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Sudan, IGAD discuss resumption of Two Areas peace talks

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Sudanese Presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid speaks to the press on 6 April, 2017 (Anadolu Agency photo)

September 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud and the representative of the East African regional bloc IGAD in Khartoum Lesane Johannes, Wednesday have discussed arrangements to resume Sudan’s peace talks on the Two Areas.

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

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one in the Nuba Mountains led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other in the White Nile State led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

According to the official news agency SUNA, Johannes said the resumption of the peace talks is contingent on the position of the SPLM-N.

The African Union is brokering peace talks between the Sudanese government and opposition including the armed groups in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Talks between the two sides for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016. 2016.

Earlier this month, a member of the government negotiating team said they wouldn’t negotiate with a faction of the Sudan SPLM-N Agar, pointing that the latter “has no influence on the ground”.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu has a similar point of view as they say there is no split within the rebel movement, but only a change of leadership stressing they have the SPLA-N support.

On the other hand, the SPLM-N Agar recognizes the rift and proposes to form a joint delegation. If this proposal is rejected they propose to coordinate with the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

Also, the political opposition and armed groups in Darfur that participate in the African Union-brokered process support the involvement of the SPLM-N Agar.

The mediators met the two factions last August, but they didn’t fix a clear position on the matter, while the facilitators from the Troika countries and the European Union also didn’t determine a unified position on the matter.

(ST)

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