humanitarian aid in the rebel-controlled areas can begin.

Request for postponement of the talks

A number of opposition groups in Sudan have received an invitation from the AUHIP to attend a consultative meeting in Addis Ababa on the peace process and democratic reforms in Sudan.

Many opposition leaders however are currently being detained by the Sudanese security apparatus as they called for protests against the government’s most recent austerity measures. 

In a statement this morning, El Sadig El Mahdi, President of the National Umma Party (NUP) said he accepted the invitation because he wants to brief AU officials, members of the AUHIP, and representatives of the international communit about “the catastrophic developments” in Sudan.

After consultations with the other opposition parties, however, they agreed to request a postponement of the meeting because not all opposition leaders have received the invitation yet, and, more important, because of the current situation in Sudan,that is “marked by the suppression of freedoms and widespread arbitrary detentions, which contradict whatever is needed to resume any kind of consultations”.

Collapse, split

In August 2016, simultaneous negotiations between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N on the Two Areas, and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement-MM on Darfur, brokered by the AUHIP in Addis Ababa, collapsed.

Both sides accused the other of obstructing the peace talks. While the introduction of new issues by the JEM and SLM-MM caused the negotiations on Darfur to fail, the provision of humanitarian aid to war victims lead to a deadlock in the talks concerning the Two Areas.

In April 2017, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council, the then SPLM-N’s highest authority in South Kordofan, dismissed President Malik Agar and Secretary-General and chief negotiator with the Khartoum delegation, Yasir Arman, because they refused to include self-determination for the Two Areas in the peace talks.

The movement’s military leader Abdelaziz El Hilu was appointed SPLM-N chairman in South Kordofan while Agar leads a faction of the rebel group in Blue Nile State. Agar’s faction will not take part in the new round of negotiations.

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