Home | News    Monday 14 July 2003

Sudan peace talks end without agreement

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NAIROBI, July 12 (AFP) — A sixth round of talks aimed at ending a 20-year war between Sudan’s government and southern-based rebels ended Saturday with the two sides failing to agree on a draft accord, a spokesman for the rebel group said.

"We have just closed without any agreement," Samson Kwaje, spokesman for the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), told AFP by telephone from the western Kenyan town of Nakuru where the latest round of talks had been held since July 6.

"The government rejected the draft proposals that would have formed the basis of an agreement," said Kwaje.

The proposals concern power- and wealth-sharing as well as security arrangements during an envisaged six-year period of autonomy for the south before a referendum is held to determine whether or not it remains part of Sudan.

Kwaje said one of the bones of contention was the government’s refusal to suspend Islamic law in the capital Khartoum during the transition period when mediators had proposed that the city serve as the joint capital.

The government also rejected a proposal to carve out an area out of Khartoum and designate it the joint capital, he added.

Islamic law applies in all government-controlled regions of Sudan.

The government also demanded that SPLA troops be integrated into the national army during the transition period, rejecting the idea that both sides maintain their own armies during the interim period, according to Kwaje.

Members of the government delegation were not immediately available for comment.

Both delegations also hit a deadlock on the the status of three regions claimed by both sides.

The SPLA, is active in the disputed regions areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan (also known as the Nuba Mountains), and the Blue Nile and has since December claimed that it had the mandate from the people of those areas to represent them in the talks.

Khartoum insists that those areas are not part of SPLA-controlled southern Sudan and that it controls most of the territories.

The government delegation and SPLA representatives will meet again on July 23 to try to break the deadlock, according to Kwaje.

The peace talks are sponsored by the regional Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which groups Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and nominally Somalia.

In July 2002, the two sides signed a peace agreement in Machakos, Kenya, setting out a six-year period of self-rule for the south before the referendum on self-determination.

Successive rounds of talks have dealt with the arrangements for this transition period, particularly the power and resource-sharing between the north and south.

On Wednesday the rebels accused the authorities in Khartoum of trying to scupper hard-won gains in the long-running peace process by calling for a change in mediators, from IGAD to the African Union (AU).

Kwaje said the movement had learned that the Sudanese foreign minister had circulated a proposal at the AU summit in Maputo, calling on the pan-African grouping to take over the Sudan peace process from IGAD.

The SPLA has been fighting since 1983 to end domination of the mainly Christian and animist south by the Arab Muslim government in Khartoum.

The conflict in Africa’s largest country has claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives and displaced some four million people.

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  • 5 December 2010 02:59, by Ahmed Chol

    What is the point of bringing back old news? Is somebody working to sabotage all agreements and bring everybody back to square one? think about all this folks.

    Ahmed Chol, the future commander of Anya-nya III if the south joins the north

    repondre message

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