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SPLM-N Hilu wants FFC’s support in Sudan’s peace talks

Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu (C) poses with the FFC delegation in Juba on 9 Feb 2020 (ST Photo)
February 10, 2020 - (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) on Sunday said they hope that the Forces For Freedom and Change (FFC) can persuade the transitional government to make concessions on the contentious issues in the peace talks.

Negotiations between the Sudanese transitional government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu are far from striking a deal before the end of the first six months of the transitional period as it was agreed earlier.

The government rejects a demand by the SPLM-N al-Hilu to include the secular state in the talks to end the war in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The government negotiating team instead propose to tackle the matter in the constitutional conference. Several FFC groups said they agree with the SPLM-N al-Hilu on the secular state but called to prioritize ending the war.

On Sunday, a delegation of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), held an informal meeting with al-Hilu and a number of his negotiators in Juba. Formal meetings between the two parties are expected to start later.

In statements to Sudan Tribune after the three-hour exploratory meeting, the Movement’s spokesman Jack Mahmoud stressed on the necessity of holding a transparent discussion with the FFC on the historical root causes of the Sudanese crisis.

Such a discussion will allow finding a common ground for the foundations of voluntary unity, and the creation of a new Sudan that can accommodate everyone, as he said.

"We in the Movement consider this visit to be meaningful and we look to make a major breakthrough and a boost for the peace process," he said before to add "Also, we consider the FFC an essential component of the transitional government," Mahmoud stressed.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu declined in the past to join the FFC but voiced its support for the Sudanese revolution.

An FFC leading member Omer al-Digair of the Sudanese Congress Party told Sudan Tribune that the two sides stressed on the need for concerted efforts to address of the causes of the war and achieving a just and comprehensive peace.

Al-Digair pointed out that the fall of the former regime opened the door for a comprehensive change to overcome the disappointments and bitterness of the past and build a new Sudan based on the principles of equal citizenship, freedom, peace and justice.

In turn, the spokesman for the Forces for Freedom and Change Wajdi Saleh said that the meeting was "good".

"We discussed with them briefly the issues that represent the crisis and the causes of wars. We stressed the need to stop the war and reach a real peace that addresses the roots of the crisis and puts our country in the right path without regional, ethnic, religious or cultural discrimination. So, we will meet again to discuss the issues raised (during the preliminary meeting)" he said.

He added that they would play the role of facilitators of the negotiation process, as they have to "protect the revolution and achieve its goals and build a Sudan befitting all the martyrs".

The FFC delegation is also expected to meet the mediation committee and President Salva Kiir Mayardit after his return from Addis Ababa.

The negotiations between the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu will resume on Monday following the suspension of talks on Saturday.