August 2, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Salih has called on the residents of South Kordofan state to engage in contacts with the rebels to convince them to join the peace process.
- SPLA-N rebel soldiers train in South Kordofan on April 25. 2012 (Reuters)
The Sudanese army has been fighting Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011.
Salih, who addressed a crowed in South Kordofan’s town of Diling Tuesday, called upon rebels to lay down their arms, saying that Sudan “is wide enough to accommodate all of us”.
He pointed that war has hindered development in the state, saying the Roadmap Agreement proposed by the African Union would resolve all Sudan’s problem.
The Vice-President added that the national dialogue would end last next month, expressing hope that holdout opposition and the arms bearers would join the process.
He called upon the residents to grow every single inch of the land in the state, saying “he who produces his food would be able determine his own fate”.
For his part, South Kordofan governor Issa Adam Abakar said the state authorities allow rebels to watch football games in Kadougli, pointing also some residents visit their relatives in the rebel-held areas.
He stressed they would welcome the return of any rebel without accountability, saying more than 450 soldiers and officers have returned during the past period.
In June, Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir declared a four-month unilateral cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas, saying it came as goodwill gesture to give an opportunity for the rebels to lay down arms and to join the peace process in Sudan.
However, SPLM-N has brushed off al-Bashir’s announcement as “merely a ploy”, saying he seeks to buy time to reorganize his troops in the Two Areas.
Last December, negotiations between Khartoum 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.