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Hamdok-Hilu’s preliminary accord needs to be endorsed by Sudan parties: statement

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Hamdok and al-Hilu shake hands after signing the Joint Agreement on the peace talks on 3 September 2020 (ST photo)September 4, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok said the deal struck with Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, leader of the SPLM-N is a "preliminary" agreement that will not be effective before its approval by "the relevant institutions."

Hamdok and al-Hilu signed a Joint Accord to address the dispute over the relationship between religion and the state and the right to self-determination, after a series of meetings in Addis Ababa that lasted from 2 to 4 September.

As soon as it was announced, the deal faced a wave of criticism from Islamist groups supporting the former regime considering it a final agreement on the separation of religion from the state.

Dozens of worshipers went out in the suburb of Al-Gerreif after Friday prayers to denounce the agreement. At the same time, a crowd of people from Nuba Mountains gathered at Khartoum Airport to receive Hamdok, declaring their support for the agreement with al-Hilu.

Hamdok agreed with al-Hilu on a "preliminary agreement specifying the main issues that should be on the negotiating table. Also, they agreed that this agreement would be endorsed by the channels and the concerned bodies on both sides," said Hamdok office in a statement released upon the return.

"This agreement will become binding after discussion and approval by the relevant institutions. Formal negotiations will resume in light of the progress achieved in the informal negotiations," added the statement.

The joint agreement provides that the Sudanese constitution will be based on the principle of separating religion from the state. Further, it added that In the absence of this principle, the right to self-determination must be "respected".

The two parties agreed to hold informal negotiations to discuss the secular state and the right to self-determination to reach a common understanding that facilitates the formal negotiation teams.

The perception of the secular state in Islam differs from the other religions as the issues of marriage and heritage as well as some sanctions related to the death penalty and stealing.

The Sudanese democratic political forces, which in principle support the separation between religion and politics, do not have a shared position on the concept of the secular state as some speak about "civilian state" and reject secular state.

On 18 October 2019, the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu agreed that the peace talks should include the political issues, humanitarian assistance and security arrangements.

But they failed to achieve any progress in the talks when they came to discuss the political agenda, as the al-Hilu group proposed to include the secular state and self-determination.

After several months of suspension, last August the SPLM-N al-Hilu agreed to resume talks with the government on the humanitarian issues and security arrangements. But the group withdrew from the negotiating table rejecting the chairmanship of the government delegation by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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