February 14, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) on Friday criticized the position paper presented by the Sudanese government during the first days of negotiations, saying Khartoum is only interested in partial solutions.
- SPLM-N secretary-general and chief negotiator speaks at the opening session of peace talks in Addis Ababa on 13 Feb 2014 (Photo AUHIP)
In a three-hour meeting held on Friday, the Sudanese government and rebel delegations exchanged their negotiating position papers before to engage in talks brokered by African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) over the resolution of the armed conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
"Today the two delegations exchanged negotiating positions, but there is a large gap between the two parties. The SPLM-N is seeking a comprehensive solution, while the (ruling) National Congress Party wants a partial solution to the problem," said Mubarak Ardol spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating team.
He further said the ruling party is seeking to give the false impression they are willing to implement a comprehensive solution but this "claim has been tested today".
"our message to the Sudanese people that the NCP has nothing new to offer," he added.
Thursday, the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki called on the two parties to reach a peace deal to end the two and half year conflict based on a framework agreement signed on 28 June 20114.
Also, during the opening session, the two sides said committed to the African Union and UN Security Council decisions calling on them to observe the signed framework agreement in their talks to end war and to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in the rebel held areas.
The Sudanese government delegation, in its position paper suggested to discuss cessation of hostilities and security arrangements and a set of principles to form a joint security committee as well as ways to deliver humanitarian aid to affected civilians in the Two Areas.
The paper also deals with the implementation of the Popular Consultation agreed in 2005 peace agreement and underlines the need to observe the Political Parties Act of 2007 which refers to the disarmament former rebels before to register as political party.
Khartoum also underlined the need to cooperate in a national framework with other political forces to prepare a permanent constitution for the country.
However, Ardol told Sudan Tribune that the government’s paper does not mention the 28 June agreement which provides that the two parties, once an agreement on the Two Areas is sealed, would work together to hold a comprehensive and inclusive process for democratic change.
The SPLM-N rebels demand at this stage, a comprehensive cessation of hostilities in Blue Nile, South Kordofan states and Darfur region. They also propose to open humanitarian access to civilians in the rebel controlled areas in southern and western Sudan.
For the political talks, the rebel group proposes to unite the two forums for peace in the Two Areas and Darfur, after what a comprehensive political process will be held to discuss the conflicts in the three regions and to agree on a new constitution.
Ardol said their negotiating team met with two experts, Mohamed Khater and Farah Alagar adding that Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, and Omer Ismail will join them on Friday.
Ismail, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune emphasized that he participates as expert for the SPLM-N in his "personal capacity, completely separate and unrelated to (his) work and association" with the Washington based Enough Project, an advocacy group to end genocide and crimes against humanity.
A number of foreign diplomats including US special envoy, Donald Booth met with government and rebel delegations on Friday to hear their positions and discuss steps forwards in the peace process.
Talks are expected to resume on Saturday but between the two sides as the mediation will try to propose a common ground for further discussions.