August 10, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - Sudan’s delegation for the Two Areas talks has fiercely criticized Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) Secretary General and Chief Negotiator Yassir Arman and described him as “dissonant voice” among rebels.
Speaking in a press conference at the negotiation venue in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, spokesperson for the government team Hassan Hamid has held Arman responsible for prolonging the war in the Two Areas.
On Tuesday, Arman said they are ready to reach a one-year truce , declaring 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.
Hamid stressed the government delegation is keen to reach a just peace on the basis of the Roadmap Agreement and according to a binding timetable, saying they look forward to seeing practical procedures with regard to that timetable.
For his part, the representative of the Sudanese army Mustafa Mohamed Mustafa said Arman’s proposal of one-year cessation of hostilities is impractical and doesn’t lead to a political or military solution, pointing to several SPLM-N violations of the ceasefire.
He added that SPLM-N has attacked several military camps belonging to the Sudanese army, stressing their commitment to the unilateral four-month ceasefire declared by President Omer al-Bashir last June.
For his part, the humanitarian aid commissioner and member of the government team Ahmed Adam said Arman’s statements on the humanitarian situation in the Two Areas contained multiple fallacies, holding the SPLM-N responsible for the humanitarian conditions in areas under its control particularly after it refused the tripartite initiative.
He accused Arman of using the humanitarian issues as a pretext to deliver assistance without reaching a comprehensive solution, casting doubts on the numbers of the affected population as presented by the SPLM-N.
Adam underscored that the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan is stable as acknowledged by the United Nations, pointing they also carried out surveys in the Blue Nile and ready to implement their initiative to immunize children in rebel-held areas without conditions.
He dismissed as untrue Arman claim that the government has isolated the Two Areas, pointing that 9 UN agencies and 8 foreign aid groups besides several national groups are operating in the Blue Nile and South Korodfan.
Meanwhile, member of the government delegation Bishara Aror pointed that Arman’s view doesn’t represent the stance of the SPLM-N, saying some elements within the rebel movement don’t seek to achieve peace.
Also, government team member Hussein Karshoum said Arman’s statements don’t reflect the spirit expressed by SPLM-N following signing of Roadmap, stressing the need to immediately implement timetables pertaining to the security arrangements, cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access.
He described this round of talks as crucial, saying the SPLM-N would lose confidence of the stakeholders if it continued to take intransigent positions during negotiations.
Karshoum added that internal and external indicators point that Sudan is heading towards a new phase, pointing to rapid moves to achieve peace through dialogue.
South Kordofan and neighbouring Blue Nile state have been the scene of violent conflict between the 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.