Home | News    Thursday 30 June 2016

Khartoum informs U.S. envoy of its rejection to amend peace roadmap

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June 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Wednesday told the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, that it sticks to the Roadmap Agreement for peace and dialogue and refuses the supplemental agreement proposed by the opposition.

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Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud, (L) shakes hands with U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth at his office in Khartoum on July 29, 2016 (ST Photo)

Last March, the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposed a roadmap agreement to the Sudanese government and some opposition groups including the National Umma Party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /North, Justice and Equality Movement, and Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi.

However, only Khartoum government signed the framework text while the four groups declined the text, saying the Roadmap would reproduce the regime.

Following a meeting in Addis Ababa with Booth on 18 June, the opposition groups said they would hand over a supplemental document to Mbeki and vowed to reconsider their rejection of the Roadmap if he accepts it to ensure that the Roadmap becomes a gateway to an equal, serious and fruitful dialogue.

On 19 June, the leader of the National Umma Party, Sadiq al-Mahdi - acting on behalf of the Sudan Call forces - sent a letter to Mbeki and attached with it ’A Proposal to Break the Impasse on the Roadmap Agreement’.

In his reply to the opposition groups on 20 June, the chief mediator said in his quality as facilitator he cannot hold such negotiations with any of the Sudanese parties, pointing that he forwarded the proposal to the Sudanese government and requested its response.

Following his meeting with the U.S. Envoy on Wednesday, Sudanese presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said the government welcomes anybody who signs the Roadmap, pointing that the peace plan is not an agreement but rather a map to draw the road for peace and to show that differences could be resolved by peaceful means and not war.

He said that all national issues must be discussed in a comprehensive national dialogue involving all Sudanese parties.

“As soon as [the opposition signs] the Roadmap we would sit to discuss the cessation of hostilities and the ceasefire which means the beginning of a real peace and then we would sit to complete the Two Areas talks and the framework agreement which we agreed on 90% of [its items] and that is a very short path to peace,” he said.

South Kordofan and neighbouring Blue Nile states have been the scene of violent conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) and Sudanese army since 2011.

Last December, negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLM-N stalled after the government delegation insisted that the objective of talks is to settle the conflict in the Two Areas, while the SPLM-N team has called for a holistic approach to resolve ongoing conflicts across Sudan.

Mahmoud pointed that the second part of the Roadmap calls for holding a meeting between the dialogue committee known as 7+7 and the Sudan Call to begin the national dialogue process.

He stressed that the presence of the opposition in the meetings after the dialogue general assembly is crucial because it represent the true dialogue phase, saying the national document would be approved after the general assembly.

The presidential aide added the general assembly would not discuss all dialogue’s recommendations, saying the real work on the permanent constitution would be carried out by committees involving all political forces.

“And that is why we consider the presence of the opposition in the dialogue is important and needed,” he said.

“That is what we have conveyed to the American envoy and we expect the opposition to sign the Roadmap because last time they asked for some clarifications and after they received the answers for those clarifications they have no choice but to sign [the Roadmap] this time,” he added.

“The situation became clear and they must sign, and if they have [further] issues they must discuss them in the meetings of the national dialogue,” further said Mahmoud.

The presidential assistant underscored that the war in the Two Areas would be stopped by completing the framework agreement that has been signed during the latest round of talks in Addis Ababa while the war in Darfur would be stopped through the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

He renewed the government refusal for the opposition’s supplemental agreement, saying the Roadmap doesn’t need any additions because it is a mere map to draw the road for peace and not an agreement.

“It is a map for a peaceful solution, and the peaceful solution begins by the cessation of hostilities and the ceasefire through the framework agreement and then sitting at the national dialogue to discuss the political issues,” he said.

Mahmoud pointed to the favorable opportunity to achieve peace, stressing they wouldn’t wait for the opposition and that the dialogue general assembly will be held on August 6th.

For his part, the US Envoy said he discussed with Mahmoud ways forward on the implementation of the Roadmap besides the comprehensive national dialogue and the peace talks on Darfur and the Two Areas.

The visiting American diplomat expressed optimism about completing the peace process in Sudan, expecting that the opposition forces would soon accept the Roadmap.

Booth further pledged to exert every possible efforts and pressures to convince the opposition to sign the peace plan.

(ST)

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