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SPLM-N’s al-Hilu urges Hamdok to back secular state in Sudan

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SPLM-N leader al-Hilu speaks to Sudanese PM Hamdok after his arrival to Kauda on 9 January 2020 (SUNA photo)
January 9, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) renewed his demand to separate religion and the state, stressing that it should be the main pillar for peace in Sudan.

The Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, a native of North Kordofan who developed a personal relationship with al-Hilu in the past, visited the SPLM-N stronghold Kauda on Thursday in a move to build confidence and to contribute to peace in Sudan.

Addressing a public meeting on the occasion of Hamdok’s visit, al-Hilu said that the popular reception was organised to celebrate his unprecedented historic visit on the one hand and the "glorious December Revolution" on the other hand.

The SPLM-N leader said that his Movement advocates for the need to building a secular state based on the complete separation between religion and state so that the state stands at the same distance from all religions.

"We believe that there is a rare historical opportunity to bring peace to Sudan, and it should not be wasted. Everyone must show a spirit of responsibility and have the real will to meet peace requirements."

The discussions on a declaration of principles for peace in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states are stalled on the issue of the secular state.

Al-Hilu’s call for secular state and self-determination emerged during the talk with the former Islamist regime which insisted on the Islamic nature of the state in Sudan.

The transitional government says the secular state is one of its goals during the three-year transition but it should be discussed at the constitutional conference to cut short for any change in the future if an Islamist party comes to power democratically and tries to change laws.

In his speech, Hamdok stressed that his transitional government is working to achieve peace as a top priority for building a democratic rule in Sudan, establishing a citizenship state, achieving development and building the national economy.

The prime minister pointed out to al-Hilu’s demand for a secular state stressing that it constitutes one of the five tasks that his government is working to achieve and motivated him to visit Kauda.

In his historic visit to Kauda, Hamdok was accompanied by three diplomats from the Troika countries and the head of the World Food Programme.

In Khartoum, the visit was welcomed by the pro-democracy camp even if some Islamists on the social media underlined that the SPLM-N displayed its flag on the podium where the prime minister addressed the meeting.

(ST)

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