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U.S. diplomat discusses peace talks in Khartoum

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Presidential Assistant and Top Negotiator Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid talks to the press in Khartoum on 15 August 2016 (ST Photo)

April 26, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The representative of the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Paul Steven, Wednesday has discussed with government officials and opposition parties issues of peace and the ongoing developments in the country.

The American diplomat discussed with the Sudanese presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid ways to support the comprehensive peace process and efforts of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) headed by Thabo Mbeki in this regard.

In press statements following the meeting, Steven expressed his appreciation for the progress made on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas due to the constructive dialogue between Sudan and the U.S.

He added the meeting discussed ways to promote human rights and freedoms situation in the country, pointing to his country’s desire to work with the Sudanese government on these issues.

Also, the American official discussed the current situation in the country with the leaders of the opposition umbrella Sudan Call.

Before to arrive in Khartoum, Steven held a series of talks in Addis Ababa with the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki and the SPLM-N leadership.

Washington is involved in a five-track engagement process with the Sudan over the permanent lift of sanctions on Sudan. Several agencies, including the State Department, have to present to President Donald Trump next June their findings and recommendations over the fate of the 20-year sanctions.

In a press release on Wednesday, Sudan Call said the meeting stressed the need to activate the Roadmap Agreement, pointing to the resumption of peace talks according to the roadmap requirements.

The government and the opposition alliance signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the AUHIP including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

The press release pointed out the internal Sudan Call groups discussed the U.S. proposal to deliver the humanitarian assistance with the alliance’s forces abroad, saying they will positively engage with the proposal in the upcoming meeting of the leadership Council of the Sudan Call.

It added the American official stressed the importance to coordinate efforts of the international community to support peace and democratic transformation in Sudan through contacts with all civil and political forces in the country.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

Talks between the two sides for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since last August. The SPLM-N demands to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.

But the government rejects the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

The SPLM-N last November declined an American proposal to transport humanitarian medical assistance directly to the civilians in the rebel-held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

(ST)

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