February 24, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government is studying a draft framework agreement proposed by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for talks to end conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, Khartoum announced on Monday ahead of the arrival of the chief mediator.
- Former South African president and chairman of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, Thabo Mbeki (Photo: Reuters)
The recent failure of government and rebel delegations to engage in peace talks pushed the mediation to propose a new framework agreement based on what had been previously agreed, as well as African Union and UN Security Council (UNSC) decisions.
During the discussions between 13 to 18 February it appeared that both sides diverge mainly on how to approach the conflict. The government wants a solution for the conflict in the two states before proceeding with constitutional reform, while the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) is proposing a comprehensive process to reshape the Sudanese state and re-establish a democratic regime.
Prior to the adjournment of talks on 18 February, the mediation proposed holding discussions on the problems facing the Two Areas that would pave the way for a national process. The government and the SPLM-N before have previously signed a pact on political partnership, disarmament and integration of rebel combatants.
In a short statement to official news agency SUNA, a member of the government negotiating team, Hussein Hamdi, confirmed that his government had received the draft framework agreement, adding that “the delegation is examining the proposal in order to determine its response”.
The draft agreement has been circulated in Khartoum since last weekend and large excerpts of the proposed text were published by the government controlled local press.
The former South African president and chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, is due to meet with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on Tuesday to discuss the draft agreement and explain planned steps to re-energize the process.
Information minister Yasir Youssef told reporters on Monday that the government delegation is committed to negotiating on the basis of AU and Security Council resolutions and the non-implemented parts of the protocol of the Two Areas contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005.
AU and UN decisions provided the basis for negotiations on a framework agreement signed on 28 June 2011, which the government denounced five days later, saying talks should only be based on the protocol of the Two Areas. At the end of last year the government indicated it would accept the resolution 2046 without referring to the 28 June framework deal.
The talks are due to resume on 28 February.