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African envoy welcomes Mahdi’s initiative to break deadlock on humanitarian talks

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August 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM).The African Union envoy to Sudan on Tuesday welcomed the initiative of the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi to end the deadlock of peace talks between Sudanese government and armed groups over humanitarian truce.

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AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki (R) meets opposition NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi on June 2, 2016 (Courtesy photo of NUP)

Last week the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) suspended the two tracks of talks on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements after the failure of six-day meetings to strike a deal over the two matters

The Head of the African Union Office in Khartoum, Mahmoud Kan said the regional body has welcomed the initiative of Sadiq al-Mahdi to end deadlock of peace talks between Sudanese government and rebel groups. He further said that the mediation is in consultation with the Sudanese parties to reach agreements on the cessation of hostilities and the humanitarian access.

“Sadiq al-Mahdi is an important part and can play a vital role in solving the pending issues,” said Kan in statements to the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday.

On Monday, the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi announced that he would submit an initiative to the AUHIP in a bid to break deadlock of talks, pointing that the initiative would help creating agreement.

However the NUP leader didn’t give the elements of his proposals.

Al-Mahdi, who is residing in Cairo since two years ago, cosigned the Roadmap Agreement with the SPLM-N, JEM and SLM-MM. However, would only participate in the process with other opposition groups, after the signing of the agreements on the humanitarian truce.

The talks are expected to resume during the first two weeks of September, but Kan pointed that AUHIP did not yet fix a date for the next round of talks between government and rebels groups yet.

After the failure of the talks the government and armed groups accuse each other of lacking seriousness to reach a peace deal.

In a related development, Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid Tuesday met the acting U.S chargé de Affairs in Khartoum Ambassador Stephen Kontess and briefed him on the outcome of the recent peace talks in Addis Ababa from 9 to 14 August.

In statements to media after the meeting, the U.S diplomat said he discussed with Hamid the bilateral relations, the situation in the Two Areas and Darfur. Also, he reiterated his government readiness to back the African Union-led efforts to achieve peace in Sudan.

“U.S government is ready to help the parties to reach peace agreement,” he said.

Sudanese Vice President, Hasabo Abdel Rhaman, renewed his government’s rejection of the SPLM-N’s demand to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance directly to the rebel controlled areas in the Blue Nile State.

Abdel Rahman stressed that the relief should pass through the regular government procedures.

The government says no aid can reach the rebel areas without being inspected, hinting the SPLM-N could seek to use such channel to deliver weapons to their fighters there.

(ST)

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