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SLM-AW leader pledged to return to Sudan after coronavirus end: Hamdok

Sudan's PM Abdallah Hamdok shackes hands with Abdel Wahid an-Nur in Paris on 30 Sept 2019 (SLM-AW photo)September 9, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Prime Minister said that the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) promised in a telephone call last week to return to the country when the coronavirus pandemic come to an end.

Hamdok, on Wednesday evening, held an interview with the Sky News Arabia channel, in which he talked about the government’s efforts to achieve peace in the country.

In a question about his relationship with al-Nur, Hamdok explained that the relationship with the exiled rebel leader remains a personal and informal one, given that he rejects the Transitional Authority institutions.

However, he stressed that he was keen to remain in contact with him because "peace has no ceiling" through irregular phone calls from time to time.

The prime minister added that al-Nur during spoke with al-Hilu during their recent meeting in Addis Ababa and asked to speak with him.

"In my phone conversation with Al-Nur, I asked him to return (to the country), especially since peace has made progress in Juba and he promised to return," said Hamdok.

Al-Nur said that the Coronavirus pandemic prevents his return to the country and once the health crisis is over, he added.

The Prime Minister stressed that there is no official understanding with al-Nur’s movement about the needed steps to achieve peace and that all that was agreed on was done informally.

"We asked him to initiate this process and he promised to do so after the end of the Corona pandemic".

In a statement issued after Hamdok return to Khartoum, the SLM-AW denied the existence of contacts with the Sudanese government, stressing that the conversation was based on "the personal relationship" between them, and they did not discuss any issues related to peace, negotiation or public issues."

"The movement has never talked about negotiating with the Khartoum government, at home or abroad. It has announced more than once its intention to launch a comprehensive peace initiative in Sudan through holding a Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue conference inside the homeland with the participation of all Sudanese components but not negotiations between the (Movement) and the government".

No change in government negotiating team

The Sudanese Prime Minister denied statements by Mohamed Youssef Mustafa, a leading member of the SPLM-N al-Hilu, about a pledge made by Hamdok to replace the government negotiating team headed by the Commander of Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti.

"This is incorrect and inaccurate," said Hamdok without elaborating.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu withdrew from the negotiating last August to protest Hemetti’s leadership of the government delegation for the peace talks.

He also stated that the meeting with al-Hilu took place in Addis Ababa away from the spotlight "to provide an opportunity for the unannounced dialogue."

The four-day meeting between Hamdok and al-Hilu was not announced and took place in the Ethiopian capital instead of Juba, the venue of the peace talks.

Initially, the mediation was working on a similar encounter but al-Hilu who was in Nairobi opted for Addis Ababa.