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‘Troika’ urges resumption of Sudan peace talks, release of detainees

December 24 - 2014 LONDON
Main building of the UK government
Main building of the UK government

The members of the UK, Norway, USA ‘Troika’ have expressed their disappointment about the recent collapse of the Sudanese peace negotiations on Darfur, as well as those on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile). They also are deeply concerned about the detention of opposition and civil society members in the country.

In a joint press statement, issued on Tuesday, the three countries call on “all parties to return to the talks in January 2015 with a mandate to achieve peace”.

“In the absence of progress, the situation in Darfur and the Two Areas continues to deteriorate. Over 430,000 people have been displaced by conflict in Darfur and more than 100,000 in the Two Areas since the start of the year. We call on all parties to the conflict to stop all acts of violence, immediately provide unfettered humanitarian access, and take the steps necessary to advance the peace process”, the statement reads.

The Troika welcomes the ongoing efforts of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and its chairman Thabo Mbeki to help bring an end to the conflicts in Sudan, and to initiate a process of genuine national dialogue.

According to the three countries, the AUHIP’s “one process, two tracks” mediation presents the best opportunity to secure synchronised Cessations of Hostilities agreements in Darfur and the Two Areas. “This would open the way to a fuller discussion of the root causes of Sudan’s conflicts, of political and economic reform, and of national identity, through an inclusive and comprehensive National Dialogue.”

Regarding the detention by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of the leader of the National Consensus Forces, Faroug Abu Eisa, human rights defender and chairman of the Civil Society Initiative, and Farah El Agar, legal consultant of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the statement notes that these “actions run counter to the aims of a comprehensive and inclusive National Dialogue”.

The Troika therefore “calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately release those that have been detained and create a climate conducive to a genuine National Dialogue”.

Existing agreements

In an address at a graduation ceremony at the Joint Command College in Omdurman on Tuesday, President Omar Al Bashir reiterated his government’s refusal to negotiate with the SPLM-North on any matter that exceeds the Two Areas Protocol of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, just as he insists on restricting the Darfur peace talks with the main Darfuri rebel movements to the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.

He also stated that the “second phase of the dry season military operations will deter the insurgents, and uproot them from the country”.

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