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UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue should include peace and human rights: Arman

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SPLM-N leader Malik Agar and secretary general Yasir Arman in a meeting with the SPLM-N leadership in Nyba Mountains on 25 Marsh 2017 (ST photo)
August 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Secretary General of the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement North led by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) called on the British government to include issues of peace and human rights in the strategic dialogue with the Sudanese government.

According to a statement released Monday by the SPLM-B Agar Spokesperson Mubarak Ardol, Yasir Arman and the group’s representative in Britain Ali Abdel Latif met with the UK Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Chris Trott in London on Sunday.

Ardol said the SPLM-N Agar delegation discussed with the British diplomat the UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue process, peace, humanitarian and human rights situation in the east African country.

Arman discussed "the need to include issues of humanitarian aid, peace, human rights, religious freedoms and democratic transformation in the strategic dialogue between Khartoum and London and to link the strategic relations with these goals as it is requested by the British Parliament".

Arman was referring to a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan issued last February criticising the shift from the baton to carrot policy and stressing that UK policy in Sudan should be guided by the "Sudanese people’s pursuit of lasting peace, inclusive democracy, and shared economic prosperity".

Trott earlier this year visited Khartoum several times to discuss ways to develop bilateral relations not only to encourage Khartoum efforts to reduce the illegal immigration from the Horn of African countries towards Europe and Britain especially. The dialogue also was seen within the framework of the after-Brexit policy aiming to develop trade relations with the former British colonies.

Arman further reiterated the SPLM-N’s readiness to resolve the humanitarian issue, adding that the split of the armed group does not prevent the two factions from fulfilling their commitments towards civilians in the conflict-affected areas.

However, he said the African Union brokered roadmap for peace in Sudan is no longer valid and called to prioritise a deal for the humanitarian access to civilians in the SPLM-N held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

"The regime is responsible for the destruction of the roadmap (agreement), and the political process must be reconsidered," said the statement.

Following the failure of the talks over a humanitarian agreement in August 2016, the Sudanese government resumed the internal national dialogue process and endorsed its recommendations. It, further, called on the holdout opposition groups to participate in its implementation particularly the elaboration of a new constitution.

In line with the Roadmap Agreement, the opposition had to take part in the government-led dialogue process but the failure of discussions over a humanitarian agreement undermined the whole process.

The British envoy participated in the international efforts to facilitate a deal and bring the SPLM-N to accept an American proposal to break the deadlock in the negotiations over the humanitarian access.

(ST)

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