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Mbeki announces separate talks with Sudan rebels on cessation of hostilities

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September 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) said that two meetings will be held with Sudanese rebel groups to discuss a cessation of hostilities agreement.

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The chief mediator of the African Union’s High Level Implementation Panel, Thabo Mbeki (Getty)

Following a meeting with the national dialogue high committee, Thabo Mebki told reporters that he had a positive meeting with the 7+7 panel saying he discussed ways to involve rebel groups in the internal political process and the cessation of hostilities.

Mbeki further announced that Sudanese government delegations will hold parallel meetings with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM) on 12 October and another one with Darfur rebel groups on 15 October to discuss a cessation of hostilities agreement.

He added that the signing of a truce will pave the way for the rebels’ participation in the national dialogue.

The rebel alliance of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) demands to negotiate a comprehensive humanitarian cessation of hostilities in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states; stressing the need to unify the two peace processes.

However, Khartoum insists on the importance to maintains the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) as basis for negotiations with the holdout rebels saying it already committed with two former rebel groups that inked the framework agreement.

The former South African president did not elaborate on the venue of the cessation of hostilities. The rebels indicated their preference for Addis Ababa, as some Darfur movements decline to hold talks in Doha accusing Qatar of supporting Bashir’s government.

Information minister and co-spokesperson of the dialogue high committee Ahmed al-Balal stated that Mbeki told them that the process would not be held outside the country and informed them that the rebel groups agreed to participate in the national dialogue.

“Mbeki however disclosed some proposals that he will discuss with the armed movements next week” Balal said, adding “May be there would be a round of talks abroad with the (rebel) movements to agree on the confidence building measures”.

In a separate statement to the official news agency SUNA, The secretary general of the council of the national unity government’s parties, Aboud Jabir, urged Mbeki to convince Abdel Wahid al-Nur, the leader of a faction of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) to join the dialogue.

Al-Nur said that security of civilians particularly the displaced persons must be ensured, stressing that the signing of a cessation of hostilities is not enough to participate in the national dialogue.

Jabir also said that a list of the political prisoners and detainees had been submitted to the component authorities in order to be release them.

(ST)

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