July 2, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) have rebuffed statements by Sudanese government officials that the rebel group is not serious about peace, renewing its calls for a comprehensive solution in the country.
- The head of Sudanese government delegation, Ibrahim Ghandour (L), holds a one-on-one meeting with the SPLM-N’s chief negotiator, Yasir Arman, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, before the resumption of peace talks on 22 April 2014 (Photo courtesy of the Sudanese government delegation)
Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudan’s presidential assistant and head of the government delegation to the African Union-led peace process, denounced what he claimed was the rebels lack of seriousness to resume negotiations aimed at ending the three-year conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
Ghandour told reporters on Tuesday that the Sudanese government had received two invitations from the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), but the SPLM-N’s ongoing reluctance to continue talks had prevented negotiations from going ahead.
However, the SPLM-N’s secretary-general and top negotiator, Yasir Arman, rejected Ghandour’s remarks, accusing Khartoum of seeking to militarily resolve the conflict in the Two Areas.
“The SPLM-N is [as] ready as ever for a comprehensive solution of Sudan’s problems despite the government having destroyed the national dialogue opportunity,” Arman told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
“We are ready to provide a way out that will include all political and civil society actors and that will lead to democratic transformation,” he added.
He claimed the government remained fully engaged in military escalation and had opted for war and violence rather than peaceful negotiations to resolve the conflict.
“They didn’t achieve any of the objectives they set. They didn’t reach Kauda or [the] Sudan-South international border,” he said.
Arman was referring to statements made by government officials vowing to intensify attacks on SPLM-N positions and march on the rebel stronghold of Kauda in order to repulse rebels from the state.
During the last round of talks in April, AUHIP chief mediator Thabo Mbeki again proposed a draft framework agreement providing for discussions on the Blue Nile and South Kordofan conflict. He also included the national dialogue process in proposed bilateral talks.
However, the SPLM-N declined the draft agreement, and instead handed over a roadmap for peace in Sudan, which proposed establishing one forum gathering for all rebel groups in Darfur, the SPLM-N and the Sudanese government in order to discuss peace and democratic transition in Sudan.
Khartoum has refused to accept a comprehensive settlement in Darfur and the Two Areas, saying that rebels can participate in the constitutional process once they sign separate peace agreement on the conflicts in their respective regions.
The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has also limited the mandate of the AUHIP to the Two Areas and refused rebel calls for an inclusive process led by the regional body and the United Nations.