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British Foreign Office official meets SLM-Minnawi rebels

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October 26, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - A delegation from the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi has discussed with Sudan’s unit official at the British Foreign Office Rebecca Diki the latest political and humanitarian developments in Sudan.

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Sudanese former rebel Minni Minnawi, the head of the only Darfur rebel faction to have made peace with Khartoum, speaks during a Sudanese peace conference in Khartoum (AFP)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, the SLM-MM information secretary Ahmed Idris Nouk said the delegation asked the United Kingdom to follow the example of France and call for a transparent investigation on chemical weapons use by the Sudanese army in Darfur.

“The British foreign office understood SLM-MM position and they are waiting for more details on the issue,” read the statement.

Last month, Amnesty International accused the Sudanese government forces of using chemical weapons repeatedly against civilians in Darfur over the past eight months, saying chemical attacks are believed to have killed up to 250 people.

However, Khartoum dismissed as “fabricated and unfounded accusations” Amnesty’s allegations saying it aims to obstruct “the pioneering efforts” to achieve peace and stability and to promote reconciliation in Sudan.

He pointed that the delegation told the British official that the internal dialogue has brought nothing new, demanding the UK to support the Sudanese people demands for a genuine peace and democratic transformation.

Earlier this month, the political forces participating at the national dialogue concluded the process by signing the national document which includes the general features of a future constitution to be finalized by transitional institutions.

The opposition groups boycotted the process because the government didn’t agree on humanitarian truce with the armed groups and due to its refusal to implement a number of confidence building measures.

Nouk added that the delegation warned against government plan to bring new settlers from neighbouring countries to replace the original residents in Darfur, pointing to the recent declaration of the Shattiya tribe administration in Kulgi area.

“This area belongs to a group of tribes that don’t include the Shattiya tribe,” he said

He pointed that the government seeks to grant the land for the new settlers from its allied militias in return for their fighting alongside the army in Darfur’s conflict, saying the move reflects the strategic alliance between the government and its allies.

The Sudanese army and its allied militias have been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

The statement further pointed to what was described as the strategic dialogue between the Sudanese government and the UK, warning against strengthening ties with the regime that sponsors terrorism and kills and oppresses its people.

It’s worth noting that the strategic consultations meetings between Sudan and UK started in March in Sudanese capital, Khartoum and considered the first talks of its kind at this level in 25 years.

The two countries agreed to exchange of visits at the level of senior officials from both sides along with increasing cooperation in the fields of economy, investment and culture.

During his first visit to Khartoum last September, UK Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan, Christopher Trott expressed his optimism about the relations between Khartoum and London and expressed hope to strengthening contacts between Sudanese and British peoples.

Earlier this month, the second session’s meeting on the strategic dialogue between the two sides was held in London.

(ST)

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