December 9, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) Friday said it wouldn’t participate in the opposition forces’ workshop organized by the Carter Center in Nairobi to discuss peace in Sudan.
- SPLM-N leader Malik Agar (C) his deputy Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (L) and SG Yasir Arman pose for a picture in undisclosed location in the rebel controlled areas in March 2014 (AFP/Getty Photo)
The Carter Center, on Wednesday, said a delegation of experts would conduct meetings to explore ways to bring peace in Sudan, pointing the meetings “are not part of the official mediation that the African Union is conducting, but rather supplemental, exploratory gatherings designed to begin to identify points of common ground among all key Sudanese parties”.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, SPLM-N peace file spokesperson Mubarak Ardol said they apologized for not attending the Carter Center workshop for the opposition forces in Nairobi, pointing they thanked them for extending the invitation.
“There are several reasons why we apologized for not attending the workshop including the government’s continued use of food as weapon and refusal to open humanitarian corridors besides targeting of the Two Areas residents on racial bases and the ongoing aerial and artillery bombing of civilians,” read the statement .
“Also, SPLM-N leadership has decided to stop all political contacts with the regime and to give humanitarian issues priority over political issues,” it added.
South Kordofan and neighbouring Blue Nile states, also known as the “Two Areas” have been the scene of violent conflict between the SPLM-N and Sudanese army since 2011.
The African Union has been seeking to end the conflict for several years. However since last August the peace talks are deadlocked over cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access deals.
Ardol further added that among the reasons why they apologized for not attending the proposed workshop is their demand to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use by the Sudanese army in Darfur, saying there are signs that it might have also been used in the Two Areas.
Last September, Amnesty International reported that over 200 people had been killed in Darfur Jebel Marra area by banned chemical weapons since January 2016. But the government denied the claims.
Ardol also pointed to the mass detentions of political leaders and activists and recent crackdown on press freedoms, saying this “atmosphere is not conducive for dialogue”.
He underscored SPLM-N’s support for the December 19th civil disobedience call and urged opposition forces to play an active role in the event.