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SPLM-N call for preliminary national meeting in Addis Ababa over constitutional reforms in Sudan

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February 28, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has called to hold an inclusive meeting in Addis Ababa for the Sudanese political forces to discuss the modalities of a constitutional conference and agreed on the need to sign a cessation of hostilities.

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In this undated photo released by the SPLM-N shows the three leaders of the rebel group - Malik Aggar SPLM-M chairman (C) Abdel Ziz El-Hilu (L) and Yasir Arman (R) in a meeting held at an undisclosed area in South Kordofan.

The rebel group in its response to a draft framework agreement proposed by the African Union mediation admitted the need to sign a humanitarian truce and demanded Khartoum to lift a ban on its activities imposed since 2011, and to recognise the SPLM-N as legal political party and a political partner in the implementation of the peace process.

In a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, the rebel group said that this demand is based on the framework agreement of 28 June 2011 which provides in article 2 that "The parties affirm the right of the SPLMN to continue as legal political party in Sudan".

The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposal a draft framework agreement calling to cease hostilities and to open humanitarian access. Further the proposal provides to hold direct talks on the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states besides engaging in preparations for a constitutional conference.

The SPLM-N also said the AUHIP, Joint mediator for peace in Darfur and the UN special envoy for the two Sudans should facilitate a national constitutional process including all the Sudanese stakeholders.

The purpose of Addis Ababa meeting is to agree on the procedural issues, the venue of the constitutional process and confidence building measures as well as arrangements needed for the comprehensive national constitutional process, the group said.

The SPLM-N which leads the rebel coalition Sudanese Revolutionary Front, further underlined that such constitutional process requires to cease hostilities in all the war zones in the country in order to create a suitable atmosphere for this political national operation.

The SPLM-N was referring to Darfur rebel groups.

Khartoum accepted the draft framework agreement and expressed its readiness to open humanitarian access to reach civilians in the rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The two negotiating delegations resumed talks in Addis Ababa on 27 February. However, the rebels said the meeting was short and the government delegation refused to negotiate without the presence of the mediators.

The opposition National Umma and Popular Congress parties called to hold the constitutional conference inside the country saying that such process should involve all the Sudanese stakeholders including the rebel groups.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is reportedly seeking to convince rebel groups in Darfur region to engage in talks with the government in order to pave the road for a national constitutional process.

The African Union Peace and Security Council since last October urged the rebels to join peace process without precondition and warned it would " take measures and recommend to the UN Security Council to do the same against those impeding the search for peace in Darfur".

(ST)

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