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Peace talks on Darfur and Two Areas set to resume next week: AU

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August 2, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Head of the African Union Office in Khartoum, Mahmoud Kan, revealed that the African mediation will meet with the opposition umbrella Sudan Call in Addis Ababa next week saying peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel groups on Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile would be resumed subsequently.

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Mbeki speaks to participants at the inaugral session of Strategic Consultations Meeting in Addis Ababa on 18 March 2016 (AUHIP Photo)

On Tuesday, Kan officially conveyed to Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Naem acceptance of the Sudan Call leaders to sign the Roadmap on August 8th and to participate in the peace talks on Darfur and the Two Areas.

In press statements following the meeting, Kan said the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) chief Thabo Mbeki has extended an invitation to the Sudanese government and the Sudan Call forces to participate in the Addis Ababa meeting from 8 to 11 August.

He pointed that the AUHIP would meet with the Sudan Call forces on August 8th to sign the Roadmap Agreement, saying talks on the cessation of hostilities and the humanitarian assistance would take place from 9 to 11 August.

Last March, the AUHIP proposed a Roadmap Agreement to the Sudanese government and some Sudan Call groups including the National Umma Party (NUP), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM).

However, only Khartoum government signed the text while the four groups declined the text saying it would reproduce the regime. They later proposed a supplemental text to the peace plan including their demands.

For his part, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said that Kan has briefed al-Naem of the outcome of the AUHIP chief contacts with the Sudan Call leaders, saying the latter have agreed to come to Addis Ababa to sign the Roadmap and then resume peace talks on Darfur and the Two Areas.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

According to Khidir, Mbeki has expressed optimism on the upcoming developments which would speed up the political settlement in Sudan.

Also, following a meeting of the Leadership Council of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Monday, NCP deputy chairman and presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid told reporters that a government delegation would travel to Addis Ababa from 9 to 10 August upon an invitation from the AUHIP.

He pointed to what he described as “positive signals” that the opposition would sign the Roadmap, saying the AUHIP would meet with the Sudan Call leaders on August 8th.

On Saturday, leader of the NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said Mbeki will meet the Sudan call forces on the 7th of August in Addis Ababa to discuss the Roadmap.

From 18 to 22 July, the Sudan Call forces tasked al-Mahdi to write a letter to Mbeki demanding to meet him in order to discuss their reservations on the Roadmap Agreement before its eventual signing.

According to the opposition umbrella, the chief mediator in a letter he sent on 23 June had explained that their demands for an inclusive national dialogue preparatory meeting and additional confidence building measures will be taken into account.

(ST)

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