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Sudan negotiating delegations accuse each other of attempting to torpedo peace talks

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SPLM-N negotiating team meet withthe AUHIP ahead of direct talks withthe government on 9 August 2016 (Courtesy Photo of SPLM-N)

August 11, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - Sudanese government and SPLM-N traded accusations over alleged attempt to collapse the peace talks as they failed for the second day to agree on the agenda of the humanitarian access and the cessations of hostilities in the Two Areas.

Following the signing of the Roadmap Agreement by the opposition groups on Monday, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N negotiating delegations agreed in a consultation meeting held on Tuesday 9 August to resume talks based on a draft framework agreement they had endorsed 80% of its elements during the previous rounds in the past three years.

In accordance with the draft framework agreement, the parties would discuss first ways to open humanitarian corridors to reach civilians in the war affected areas of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

However on Wednesday, the government said the security arrangement should top the agenda of cessation of hostilities talks, pointing that in line with the Roadmap Agreement the national dialogue is one of the items of the peace process together cessation of hostilities and the humanitarian access. But the SPLM-N objected saying the priority is for the humanitarian access to the civilians in the conflict zones as it was agreed previously.

In a statement released on Thursday, SPLM-N Negotiating Team Spokesperson Mubarak Ardol said the government delegation backtracked from the framework agreement and walked outof the negotiating table.

Ardol further said the deputy head of the Sudanese government negotiating team Emad Adawi instructed the delegation to withdraw from the meetings , "causing the collapse of the negotiations".

"We hold the government and its delegation responsible for this irresponsible behaviour, " he further said.

The two parties Wednesday formed a committee tasked with the reconciliation of the two texts. But seemingly they failed to reach a compromise.

Sudanese Government Delegation Spokesperson Hassan Hamid denied the "irresponsible statements" of the SPLM-N spokesperson and accused him to "seeking to torpedo the negotiations ".

"Ardol falsely spoke about the withdrawal of our delegation. Now, I came out from inside the negotiating room to refute his statement," Hamid said. he further added that negotiations are now under way and the two delegations are inside the room".

The government spokesperson went further to accuse the SPLM-N of backtracking of the agreement to reconcile the two texts.He further insisted that "the draft framework agreement is not compulsory".

The two delegations are expected to resume meetings on Friday.

Sources in the venue of the talks say the Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki intervened and prevented the failure of the talks.

Discussion of Darfur conflict didn’t commence on Thursday as scheduled. The difficulty to determine the areas where the rebels have fighters reportedly is one of the reasons behind the delay.

(ST)

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