August 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government Saturday has rejected a cessation of hostilities announced by the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) on Friday and reiterated its demand for a ceasefire agreement.
- President of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-mahdi (L) shake hands with the chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) on 8 August 2014 (ST)
SRF leader Malik Agar on Friday announced a unilateral two-month cessation of hostilities as gesture of good willingness to mark the signing with the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) of Paris Declaration, which calls for peace and democratic reforms in Sudan.
“We reiterate our call for a comprehensive ceasefire,” said presidential assistant Ibrahim Gandour, brushing aside the rebel offer when he announced the signing of a framework agreement on the national dialogue with some opposition parties.
“There is a big difference between the comprehensive ceasefire, which means a roadmap to stop war and bring an end to the suffering of our people coupled with the actual implementation of the tripartite agreement to relief the needy civilians affected by the conflict, and the cessation of hostilities which gives rebel movements an opportunity to prepare for a new long war,” Ghandour said.
The Sudanese official who lead the government negotiating team was referring to the positions of the government and the SPLM-N in the stalled African Union led peace process where the rebel groups demands a comprehensive process for peace in Sudan including Darfur conflict. But, Khartoum refuses this demand.
Also, on the tripartite humanitarian agreement brokered by the UN agencies, African Union and Arab League, the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the implementation mechanism as the government wants to have the upper hand on the whole operation and the SPLM-N rejects the presence of the government aid workers in the rebel held areas.
In statements to Sudan Tribune on Saturday, the SRF leader and chairman of the SPLM-N said they decided to offer a two months cessation of hostilities to express their “willingness for a just and comprehensive peace”.
“This is why we didn’t even link it to the humanitarian access” to the civilians in the rebel controlled zones, he further said.
Agar was alluding to a SRF roadmap for peace in Sudan where they propose a comprehensive humanitarian cessation of hostilities incorporated in a set of confidence building measures before to engage in direct talks over security measures.
The government and the SPLM-N failed last April to reach a framework agreement allowing to engage in direct talks to end the three-year conflict in the two southern Sudan states.
Since, the African Union chief mediator together with the UN special envoy for Sudan and Darfur joint mediator seek to propose a third way to break the deadlock over the rebels demand to unify the two tracks for peace in Darfur and the Two Areas.
Thabo Mbeki, Haile Menkerios and Mohamed Ibn Chambas are expected to engage in a series of contacts soon with the government and rebels groups in order to propose a synchronised humanitarian and security agreements before to engage in political talks.