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Rebel leaders meet with Sudan peace mediators in Addis Ababa

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September 1, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) met on Monday with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Darfur peace joint chief mediator (JCM) and UN special envoy for Sudan.

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General view of the meeting between the AUHIP, Darfur mediator, UN envoy for Sudan and SRF rebels (IGAD courtesy photo)

The meeting which is the first with SPLM-N and Darfur rebel groups altogether took place following a series of meeting held in Khartoum by thy AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki and Darfur JCM Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The two peace mediators agreed with the Sudanese government to bring the rebel groups to the national dialogue process. Khartoum said either the rebels sign separate peace agreements in Doha and Addis Ababa or they join the internal dialogue conference with international guarantees for their safety.

The meeting was attended by SRF leader and SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar, his deputies Abdel Wahid al-Nur, Gibril Ibrahim, Minni Minnawi, Naser al-Din al-Mahdi and al-Tom Hajo.

Also attended the meeting Zainab Kabashi, leader of a splinter faction of East Sudan Front, SPLM-N deputy chairman Abdel Aziz Hilu and SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman. JEM deputy leader Ahmed Adam Bakheit and SLM-MM leading member Trayo Ahmed Ali.

The mediator and the SRF did not yet issue a communiqué after the meeting.

However, in statements to Sudan Tribune before to head to Addis Ababa, al-Nur said that “this meeting means only to discuss ways to achieve peace and change in Sudan and not to negotiate with the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP)”.

On Friday, the head of the AUHIP, Thabo Mbeki, discussed with the National Umma Party (NUP) leader, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, developments of the national dialogue process.

The AUHIP members “have understood the view of the National Umma Party about the national dialogue and the unification of the opposition forces in order to hold a comprehensive national dialogue based on Paris Declaration,” said a statement released by Mahdi’s office on Saturday.

The panel in the past refused to hold such a meeting, arguing that its mandate is limited to the conflict in the Two Areas between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N.

Last March, AUHIP chief declined to meet a SRF including Ibrahim, Hajo and Minnawi who sought to explain their demand for a comprehensive peace process.

Media reports in Khartoum say that members of the national dialogue’s external liaison subcommittee Ghazi Salah al-Din Attabani and Ahmed Saad Omer will arrive in Addis Ababa to meet with the SRF leaders.

Sudan’s national dialogue committee known as 7+7, comprised of government parties and opposition ones on Sunday formed the six committees entrusted with leading the process.

The Reform Now Movement (RNM) Ghazi Salah al-Din Attabani and cabinet minister and member of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led by Mohamed Osman al-Merghani, Ahmed Saad Omer were assigned to the external liaison subcommittee.

(ST)

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