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Sudan, SPLM-N al Hilu informal talks to begin next week

Al-Hilu greets Hemetti in Juba on 8 October 2020 (ST photo)October 11, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The first informal workshops between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, will be held next Wednesday, to discuss the separation between the state and religion

On September 3, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the Movement’s leader, Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, agreed to hold informal workshops to discuss the relationship between the state and religion.

The formal talks will resume once a compromise is reached.

In statements to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, SPLM-N leading member Mohamed Youssef al-Mustafa said they received a proposal to hold the first workshop on October 14th.

He pointed out that the first workshop will discuss the separation of the state and religion.

"Experts will review the principle of separation in multi-belief societies, in addition to studying the models of Muslim-majority countries that separate between the state and religion, such as Tunisia, Malaysia and Turkey," he added.

Al-Mustafa further said that the aim of the workshop is to reach a common understanding based on "abstract objective knowledge."

He stressed that formal negotiations will start as soon as the informal workshop ends, without specifying a specific date.

Chief Mediator Tut Gatluak and the Mediation Rapporteur Dhieu Matouk arrived Sunday to Khartoum for talks with the government officials on the ongoing preparation for the informal talks in Juba.

Matouk told reporters that the visit of the mediation delegation to Khartoum aims, among others, to discuss resumption of the peace talks between the two sides and preparations for a workshop to discuss the outstanding issues between the government and the SPLM-N.

Mustafa said that the two parties will hold additional informal workshops to discuss issues of identity, decentralization, balanced development, humanitarian needs, and security arrangements.

On Thursday 8 October, the Vice-Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo "Hemetti" who is also the head of the government negotiating team met in Juba with al-Hilu for the first time since the SPLM-N withdrawal from the talks to express their rejection of his leadership of the government team.

The purpose of the meeting was to break the deadlock and restore confidence between the two parties for the sake of peace in Sudan.

They affirmed that they would resume talks after holding workshops in line with the Addis Ababa Agreement between Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and al-Hilu on 3 September to discuss the relationship between religion and politics.