April 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel alliance of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) proposed a roadmap to achieve a comprehensive solution to end war in the southern and western parts of the country and ensure democratic transition in Sudan.
- SRF leaders, form the left, Gibril Ibrahim (JEM), Malik Agar (SPLM-N), Abdel wahil Al Nur (SLM-AW) Minnin Minnawi (SLM-MM) and Yasir Arman (SPLM-N), on 4 October 2012 after the signing of a new political agreement between the rebel groups in Kampala, Uganda (Photo SRF)
But the non-rebel opposition forces in Sudan cautiously welcomed the three-phase peace plan with some saying they need to review it before taking a position while others voiced their objection to a peace process held outside the country.
In accordance with the 6-page roadmap obtained by Sudan Tribune since Thursday, the rebel groups proposed direct talks between them and the National Congress Party (NCP) led government to reach a cessation of hostilities and a humanitarian deal to deliver aid to affected civilians in Darfur region, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. They also want Khartoum to disarm its militias, create a conducive environment for the return of displaced persons and pay them compensations.
Following what, the armed groups will sit with the government to “settle war-related issues and the particularities of the war affected regions”.
After the signing of an agreement over these regional matters, the African Union High Level Implementation (AUHIP), African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and UN secretary general special envoy will sponsor a “preparatory conference”, including all the main political forces convened outside Sudan to discuss the mechanisms of the national constitutional dialogue.
Beside the agenda of the constitutional process, the rebels want to determine who will take part in this inclusive operation. They fear that the government, which speaks about the participation of over 80 parties in current national dialogue meetings, seeks to include artificial political parties in the dialogue.
The SRF roadmap provides that the National Constitutional Dialogue will discuss issues like equal citizenship, relation between religion and state, federalism and decentralization, reform of the security sector and civil service, identity and the management of diversity and voluntary unity.
The ruling NCP and main opposition parties refuse to put the issue of Sudan integrity on the negotiating table as it reminds many of the 2002 Machakos agreement which gave the South Sudanese the right for self-determination. Also the ruling party and the Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi say the place of religion can only be decided by the Sudanese people in a referendum on a draft constitution at the end of transitional period.
The roadmap, which for the first time proposes a unified position of the rebel groups on the comprehensive solution they call for, says an “interim national government”will be formed at the end of this constitutional process to administrate the country, implement security arrangements, organise the return of IPDs, compensate them, reform the security sector and draft the permanent constitution, among others.
SRF deputy president and head of media sector al-Tom Hago told Sudan Tribune that they reached this roadmap after long discussions because they are convinced that only a negotiated political solution can bring an end to the ongoing conflicts.
He stressed that the alliance believes in the holistic approach to settle the conflicts and bring democratic change in Sudan. However, he underlined that the need for direct talks between them and the government does not mean to bar other political forces from taking part in the issues of the South Kordofan, Blue Nile or Darfur.
“These regions have some uniqueness that the SRF needs to address with the NCP government, while the national issues and even the regional administrative system shall be discussed and endorsed by the constitutional conference,” he said.
He also said they will come to this process with an open mind and the proposed peace plan does not aim to impose impossible conditions but they want to achieve a lasting and sustainable peace in Sudan and to lay down the needed foundation to reach this goal.
Hago said they met with European Union officials on Friday in Brussels to brief them about the roadmap which they announced while another member of the rebel alliance, the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has already included it in its position paper for the peace talks on Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Rebel sources said they also handed over the peace plan to several western countries including the US, France and United Kingdom.
In Khartoum there was no reaction yet from Sudanese government which refuses to unify peace tracks to discuss Darfur and the Two Areas with the rebel groups.
The opposition parties reached by Sudan Tribune showed some reluctance to some points included in the roadmap.
The head of the National Consensus Forces, which now represents the Communist Party, Haq, Congress Party and some other small political parties said they received the plan.
Farouq Abu Issa further said they will form a committee and discuss its content with SRF.
The major opposition parties of the National Umma Party (NUP) and the PCP welcomed the move considering it as good step towards the national dialogue initiative which the SRF has rejected.
The two parties which are involved in the internal process of launched by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir since last January, say they are against external interference in the solution of Sudanese issues.
Fadlallah Burma, NUP vice-president, welcomed the move saying they encourage peaceful and comprehensive solutions.
However, he said that what is important is not to negotiate outside the country but to have the needed guarantees and called on the two sides to show their willingness to engage in the political process to end the current crises.
“What we need now seriousness and confidence to achieve a comprehensive peace, security and stability,”he said.
The PCP political secretary Kamal Omer said they support any talks between the government and rebels to conclude a ceasefire and deliver humanitarian aid to the needy in the war zones.
But he refused to hold any inclusive talks outside the country stressing that “international solutions led to separation of the South and ignite war in the Two Areas,” in reference to the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement.
The PCP “is in favour of an intra-Sudanese dialogue, neutral mechanisms and agreements that lead to a transitional period but we are against negotiations abroad and international sponsorship,” he further said.
But he said they are in contact with the SRF factions to bridge the gaps as they are all political partners in this national dialogue process.
Other opposition sources that requested anonymity said they fear that this proposed plan aims to reproduce Naivasha peace process and excludes the political opposition to come later and ask it to approve what the armed groups agreed with the NCP government.