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SPLM-N sticks to humanitarian access before political negotiations

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December 22, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan people’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) Thursday said they would not accept to resume peace talks before a truce allowing to reach civilians in the conflict affected areas.

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SPLM-N negotiating team spokesperson Mubarak Ardol (Courtesy photo of SPLM-N)

Thabo Mbeki, African Union chief mediator for peace in Sudan, was in Khartoum Wednesday to discuss the resumption of negotiations between the government and the armed groups in the Two Areas and Darfur.

Before to leave the Sudanese capital he said he would reach the SPLM-N, JEM and SLM-MM to consider ways to return to the negotiating table.

The talks have been suspended since last August but the facilitators held multiple meetings with the opposition groups and the government.

"The government bears the responsibility for the failure of peace process" but not Mbeki who refused to attend the dialogue conference last October, said Mubarak Ardol , SPLM-N negotiating delegation spokesperson.

He further accused the government of intentionally destroying the Roadmap Agreement after the adoption of the recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference and the filing of constitutional reforms to the parliament before to form a transitional government.

"The question that requires a decisive answer from President Mbeki is, on what basis will any new political process will be held as the joint document (the road map) has been blown up? And on what basis negotiations on the political process will be called?," he said.

He emphasized the SPLM-N will not engage in any political process while the government continues to bomb civilians, bans the humanitarian aid, rejects investigation on use of chemical weapons, and continues to detain opposition leaders.

"The priority for us in the SPLM is to stop air strikes on the civilian, the opening of humanitarian corridors, the cessation of hostilities and ensuring freedoms as a prelude to any serious and inclusive political process to resolve the Sudanese issue and reach new transitional arrangements," Ardol said.

Also, he underscored that President al-Bashir spoke to Mbeki about political freedoms in the country while political leaders of the Sudanese Congress Party, Sudanese Communist Party, National Umma Party, the SPLM-N, Ba’ath Party, Reform Now Movement, and civil society activists are held in prison.

SPLM-N officials say they have made many concessions to the government on the file of the humanitarian aid in order to conclude an agreement on this respect. They point that the government refuses to allow the transport of 20% of the humanitarian assistance through the Ethiopian border directly to their areas in the Blue Nile State, despite all the guarantees made by Addis Ababa it would not allow any transfer of weapons or ammunitions to the rebel fighters.

(ST)

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