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Civil society activists call to establish political track for Eastern Sudan

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October 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Eastern Sudan civil society groups have called for the creation of a new track for peace talks to address the crisis of their poor region which suffers from underdevelopment and marginalisation.

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Refugee girls play during a visit by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to the Shagarab Eritrean Refugees camp at Kassala in East Sudan January 12, 2012. (Reuters)

Groups from eastern Sudan three states gathered in Nairobi between 24 to 26 October in workshop sponsored by the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) to ’’identify a shared vision (...) that would enhance their collaboration "to achieve positive political and societal change both for the region and at the national level".

The meeting which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the signature of the East Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) agreed that the deal has failed to solve Eastern Sudan’s complex crisis.

"Vital questions of power sharing and the relationship with the centre were reduced to individualist trading over government positions," said a statement issued by SDFG at the end of the meeting.

"Participants therefore called for the creation of a new negotiating platform which would address Eastern Sudan as part of a comprehensive approach to Sudan’s multiple crises," further announced the statement.

They further said that this track should propose a system of governance for the region "determining the relation with the centre, and enhancing political participation"

Also, the ’Nairobi Declaration for Change in Eastern Sudan’ endorsed by the participants identified objectives and a work program for the platform, alongside strategies for achieving political, societal and popular support for the initiative.

"This would include seeking political guarantees from, and opportunities for collaboration with, other agents for positive change in Sudan, and within the international and regional community more broadly," the statement said.

Last September, the opposition United People’s Front for Liberation and Justice (UPFLJ), a group from eastern Sudan called on the African Union mediation to open a new peace track for the Eastern Sudan region.

The UPFLJ, which is part of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Malik Agar, urged the African Union mediation "play a positive role in the establishment of a platform to discuss issues of eastern Sudan on the basis of its mandate to broker a comprehensive and inclusive peace process in Sudan.

The African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) is brokering a peace process with two tracks one for Darfur and the other for the Two Areas. This process also provides to hold national constitutional conference with the participation of all the political forces in Sudan.

Eastern Sudan civil society groups who have called to involve them in such political platform said they established to working group to "raise awareness of the need for their full involvement in the process of stability and change in the region and nationally".

(ST)

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