Home | News    Wednesday 28 January 2015

Bashir vows to offer security guarantees for rebels participating in national dialogue

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January 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, said the Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, expressed readiness to provide the necessary guarantees for the security of the rebel groups to participate in the dialogue.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R) meets with former South African president Thabo Mbeki on 25 July 2013 in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum (Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images)

In press statements following his meeting with Bashir on Tuesday Mbeki said the Sudanese president stressed the need to end the conflict in Darfur and the Two Areas in order to achieve peace and address the humanitarian conditions through negotiations.

Bashir “was very clear as he said in the past that the armed groups should come in to the national dialogue,” the African Union chief mediator said.

“He has reassured us that if we can continue with the negotiations on the cessation of hostilities, the armed groups can participate in the national dialogue”, Mbeki further said.

Mbeki added that Bashir expressed readiness to offer the necessary guarantees for the security of the rebels’ delegates, saying “it is important that the armed groups become part of the national dialogue.”

Bashir launched a national dialogue initiative last January and urged political opposition and rebel groups to join but his call faced major setback after the National Umma Party (NUP) withdrew following the one month detention of its leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi in May.

Rebel movements and leftist forces refused to join the dialogue from the start, pointing for the need to implement confidence building measures before to engage in the process.

Mbeki stressed the importance that “everything is done to end the conflict in the Two Areas and in Darfur”, vowing to pursue further negotiations on the cessation of hostilities and further discussions with armed groups to ensure their participation in the national dialogue.

He also said he discussed with Bashir the progress of the negotiations process in order to prepare the report of the mediation team which will be submitted to the African Union summit besides discussing guidelines of the mediation’s future plans.

The state’s minister at the Sudanese presidency, al-Rashid Haroun, for his part confirmed in press statements following the meeting that Mbeki received assurances from Bashir to provide the necessary guarantees for the participation of the armed groups in the national dialogue.

He pointed the mediation submitted proposals regarding the negotiations process, saying the government is considering these proposals without giving further details on their nature.

Last month, the African Union mediation announced suspension of the ninth round of talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on the Two Areas in Addis Ababa.

The chief mediator did not elaborate on the conflicting issues that led to suspend the talks with SPLM-N or the joint delegation of Darfur rebel groups last month.

Negotiations stalled after the government delegation insisted that the objective of talks is to settle the conflict in the Two Areas, while the SPLM-N team has called for a holistic approach to resolve ongoing conflicts across Sudan.

Talks in Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups were also stalled over the rebel demand to include additional issues related to the western Sudan region to the agenda proposed by the mediation.

(ST)

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