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Sudanese government, SPLM-N al-Hilu hold secret talks in South Africa: reports

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Abdel Aziz al-Hilu addressing the SPLM-N extraordinary conference held on 8-12 October (Photo SPLM-N)
October 31, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - A senior official in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) disclosed that his government engaged bilateral talks with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N-al-Hilu).

"The government is negotiating with the Movement somewhere outside Khartoum and it is not the right time to reveal the content of the talks until the first round ends, because the dialogue did not yet achieve tangible results," said the head of the NCP political sector Abdel Rahman al-Khidir on Tuesday

However, on Wednesday, Al-Akhbar newspaper revealed that the discussions are taking place in South Africa.

The local newspaper further said the talks are a continuation of a previous secret meeting held recently in Addis Ababa under the patronage of the African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki between the Presidential Assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim and al-Hilu.

During their meeting in Addis Ababa, the parties agreed to hold a secret meeting in Johannesburg far from the media, according to Al-Akhbar.

The government delegation for Johannesburg meetings include Faisal Hassan Ibrahim, Nayel Ahmed Adam the head of the NCP Central Sudan Sector, Ihasan Koko Tiyah, South Kordofan government health minister, Stephan Missa, a member of the government negotiating team and former commissioner of Kurmuk, in the Blue Nile State and Gen Mohamed Younis a splinter member of the SPLM-N led by Malik Agar.

While the SPLM-N al-Hilu delegation, besides its chairman, includes the group secretary general Amar Amun, Koko Mohamed Jakdol SPLM-N al-Hilu’s education secretary and Abdallah Ibrahim Ojlan the group secretary for the Blue Nile state.

The rebel group which has been fighting the government since June 2011, split last year in two factions over the position to adopt in the peace talks.

Al-Hilu who was the deputy chairman blamed the negotiating team led by Yasir Arman for ignoring the demand of the Nuba Mountains for self-determination. Also, he wanted to maintain the rebel army for a twenty-year period before to decide on the future of the region.

The general conference of the SPLM-al-Hilu in October 2017, reiterated its demand for self-determination saying it should be the basis of a negotiated solution to establish the New Sudan.

Sources say the ongoing meeting aims to narrow the gaps between the positions of the two sides. Also, the government is expected to just propose a regional autonomy for the Two Areas.

After the split, the Sudanese government refused to include the SPLM-N Agar in the process.

(ST)

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