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African Union mediator proposes to amend Sudan’s peace roadmap

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Sudan Call leaders sign the Roadmap Agreement paving the way for talks with the government on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access on 8 August 2016 (ST Photo)
October 4, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposed to the opposition Sudan Call to amend a Roadmap Agreement they signed with the government two-and-a-half years ago in a way that they participate in the elaboration of a new constitution and take part in the upcoming elections of 2020.

In Mars and August 2016, the Sudanese government and the opposition alliance respectively signed a roadmap for peace in Sudan providing that the warring parties end the war, negotiate peace agreement and together with the opposition political groups hold a preparatory conference before to return to Sudan and participate in the national dialogue process and a constitutional conference.

However, the parties failed to strike a cessation of hostilities deal and a humanitarian access agreement in Darfur and the Two Areas for different reasons. As a result, the government held its national dialogue conference and formed a national consensus government to implement its recommendations.

In a letter sent to the chairperson of the Sudan Call Sadiq al-Mahdi on 25 September and seen by Sudan Tribune, AUHIP Chair Thabo Mbeki says that conditions have changed since the signing of the RoadMap Agreement (RMA) two-and-a-half years ago on 8 August 2016.

"It is therefore inevitable that the Signatories to the RMA will have to consider and agree to an amended RMA, while maintaining the central goal of reconstructing Sudan through a Constitution negotiated and agreed through an inclusive process," Mbeki said.

He further stressed that the opposition groups should be more flexible because there would be no new national dialogue conference, and proposed that RMA signatories agree on a cessation of hostilities and a humanitarian access deal.

After what they will directly "participate in an Inclusive process to negotiate and adopt a new Constitution for Sudan," he said putting aside the preparatory meeting and the confidence building measures such as the press freedom.

After the end of the constitutional process, they will participate in all inclusive processes which would prepare for the general elections of April 2020. These preparations include " the necessary Electoral law and ensuring that the conditions exist to hold peaceful free and credible elections".

The mediator did not set a date for the resumption of the peace talks but urged to send him a response before 25 October, pointing out that his mandate will terminate by the end of year.

The African Union Peace and Security Council used to renew his mandate during its last meeting for the year before the holidays on 18 December or one or two days before.

SUNAD CALL DISAPPOINTED

Sudan Tribune failed to get a reaction from an opposition official on these proposals which espouse the declared position of the Sudanese government since more than a year.

However, several sources close to the opposition alliance which gathers armed and political groups said consultations are taking place among the Sudan Call forces inside and outside the country before to response to the chief mediator.

The sources pointed that "the general mood is not in favour of these proposals". Some went further to question the mediation’s independence due to the increasing pressure from Khartoum which sought recently to convince the African Union to change it.

However, others said "The opposition would only express readiness to meet him to explain their position but they would not accept to resume talks on the basis of his proposals".

The talks for a ceasefire with the SPLM-North failed because the government refused to allow humanitarian corridor to bring 20% of the relief from outside the country through Ethiopia. Last December the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu said they want all the humanitarian aid be brought from outside Sudan.

For the talks with the armed groups in Darfur , the parties failed to make progress on the cessation of hostilities or the humanitarian access alike. However, in a meeting held earlier this year in Berlin, the armed groups accepted to negotiate on the basis of the Doha document for peace in Darfur but still they disagree with Khartoum on the implementation mechanism.

Recently, Khartoum announced the acceptance of a new humanitarian proposal but the details of the proposal are not yet made public.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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