‘We aspire to agree’ says Sudan’s PM Hamdok after visit to rebel stronghold
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has asserted that his historic visit to Kauda on Thursday will open the horizons for achieving peace in a short period. “We are approaching peace with a confident pace,” he says.
Speaking at a press conference at Khartoum airport after his return from Kadugli today, PM Hamdok said that the demand of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction of El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) for secularism and self-determination is not surprising and not a new one,” pointing out that the movement also raised the two issues during the peace talks in Juba.
He stressed that there are no red lines in negotiating issues, and that the armed movements have the right to put forward what they deem important. “We aspire to agree”.
He said that there is a possibility of reaching an understanding on the issues raised, to achieve a project that unites all Sudanese. Hamdok called on all to “seize the historic opportunity that has arisen in the country to achieve peace”.
Hamdok said the delegation held public and closed meetings during the Kauda visit, and stated that its closed meeting with El Hilu was characterised by transparency and clarity, stressing that there is a great deal of understanding that allows the peace file to be pushed to ends that satisfy the people.
“We discussed peace building and the role of the transitional government on this issue,” he said. He explained that the two sides agreed that peace should address the root causes of the crisis, which are issues of marginalisation, identity, form of government, and how to manage Sudan and the Constitution.
PM Hamdok appealed to the leaders and members of the SPLM-N, during his address to the mass celebration in Kauda on Thursday, to accept the making of peace, and he also invited them to join the peace sincerely, so that everyone can devote themselves to building the new Sudan.
He said that peace has become a dream that is reachable, and he added “You are the backbone in making this peace”.
He called on the rebel movement to work with all components of the Sudanese people to bring the homeland to safety.
Hamdok invited SPLM-N leader Abdelaziz El Hilu to visit “revolutionary Khartoum”.
Hamdok said that the priorities of the transitional government are to achieve peace in Sudan in general and in the Nuba Mountains in particular, stressing that the December revolution came to end the suffering of citizens due to the war.
He explained that the main pillars of peace depend on addressing the roots of the Sudanese crisis that is based on equal citizenship, cultural pluralism, respect for the other, and the broad participation of all in peace-making, in particular women and youth
SPLM-N faction head Abdelaziz El Hilu, expressed his thanks and appreciation to PM Hamdok for his important visit to the town of Kauda.
Addressing the cheering crowd at the rally, El Hilu said that history placed Hamdok at the top of responsibility at this juncture, which requires him to take decisive decisions in order to preserve the unity of Sudan by declaring a secular, democratic, and unified state on new foundations.
He noted that “all freedoms are fully guaranteed in Kauda, including freedom of belief and freedom of conscience”.
He said that this visit reflects the desire of the transitional government to achieve peace in Sudan. He considered it a positive indication that the PM and head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan care for the suffering of the people in the rebel-held areas.
El Hilu explained that the crowds that honoured this celebration are an integral part of the Sudanese people, but they have long suffered from the scourge of war, and from food and medicine deprivation, and the basic needs of life because of their adherence to their right to freedom and dignity.
Despite the success of the December revolution that destroyed the regime of the National Congress Party, there are challenges that still stand, evidence that the revolution is not yet complete, the rebel leader said. He regretted the violent incidents in Port Sudan, Talodi, and El Geneina, and other places that show brutal practices not related to humanity, demanding that those involved be brought to justice.
El Hilu affirmed the sincere desire of his movement to achieve peace, and declared their adherence to the necessity of addressing the roots of the Sudanese problem, foremost of which is the relationship of religion to the state and the issue of national identity which together will answer the question of how Sudan should be governed. The state should respect all religions and should be based on rights and duties, and the basis of this state is human citizenship, regardless of religion, race, colour, or gender.
The Forces for Freedom and Change described the visit as a step towards building a just and comprehensive peace, in preparation for a new era in which grievances end and people are equal on the basis of citizenship without discrimination or exclusion. They stressed the importance of moving forward in the path of peace and crossing difficulties and challenges.
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