Sudan’s Umma Party and SPLM-N El Hilu sign agreement in Juba

Leaders of the Umma Party discuss a possible peace deal with SPLM-N leader Abdelaziz El Hilu (Photo supplied)

JUBA – JANUARY 23, 2023

The National Umma Party (NUP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) signed an agreement in principle in Juba on Saturday.

A NUP delegation, headed by Siddig El Sadig El Mahdi, on Friday travelled to the South Sudanese capital to meet with El Hilu, head of the SPLM-N faction in South Kordofan and parts of Blue Nile region. They would discuss the Framework Agreement and solutions to the root causes of the Sudanese crises.

The agreement, signed by El Mahdi for the NUP, which is a member of the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council, and Adel Ibrahim Shaloka for the SPLM-N, stresses “the necessity of resolving the deep-rooted causes of the Sudanese crisis in a way that guarantees the unity and stability of the country”.

It consists of seven clauses stipulating that religion should not be exploited in politics. Citizenship rights must be separated from any religious affiliation. Assets and functions acquired through the empowerment policies of the regime of Omar Al Bashir are to be investigated and removed.  

A national identity is to be built, away from exclusion and marginalisation, so that a “real and comprehensive peace” can be achieved.

The text further emphasises the importance of sustainable democracy. Transitional justice and accountability are the pillars of a just society. Wealth-sharing should be fair and based on financial decentralisation.

The security and military sectors need reform and the impunity of its members must be lifted.

Hold-out movements

On October 3 2020, members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance signed the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) with the government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. The deal was mediated by the South Sudanese government. The SPLM-N El Hilu and the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) however did not sign the agreement.  

While the SLM-AW, which has still strongholds in Jebel Marra in central Darfur, categorically refuses to negotiate with the Sudanese authorities before security is restored in Darfur, and a broad grassroots dialogue has taken place within the region, the SPLM-N El Hilu did join talks in Juba, though separately from the SRF alliance.

Two months before the signing of the JPA however, the SPLM-N El Hilu withdrew from the talks, in protest against the new chairman of the Sudanese government delegation, Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In November that year, El Hilu reaffirmed his eagerness “to reach a peaceful, just, and comprehensive political settlement of the Sudanese problem that would put an end to the civil wars in Sudan”.

Declaration of Principles was signed by El Hilu and Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces, on March 28 2021, in which the two parties agreed “to work together to achieve and consolidate the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Sudan”.

Half a year later, a small group of army generals led by El Burhan, supported by the RSF militia, as well as SRF rebel leaders, overthrew the government of PM Abdallah Hamdok through a military coup d’état.