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Government, SPLM-N end informal talks in Addis Ababa without agreement

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October 2, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) Sunday wrapped up informal consultations meeting in Addis Ababa without any breakthrough on the humanitarian access file.

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SPLM-N Yasir Arman (L) in a private discussion on the contentious issues with government chief negotiators Amin Hassan Omer (R) and Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid at the venue of the talks in Addis Ababa,on November 22, 2015 (ST Photo)

Last August, the government and rebels in the Two Areas finalized a draft cessation of hostilities agreement but failed to agree on the humanitarian access as Khartoum refuses SPLM-N demand to deliver 20% of the aid through the Ethiopian town of Assossa on the Sudanese border.

The meeting, which was brokered by the Ugandan government in support of the African mediation team led by President Thabo Mbeki, raised hope that the involvement of President Museveni in Sudan’s peace talks may help to narrow the gaps.

However the two negotiating teams on Sunday evening issued statements accusing each other of lacking seriousness to end the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and said they are sticking to their previous positions.

In a press statement issued after the meeting, the government delegation headed by the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam, said they put forward new initiative to deliver humanitarian aid in the rebel controlled areas.

The statement said that Khartoum purpose of the initiative is "to break the deadlock that characterized previous negotiations."

The new initiative calls for the formation of a joint mechanism involving the government, the SPLM-N, the United Nations, the African Union and representatives of national and international aid groups.

The proposed joint mechanism will assess the needs, and develop plans for humanitarian interventions. Also, the initiative will adopt a fast-track policy to accelerate and facilitate the access of humanitarian aid to the needy in the affected areas."

In return, the SPLM-N said the consultations were a failure, and blamed Khartoum for only sending "unmandated delegation" because it has no intention to make any concessions, while the movement had made several concessions in the past rounds.

The SPLM-N further said they stick to their demand for a humanitarian corridor through Assossa to deliver 20% of the humanitarian aid to the rebel controlled areas. It further said the new initiative is an attempt to mask its rejection of Assoss crossing point.

Last June, Sudanese rebel groups called on President Museveni to participate in the ongoing efforts to bring peace in Sudan. Following, what he met with delegations from the Sudanese government, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), and SPLM-N.

Museveni who reconciled with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir agreed with the two parties to organize informal talks in Addis Ababa to support the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in its efforts for a comprehensive peace and democratic reforms in Sudan.

The government accused the SPLM-N of seeking to distract attention from its intransigent positions through accusations and false allegations. Khartoum further said the SPLM-N behaviour reinforces its doubts about rebels’ intention to use the aid for "non-humanitarian purposes".

The SPLM-N pointed to the recent accusations by Amnesty International about the use of chemical weapons in Darfur and the Two Areas, and underlined that consultations are underway within the rebel group on the "cessation of contacts" with the government until the investigations over this claims.

JEM and SLM-MM are also holding talks with a government delegation in Addis Ababa but none of the parties issued any statement until Sunday evening.

(ST)

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