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Expelled aid groups can return to Sudan: official

South Sudanese refugees in White Nile State receive humanitarian assistance on 27 February 2017 (SUNA photo)
September 14, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - International humanitarian groups expelled by the former regime will be allowed to return to Sudan and work in the war-affected areas in line with the Juba Declaration signed on 11 September, said a member of the Sudanese government negotiating team on Saturday.

Speaking at a symposium entitled “The Future of Peace in Sudan” in Khartoum on Saturday, Sovereign Council member Mohamed Hassan al-Ta’ayshi said that the matter was discussed by the parties during the two-day with the armed groups on confidence-building measures before the resumption of peace talks.

On 4 March 2009, Sudanese authorities expelled 13 international NGOs and revoked the licenses of three national NGOs after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the then President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges.

Further, the government expelled seven more NGOs from Eastern Sudan in 2012, followed by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2014 and the NGO Tearfund in 2015. However, since the Sudanese authorities allowed some group to resume their activities but the past expulsions left a pall over the humanitarian community.

"We have agreed with the armed groups on all sticking points, even the return of NGOs that were expelled by the former regime. Also, we can allow other humanitarian organizations to access to war-affected areas according to the procedures that preserve the country’s security," said al-Ta’ayshi who is from Darfur region.

The Sudanese government and armed groups on Wednesday signed a roadmap for peace in Sudan brokered by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir who co-signed the deal with the Sudanese parties.

In line with the Juba Declaration, the parties agreed to immediately implement the confidence-building measures, provided in the Constitutional Document, and to establish appropriate mechanisms for this effect as the peace talks will begin on 14 October.

Al-Ta’ayshi called for setting up partnerships with the international and regional community to achieve peace, pointing to the role is being played by the State of South Sudan in this regard.

He confirmed that Juba Declaration parties had agreed in principle to address the root causes of war in Sudan, saying that everyone is confident that it is time for peace.

Further, he hinted at the possibility of amending the constitutional document and the structures of the transitional authority to accommodate the outputs of future peace agreements.

“A Peace agreement without making adjustments to the structures of constitutional institutions will not achieve the peace we expected," he added.