November 3, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s negotiating team on the conflict in the Two Areas has underscored that the government doesn’t seek to fuel the rift within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N).
The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.
The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.
The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) quoted the spokesperson of the government negotiating team Hussein Hamdi as saying the government adopts a strategic approach to achieve permanent peace and stability in the Two Areas.
He indicated they are not keen to divide the SPLM-N, saying the unity of the rebel movement is a crucial requirement for achieving permanent peace.
Hamdi added it is easier to deal with a unified rebel movement than a divided one, saying negotiating with a fragmented movement is “troublesome”.
Talks between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016.
In September, Abdel-Rahman Abu Median, a member of the government negotiating team, said they wouldn’t negotiate with an SPLM-N Agar faction, pointing the group has no ability to implement what will be agreed upon.
The SPLM-N al-Hilu has a similar point of view as they say there is no split within the rebel movement, but only a change of leadership stressing they have the SPLA-N support.
On the other hand, the SPLM-N Agar recognizes the rift and proposes to form a joint delegation. If this proposal is rejected they propose to coordinate with the SPLM-N al-Hilu.
The African mediators met the two factions last August, but they didn’t fix a clear position on the matter, while the facilitators from the Troika countries and the European Union also didn’t determine a unified position on the matter.
The armed groups in Darfur and the other political forces members of the Sudan Call alliance are expected to push for the inclusion of the two factions in the peace process because Agar’s faction is supporting their position for a comprehensive and inclusive peace process.