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Washington putting pressure on Sudanese to sign peace roadmap: sources

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March 23, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - International parties including the United States (US) are making efforts to convince the Sudanese armed movements to endorse the Roadmap Agreement signed by the Sudanese government, said an US diplomatic source

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US special envoy Donald Booth speaks at the Atlantic Council on Sudan and South Sudan (State Department courtesy photo)

On Monday, the Sudanese government signed a Roadmap Agreement concocted by the African Union mediators at the end of a three-day strategic meeting in Addis Ababa, but the opposition groups refrained from endorsing it.

According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the diplomatic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the US envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth, has engaged in intensive meetings with the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on the Roadmap Agreement that the opposition forces refrained from signing.

He pointed that Booth has discussed the Roadmap Agreement with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, saying that IGAD states, and Sudan’s Troika including the US, United Kingdom (UK) and Norway have reached an understanding on the importance to end the war in Sudan.

The same sources expected that pressures would be exerted on the armed movements to sign the Roadmap Agreement.

Meanwhile, an official source from the Sudanese opposition said that a delegation from the Troika has met with the opposition in the negotiations venue in Addis Ababa late night on Tuesday.

The source, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, pointed that the meeting discussed the reservations of the opposition on the Roadmap Agreement, saying the opposition delegation told the Troika that the African mediation has adopted the viewpoint of the Sudanese government and sought to force the armed groups to follow suit.

SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman Wednesday confirmed reports about international pressures on the opposition groups, saying they were told that the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council will support the Roadmap Agreement and ask them to join it.

"But we will not respond to such injunctions. We will be supported by our people and will not sign any document that falsifies the will of the Sudanese people and reproduces the regime," he said.

On Tuesday, the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who participated in the strategic meeting said the purpose of the Roadmap Agreement endorsed by the Sudanese government is to exclude some opposition and civil society groups from the national dialogue and to hold a partial political process.

The Sudanese army has been fighting Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

(ST)

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