By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 12, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Direct peace talks between Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) didn’t gain any major progress as ongoing negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, entered a third day.
- Spokesperson of Government negotiating delegation, Amb Hassan Hamid briefs reporters on the talks on 12 August 2016 (ST Photo)
Negotiations resumed Friday per agreements between the two sides Thursday to return to the negotiating table on the next day.
Talks between the two sides edged to collapse after disagreement on order of priorities for the talks on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access, leading to exchanging blame one against the other of trying to torpedo the AU-brokered talks.
On Friday morning the two sides engaged in the second stage of negotiations, which calls for the parties to bring their new proposals.
Ahead of submission, the two sides reviewed the draft frame agreement of the cessation of hostilities which leads to permanent ceasefire in the two areas and the comprehensive political settlement.
“Today the two delegations submitted two proposals to the mediation and we reviewed the proposals for a while,” Sudan government delegation’s spokesperson, Hassan Hamid told Sudan Tribune after a press briefing he held in Arabic.
Hamid said both sides have agreed that each delegation should nominate a representative in a one-plus-one format.
After the agreement, the mediation suspended the talks for the day in a bid to allow both sides engage in internal consultations.
But it is not yet clear if talks would resume tomorrow, as it was rumoured in the venue of the talks that the mediation will suspend the talks on Saturday.
The one-to-one format, Hamed said, will seat to further discuss the accommodation of the two proposals within the draft frame work.
Despite the little progress, there is a large gap between the two negotiating parties particularly with regard to the issue of humanitarian access.
Sudan Tribune has learnt that the two sides have maintained their initial positions on the humanitarian issues, making it difficult to reach an agreement on cessation of hostilities.
The SPLM-N is insisting on allowing humanitarian corridor from foreign countries in the region, a demand the government rejects totally.
The government instead says it want the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Two Areas, be conducted from inside the country and the involvement of the official aid agency in the operation.
“This [SPLM-N demand] we can’t accept it. It is a redline for us. We are a sovereign nation” Hamid told Sudan Tribune.
He further accused the SPLM-N delegation of making the process difficult for the mediation.
“But we are here to make deal and conclude the cessation of hostilities today before tomorrow which would lead us to a permanent ceasefire and enable us to deliver humanitarian assistance”
“We are waiting for the other party to be more flexible and to help us make the mediation easier” Hamid said, adding “That is the only way to achieve a lasting solution in the Two Areas”
The government officials has also accused the opposition group of labelling the humanitarian situation in the country to a level of crisis.
They said SPLM-N is releasing “unfounded” statistics on the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance.