December 19, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese rebels said the humanitarian situation in the southern parts of the country constitutes their main concern, reiterating readiness to sign a cessation of hostilities with the government if the latter allows the delivery of food to the affected civilians.
- Women stand in front of a cave in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, April 28, 2012. (Reuters)
In press statements released Wednesday, SPLM-North secretary general Yasir Arman said they told the African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki they were ready to ink a cessation of hostility agreement with the Sudanese army when Khartoum allows humanitarian access to areas under rebel control in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
"The SPLM-N expressed its readiness and unwavering commitment for an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities and that the priorities number 1, 2 and 3 for the SPLM-N are to address the humanitarian situation and the protection of civilians," Arman said in a statement extended to the Sudan Tribune.
He added that this truce will create a healthy environment to address other issues as well as helping to operationalise the buffer zone between Sudan and South Sudan, “given the fact that the SPLM-N controls more than 40% of the international border between the two countries".
The African Union mediation said in its report to the AU Peace and Security meeting on 14 December that the resolution of the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is crucial for the implementation of a security arrangements deal the Khartoum and Juba failed to agree on its enforcement.
However, Khartoum says the implementation of the security deal will allow it to engage in talks with the rebels, demanding that Juba stops its support to its former allies.
Khartoum, on the other, refuses to allow the humanitarian access to the rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile saying the food will benefit also to the insurgency.
A tripartite proposal made by the UN humanitarian agencies, African Union and the Arab League did not help break the stalemate over the humanitarian access.
Khartoum says it should supervise the whole operation and the SPLM rejects the presence of government representatives in its territory with the tripartite team.
Arman said that the SPLM-N delegation to Addis Ababa is composed of its chairman Malik Agar, his deputy Abdel Aziz Hilu, himself, and humanitarian wing members including Philip Niron, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Saeed, Hashim Ortah and Bakri Abdel Bassit.
He added that besides Mbeki, they met with Ethiopian prime minister Haile Mariam Desalegne, US special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, EU special envoy Rosalind Marsden, and Ambassadors of the African countries members of the AUPSC in Addis Ababa.
Sudan and South Sudan agreed today to implement the non-litigious issues in the security arrangements pledging to resume their discussions on the disengagement with SPLM-N fighters on 13 January.
Khartoum stipulates that the full implementation of the security arrangements should take place before the pumping of South Sudanese oil for exportation through Sudanese territory and maritime ports.