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Sudanese government says can negotiate with SPLM-N Agar as political party

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SPLM-N leader Malok Agar (C) with his deputy Yasir Arman on his right and secretary general Ismail Jabab on his left on 16 November 2017 (ST)
January 29, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Presidential aide and head of the government delegation for peace talks reiterated their refusal to negotiate with the SPLM-N led by Malik Agar and called on the armed group to transform itself into a political party.

Following the split of the armed movement which fights the government since 2011 in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states Khartoum said they are ready to negotiate a peace agreement with Abdel Aziz al-Hilu faction pointing he has the support of the rebel military command.

Also, Chris Troot, the British special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan made similar statement echoing the position of the mediation and the Troika countries and Germany which facilitate the process.

On 1 and 2 February, the government delegation will meet the SPLM-N al-Hilu to discuss a cessation of hostilities agreement. Also, the mediations will meet the two delegations plus the Sudan Call forces to discuss the political roadmap for a negotiated settlement and democratic reforms in the country on 3 and 4 February.

Speaking in a talk show at al-Shrooq TV, Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud said they would not negotiate with the SPLM-N Agar unless they form a political party, adding that Magar lacks a significant political constituency in the Blue Nile state.

"Joseph Tikka who has joined al-Hilu completely controls the (SPLM-N-held) areas in southern Blue Nile State and there is no presence for Malik’s forces," he said.

"Agar must renounce violence and war and then it would be possible to talk to him as a Sudanese citizen and head of a political party, as it is the case with dozens of parties and armed movements," he emphasised.

The SPLM-N Agar denounced its exclusion from the security talks warning that such move would encourage them to develop their military activities.

Also, the Sudan Call forces, including SPLM-N Agar, agreed to not take part in the political consultations with the mediation on the roadmap calling to postpone it.

After 16 months of suspension of the peace process, African Union mediation seems resolved to rethink the whole two-tracks process in a way to handle the different conflicts separately and then to engage in the constitutional reforms process.

During the past years, Mbeki who pleads for a holistic process to end Sudan’s conflicts convened negotiations between the government, SPLM-N and Darfur groups delegation at the same time. Also, the opposition parties used the event to meet the rebels on the sidelines of the talks.

In a related development, Mahmoud said Malik Agar is currently in Juba and urged the South Sudanese government to stop backing armed groups and to "stop threatening Sudan’s security", as he said.

" "It is better for the leadership of the southern neighbour to support peace options and not to use (the Sudanese armed) movements."

(ST)

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