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Government says ready to meet SPLM-N al-Hilu over Sudan’s Two-Areas

Sudan's FM Ibrahim Ghandour meets UK special envoy Chris Trott in Khartoum on 21 January 2018 (Photo Trott)

January 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese officials have confirmed to the British special envoy Chris Trott the government commitment to meet the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu next Month to discuss ways to end peace in the South Kordofan and Blue Nil states.

Trott met Sunday with the Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud who is also the chief negotiator for the peace talks with SPLM-N and the Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour.

In a twitt posted after his meeting with Ghandour, Trott described his meeting with Ghandour as "very productive", adding they "discussed (the) importance of the February (...) talks" (brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

The British diplomat further said he discussed the "need for a conducive political environment in Khartoum".

For its part, the presidential aide reiterated his government openness to reach a negotiated settlement for the Two Areas conflict based on the Roadmap agreement signed by the government in March 2016 and the opposition in August 2016.

According to official news agency SUNA, the presidential aide expressed the government’s willingness to sign a cessation of hostilities agreement paving the way for humanitarian access to the rebel held-areas.

Before the spilt of the armed group in the Two areas, the SPLM-N demanded that 20% of the humanitarian aid be delivered to the rebel-controlled areas directly through Ethiopia’s border town of Asosa. But the government refused the demand saying it should be provided from the national territory after being inspected by the security service.

Also, the roadmap was designed for a holistic peace process comprising the political parties and armed groups in Darfur region, but the SPLM-N al-Hilu calls for talks on the self-determination for the Two Areas which has been rejected by Khartoum.

In a separate statement released by the foreign ministry in Khartoum, Ghandour confirmed to the British special envoy the government readiness to take part in the AUHIP-brokered talks with the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

Further, Ghandour expressed Sudan’s commitment to reach an agreement with the rebel movement for a permanent ceasefire, the opening of corridors of humanitarian aid and the freedom of movement of citizens and goods and to engage in negotiations of security and political arrangements.

In his Twit, the British Special Envoy for Sudan South Sudan said he also discussed with Ghandour the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to end the four-year civil war in South Sudan.

We also "talked about the forthcoming meeting of HLRF for South Sudan".

Trott arrived in Khartoum from Kigali where he met with the Rwandan President Paul Kagame who will take over the chairpersonship of the African Union in January to call him to keep a close eye on the South Sudan peace process.

(ST)