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No peace talks with Darfur groups in Addis Ababa: Sudanese official

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February 3, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Presidential Envoy for Diplomatic Contact and Negotiation for Darfur Amin Hassan Omer has arrived in Addis Ababa to consult with the African mediation on the Roadmap Agreement.

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Head of government delegation for talks for peace in Darfur Amin Hassan Omer speaks to reporters in Addis Ababa on Friday 20 November 2015 (ST Photo)

The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) is brokering comprehensive peace talks to end the war and achieve democratic reforms.

The two-track process comprises the Sudanese government and opposition forces including the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas.

The government and the opposition Sudan Call alliance including the armed groups 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.

In press statements on Saturday from Addis Ababa, Omer said the government received an invitation to engage in talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

He added the invitation also asked the government to participate in consultations on the implementation of the Roadmap in the Two Areas besides the National Dialogue.

“The consultation meeting with the mediation doesn’t include bilateral meetings with any other party,” he added

According to Omer, the consultations aim to reach a work plan to implement the Roadmap, saying they wouldn’t engage in any talks regarding Darfur peace file.

He stressed that any talks with the Darfur movements should take place in Doha.

“We always said there is no need for signing a cessation of hostilities because there are no actual hostilities in Darfur at this time, however, we are willing to sign a cessation of hostilities deal,” he added

Doha brokered the Darfur peace negotiations resulted in the signing of the DDPD by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in July 2011. JEM which had initiated the process rejected the deal.

Three rebel movements including SLM-MM led by Minnawi Minnawi, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim and SLM-AW led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nour didn’t join the DDPD.

JEM and SLM-MM call for opening the document for negotiations, saying some issues were ignored or not fairly treated, but Khartoum rejects such request.

In their last meeting from 9 to 14 August 2016 under the auspices of the African Union, the government, JEM and SLM-MM discussed the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement and a humanitarian access agreement.

However, the parties diverged on the location sites of rebel fighters and mechanisms for the monitoring of humanitarian assistance. Also, the two groups raised the release of their prisoners from the Sudanese jails and the need to open the DDPD for discussions.

SLM-AW, however, is not part of the African Union-mediated peace talks. The rebel group rejects negotiating a peace agreement with Khartoum government unless the government militias are disarmed and displaced civilians return to their original areas.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

TWO AREAS TALKS

Meanwhile, the Two Areas talks between the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu have continued after the African mediation received positions papers from each side and met with them separately to converge their views.

Spokesperson of the government negotiating team Hassan Hamid said the mediation developed a consolidated document reconciling views of the two sides.

He pointed out that his team has met with the African mediation on Saturday to make its remarks on the consolidated document.

According to Hamid, the mediation would also meet with the SPLM-N al-Hilu team to discuss the document and the next step will be determined following the meeting.

(ST)

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