August 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Ahead of discussions on the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access in the Two Areas, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) Tuesday expressed readiness for a one-year truce and the delivery of humanitarian assistance from inside and outside Sudan.
- SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman (Photo: Reuters)
The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) with the participation of UN Special Envoy Nicholas Haysom held consultations meetings with the Sudanese government and SPLM-N delegations as they plan to start direct talks on Wednesday.
Speaking in a press conference held after the meeting, SPLM-N Secretary General and Chief Negotiator Yasir Arman expressed hopes that the government would not come with its previous proposals on the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access, saying it would not help to achieve peace.
"We are ready to reach a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible, and for a year," Arman said. He further declared readiness to accept a humanitarian corridor from inside Sudan beside others from outside the country for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the conflict-affected civilians in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
Also, he stressed that the SPLM-N would not sign a cessation of hostilities agreement without the armed groups in Darfur region.
The Sudanese government during the past rounds of talks with the SPLM-N rejected their demand to transport the humanitarian aid through South Sudan and Ethiopia.
"We have agreed to resume negotiations on Wednesday, based on a document that has been discussed in the 11th round, in addition to the topics contained in the Roadmap Agreement," said the Spokesperson of Sudanese Government Negotiating Delegation Hussein Hamdi in a press statement after the meeting.
Hamdi added they agreed with the mediation to set a timetable for the stages of negotiations, and another timetable for the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian aid.
Regarding the final security arrangements, Arman said they would not accept to disarm their forces during the transitional period and before the full implementation of the signed agreements.
"The National Congress Party (NCP) is the largest armed party in the Sudan . Now It monopolizes weapons and has more than a dozen of militias. Also it took over the national army and security apparatus, and even the police now has an Emir. However, the NCP wants to confiscate our weapons and keep their arms," he said.
"We will not accept this (....) We are with one professional army for all the Sudanese. When we lay down our weapons the NCP must also put down their weapon," emphasized the SPLM-N secretary general.
He went to propose a unified command for the SPLA-N and the Sudanese government army during the implementation of the peace agreement. "After what all the militias be dismantled and a new professional and national army be built for all the Sudan".
SELF GOVERNANCE FOR THE TWO AREAS
Arman also reiterated the SPLM-N position on the need to reshape the whole Sudanese state and reorganize the relation between the centre and the regions.
He strongly denied that their demand for self governance in the Two Areas aims to demand self-determination for the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
"The problem is not in the Two Areas or Darfur region but it is in Khartoum," he said.
"We do not demand the right of self-determination or separation of the Two Areas, but we demand that the people of the Two Areas govern themselves .. We do not have an ethnic project, we do not want to build a future for the Nuba away from the Misseriya, Hawazma or Falata in South Kordofan .. The future is for all the tribes in the Two Areas and this is our vision."
The Sudanese government has refused the SPLM-N call for self governance in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states saying after the separation of South Sudan five years ago the rebel group is no working to dismantle other parts of the Sudanese state.
The mediation said the talks on the cessation of hostilities and the humanitarian access would last for two days.
The Sudanese opposition groups Tuesday held a meeting where the participants were briefed on the consultations meetings with the AUHIP mediators.
The meeting was addressed by the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi, Yasir Arman, Sudan Liberation Movement leader Minni Minnawi, and the leader of Future Forces of Change (FFC) Salah al-Din al-Attabani. They all called for the unity of the opposition in the talks with the government.
During his press conference, Arman said they would not join alone the national dialogue process held in Khartoum, stressing they stick to a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue. He further said that their negotiating delegation will include members of the Sudan Call groups and they will coordinate with the FFC. He added they will also dialogue with the Sudanese Communist Party and the SLM-AW of Abdel Wahad al-Nur, both are boycotting the peace negotiations.
Regarding the expected return of NUP leader to Sudan, he said they prefer that al-Mahdi goes to Khartoum after the restoration of freedoms in Sudan. He added that they fear that under the current conditions the government prevents him from taking part in in the Sudan Call meetings outside Sudan.