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African mediation consulting with parties to resume Two Areas talks: government

October 8, 2018 (KHARTOUM) -The government negotiating team for the Two Areas talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) said the African mediation is consulting with the parties to set a date to hold a new round of talks.

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Mbeki speaks to participants at the inaugral session of Strategic Consultations Meeting in Addis Ababa on 18 March 2016 (AUHIP Photo)

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) has quoted a member of the team Al-Hadi Osman Andu as saying the atmosphere is conducive to resume the peace talks.

He pointed out that Sudan’s acceptance of the UN humanitarian proposal would lay the ground to achieve sustainable peace in the Two Areas.

For his part, member of the government negotiating team Hussein Karshoum underlined their commitment to the Roadmap Agreement developed by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

The government and the opposition Sudan Call alliance including the political forces and the armed movements signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap agreement brokered by AUHIP including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

Following the failure of talks for a ceasefire agreement in August 2016, the government held its national dialogue conference without the opposition groups and formed a national consensus government.

Karshoum added the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy population would promote the chances of success in the next round of talks and end the crisis in the Two Areas.

Last month, the Sudanese government agreed to a UN initiative to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

The SPLM-N demands to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.

But the government rejects the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

The SPLM-N, in November 2016 declined an American proposal to transport humanitarian medical assistance directly to the civilians in the rebel-held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Also, during the last round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The mediation delinked the ceasefire and the humanitarian access and focused at this round only on the cessation of hostilities agreement.

However, differences between the sides emerged when Khartoum proposed that the cessation of hostilities be a step towards a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access.

(ST)