March 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s presidential assistant and chief negotiator, Ibrahim Ghandour, has affirmed that the government is determined to achieve permanent peace in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but warned they will not sign any agreement which allows rebels to retain their weapons.
- The head of the Sudanese government’s negotiating team, Ibrahim Gandour (R), speaks at the opening session of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 13 February 2014. The SPLM’s Yasir Arman appears at the extreme left of the table, while the mediators and UN envoy are pictured in the middle (Photo: AUHIP)
Last month the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) suspended the stalled talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) on the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and referred the matter to its mandating authority, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), asking for further guidance.
Negotiations stalled because the government delegation insisted that the objective of talks is to settle the conflict in the two areas while the SPLM-N delegation called for a holistic approach to solve Sudan’s problems.
The AUPSC renewed its confidence in the AUHIP mediation team led by Thabo Mbeki to broker peace talks between the two parties on the Two Areas and asked him to reach an agreement by the end of April.
Ghandour said in a meeting with the stakeholders from the political and social components in South Kordofan on Monday that the recent round of talks in Addis Ababa broke down because the rebel SPLM-N insisted on retaining its troops, adding the government delegation will participate in the next round of talks with an open heart in order to achieve permanent peace in the Two Areas.
He said the delegation would seek to end the crisis in the Two Areas and achieve peace before the end of next April and in accordance with the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2046.
The stakeholders agreed that negotiations are the only means for ending war and achieving peace in the Two Areas particularly South Kordofan state which suffered from the long war, demanding participation of the traditional administration and stakeholders in the negotiations with the SPLM-N.
It further underscored importance of reaching a cessation of hostilities and fulfilling wishes of the citizens.
The Blue Nile and South Kordofan’s conflict erupted months apart from each other in 2011 when Sudan attempted to forcibly disarm SPLM-N fighters it accuses of being backed by their brother-in-arms in the South Sudanese army.