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Sudan government says rebels are not serious about peace

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August 15, 2016 (KHARTOUM). Sudanese government on Monday said that armed groups have only signed the Roadmap Agreement to avoid international pressure, claiming they bear the prime responsibility for the collapse of the 12th round of peace talks.

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Presidential Assistant, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid (SUNA Photo)

On Sunday, Sudanese government and rebels have failed to reach a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, following what the African Union mediation decided to suspend the talks indefinitely.

In a press conference held at Khartoum airport upon his return from Addis Ababa, the government chief negotiator for the talks on the Two Areas, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, said they went to the negotiations with a strong political will and determined to make progress in the road to peace and national dialogue, citin the government approval of the Roadmap Agreement since five month ago

Hamid reiterated the government’s commitment to the unilateral cessation of hostilities announced earlier by President Omer al Bashir, adding that it was willing to translate the declaration into a written agreement, “however the (SPLM-) does not want to have a binding agreement,” he stressed.

He accused SPLM-N of trying to drag out peace talks, saying “the rebel chief negotiator Yasir Arman even before the start of negotiations held a press conference where he charged the government and kept issuing statements before the end of the talks to poison the atmosphere and create unconducive environment”.

The government’s top negotiator said the SPLM-N delegation focused on the transportation of the humanitarian assistance from Lokichoggio, in northern Kenya, Juba in South Sudan and Asosa in Western Ethiopia. "These are impossible conditions intended to thwart the negotiations,” he added.

On the other hand, “The government proposed that the humanitarian aid arrives to Kadugli and Damazain airports to be checked by Sudanese authorities before to distribute it to the needy in the war affected areas,” he said. The SPLM-N refused the proposal arguing they “do not trust the government,” he added.

He also said they proposed to form a committee including the United Naions and African Union besides the two parties to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to civilians in the affected areas. But, the SPLM-N didn’t want to discuss the matter and called to postpone the issue to the next round of talks, he said..

Hamid said the SPLM-N’s refusal proofs that it has a previous agreement with Darfur groups to sign the Roadmap Agreement without implementing its terms, stressing that SPLM-N raised 13 new points during the 12th round of talks.

"My message to the Sudanese people that they do not want peace, but circumvent the (international) pressure on them by signing the Roadmap," he said.

In a press conference on Sunday in Addis Ababa, SPLM-N Chief negotiator Yasir Arman said the Sudanese government has missed “the greatest opportunity” to achieve peace, holding it responsible for the collapse of this round of talks.

The SPLM-N said the government wanted to prioritize the discussion of the security arrangements at the negotiation table while it had previously agreed to focus on the humanitarian access.

Also, when the discussions came to the humanitarian issue, the parties stuck to their position on from where the humanitarian relief should be transported to the affected areas.

On this respect, Arman said the government didn’t make any concessions despite the huge efforts exerted by the Chief Mediator Mbeki.

He pointed that during the past four years the government continued to say that it would only allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid from inside Sudan, while the SPLM-N made some concessions and calls now for mixed tracks.

“SPLM-N delegation conceded and accepted mixed tracks from inside Sudan and abroad, we accepted that 80% of the relief comes through Khartoum and 20% from outside. We also gave another concession by determining [the type of assistance] needed from inside and abroad,” he said.

The parties are supposed to sign a humanitarian truce in the Two Areas and Darfur. The agreement would be followed by strategic meeting between the opposition groups and government ad national dialogue committee to discuss additional confidence building measures before to return to the country for an inclusive constitutional conference.

Also, the peace talks on Darfur region, with the Justice and Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi have been suspended. The parties failed to agree on how to determine the sites of the rebel fighters.

Last week, U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth the strategic meeting would be held within three months. But mediation adjourned the talks sine die, and it is not clear when the parties would resume negotiations.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since 2011 and the armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

(ST)

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