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Ghandour and Kerry discuss peace talks, Sudan-US relations

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August 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Wednesday discussed with the United States Secretary of State John Kerry bilateral relations between the two countries and recent developments in Sudan and the region.

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John Kerry (R) shakes hands with the Sudan’s FM Ibrahim Ghandour as they pose for photos at the Palace Hotel in New York, October 2, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Stephanie Keith)

The meeting, which took place in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, comes two days after the American top diplomat met with the five foreign ministers from the regional bloc IGAD to discuss the situation in South Sudan.

In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said Ghandour briefed Kerry on the progress of the national dialogue process, pointing to the participation of the political, societal and armed forces in order to reach national consensus that achieves security and stability in the country.

It added the meeting also discussed the outcome of the recent peace talks between the government and the opposition Sudan Call forces in Addis Ababa, pointing to the obstacles that hampered talks on Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

A six-day round of talks from 9 to 14 August between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) on the Two Areas had stalled over humanitarian access.

Also, the Sudanese government, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi failed to sign a cessation of hostilities in Darfur after the parties disagreed on how to determine the sites of the rebel fighters.

According to the press release, Ghandour stressed his government is determined to resume negotiations to reach a cessation of hostilities that paves the road to complete the national dialogue and achieve stability and national consensus.

It pointed that Kerry expressed his country’s keenness and support for the national dialogue, mentioning the importance of Sudan’s role in addressing regional issues.

On Tuesday, Sudan’s Presidential Assistant and head of government negotiating team for the Two Areas talks Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid briefed the acting U.S chargé de Affairs in Khartoum Ambassador Stephen Koutsis on the outcome of the recent round of peace talks

Following 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.

It is noteworthy that the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth has led the international efforts to convince the opposition to sign the Roadmap Agreement and engage in the peace talks with the government.

Washington imposed economic and trade sanctions on Sudan in 1997 in response to its alleged connection to terror networks and human rights abuses. In 2007 it strengthened the embargo, citing abuses in Darfur which it labelled as "genocide".

Also, Sudan has been on the US list of countries supporting terrorism since 1993, for allegedly providing support and safe haven for terrorist groups.

(ST)

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