April 1, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC), which leads a rift in the SPLM-N, Saturday said the group decided in their recent meetings to freeze negotiations for peace in Sudan until the settlement of internal divisions.
The announcement comes in less than 24 hours after a communiqué by the SPLM-N leadership announcing the end of five-day meetings in the Nuba Mountains to settle an internal rift following the resignation of the SPLM-N Deputy Chairman Abdel Aziz al-Hilu.
In a statement signed by the NMLC Deputy Chairman Najla Abdel-Wahid, the South Kordofan body called its decisions of 25 March to dissolve the SPLM-N general secretariat and to sack Arman from his position as the chief negotiator of the group.
It further pointed to the two extraordinary meetings held with the "delegation of the SPLM-N Chairman" who was accompanied by "Lt Gen Yasir Arman" and two members of the National leadership Council joined by the "SPLA-N Chief of Staff" and his the "Deputy Chief of Staff Izat Koko Angelo".
Abdel Wahid said the parties agreed that the presence of Abdel Aziz al-Hilu is needed to settle the problem.
The participant agreed to freeze the negotiations until the end of the ongoing process to reorganise the structures of the Movement through an Extraordinary National Conference. Therefore, we are not concerned about any negotiation or agreement signed before the conference, the statement concluded.
On Friday the SPLM-N leadership issued a statement saying the internal feuding has been overcome.
"The meetings emphasised its commitment to the SPLM-N unity, reiterated its adherence to its political line, its alliances with the opposition forces and their negotiating positions and institutions, including its negotiating delegation and its vision of the New Sudan".
Observers agree that the main armed opposition group is on the brink of a split that no one can determine its dimension within the group or its impact on the ongoing efforts to end the war in Sudan.
They underline that Abdel Wahid in her statement didn’t mention the name of the SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar but just his position, the same for the chief of staff Jacob Mekouar, while it referred to Arman only by his military rank.
Unconfirmed reports say Agar and Mekouar backed Arman’s continuation in his positions as secretary-general and chief negotiator until the extraordinary general conference but the NMLC refused their demand.
The SPLM-N leadership, on Friday, pledged to issue a detailed statement on the outcome of its meetings in the Nuba Mountains.
In Khartoum, Sudanese officials say the rift within the armed group would impact negatively on the negotiating process and would delay it.
Also, they point to Juba saying the ruling SPLM is supporting calls for self-determination among the Nuba. But sources close to the NMLC minimise the importance of this demand saying it is only a negotiating position to get self-rule for the region.