February 27, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement –North (SPLM-N) negotiating delegation in Addis Ababa accused the government of lacking seriousness to engage in talks to resolve the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
- SPLM-N secretary-general and chief negotiator speaks at the opening session of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 February 2014 (Photo: AUHIP)
In a statement released on Thursday evening, SPLM-N negotiating delegation spokesperson, Abdelrahman Ardol, said the government team declined to meet them without the presence of the African Union mediation and when the latter managed to gather them they refused to hold any informal preliminary consultations as it agreed previously.
On 18 February the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) adjourned the peace talks for 10 days and handed over a draft framework agreement to break the deadlocked discussions. The proposal provide to sign a humanitarian turn and to limit the talks on the Two Areas
Also the two parties agreed to be in Addis on 26 and to resume informal consultations on 27, in order to prepare the resumption of the process on 28 February.
"The AUHIP and the SPLM-N delegation were surprised by the absence of the head of the government delegation Ibrahim Ghandour and his replacement by Omer Suleiman who was not even privy to the arrangements for holding informal talks on February 27, 2014," Ardol said.
However, the Sudanese government delegation in a short meeting organised in the evening refused to hold the preliminary discussions, he added.
On Tuesday the Sudanese government appointed the former governor of South Kordofan state Omer Suleiman to lead its delegation, announcing that Ghandour would join the talks after his return from a visit to Yemen.
In a statement released after his return to Khartoum on Thursday, the presidential assistant confirmed the resumption of peace talks in Addis Ababa on Thursday.
The negotiations on the document proposed by the mediation would continue for three days, further said the head of the government delegation.
Also, Ghandour was keen to emphasise that the draft framework agreement limits the talks to the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Ardol said the rejection of the government delegation to hold the preliminary consultations comes in line with its disinterest in a negotiated solution. He further mentioned press statements published on 26 February in Khartoum expressing the army’s readiness to end the conflict militarily.
The rebel spokesperson further said Ghandour is absent because he was seeking partial solution and a cessation of hostilities only in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Concerning the draft framework agreement proposed by the mediation, the SPLM-N spokesperson vowed to come to the negotiating table on Friday with "new ideas about the comprehensive solution and the humanitarian situation".
CALLS FOR HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan ad interim, Adnan Khan, urged the two parties to sign a cessation of hostilities agreement and to implement the signed humanitarian deals to enable aid group to reach the civilians in the war zones.
Khan said the political negotiations can continue once they sign a truce and agree to implement the humanitarian deals.
"What we need now is for the fighting to stop and for the parties to ensure that humanitarian actors have safe, unhindered and immediate access, so that the needs of all who are suffering can be met," he said.