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SLM’s al-Nur calls for referendum on Sudan’s transitional authority before peace talks

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SLM leader Abdel Whaid al-Nur speaks in a meeting organized in Paris on 11 Nov 2017 (ST Photo)
August 30, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) has called for an internationally monitored referenda on the transitional constitution and the representation of its cosignatories before to engage in peace talks.

Four months after the ouster of former President Omer al-Bashir last April, the SLM-AW for the first time and in a statement written in English made public its response to the calls from various Sudanese political forces to lay down arms and to join a national process for peace during the first six months of the transitional period.

The holdout group in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune voiced its rejection of the Political Agreement and the Constitutional Declaration signed by the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), describing it "as patently illegitimate and exclusionary".

"The accord reached between the TMC and FFC is simply another new variant of a civilian rubber stamp for the soldiers, paramilitaries, secret policemen," said the statement to explain the group’s rebuke for the process.

Since last April, there were several contacts by various political FFC groups with the SLM leader in a bide to persuade the group to negotiate a lasting peace agreement after the regime change.

During the era of the Islamist regime, the SLM had only participated in the Abuja process in 2006. Since the group asks to repair the consequences of the conflict and disband the government militia accused of war crimes before to negotiate a deal addressing the root causes of the conflict.

In his nine-page statement, emailed to Sudan Tribune, al-Nur set what he called "terms and condition for conflict resolution dialogue".

"We call for preparations for a national plebiscite to be undertaken immediately for a free and transparent vote under international observation, to take place sixty days from now," he further said.

He added that Sudanese should answer by yes or no to three questions.

The first question: asks the Sudanese if they approve "the continuation of the interim government under the terms the Constitutional Declaration; the second: complete withdrawal of the militaries from the transitional authority institutions; the third: do they approve a full and immediate return to civilian rule.

The armed group went further to propose to hold elections within 90 days after the referendum on the national level. Once the national elections are conducted, regional elections for state governors will take place 60 days after.

In a briefing to the Security Council on 26 August, Jean Pierre Lacroix said the intermittent clashes continue in Jebel Marra between the Sudanese army backed by the Rapid Support Forces and the SLM fighters.

In his position paper, al-Nur added 13 other conditions before the referenda including the full withdrawal of the army and government militias from Darfur region, al-Bashir’s transfer to the International Criminal court, and release of prisoners of war and conscience.

In addition, the paper reintroduced the SLM-Aw demands for disbanding of militias, land restoration to its owners and compensation for the war-affected civilians.

President Salva Kiir has called on al-Nur to come to Juba and join consultations meetings his government is holding with the other armed groups in preparations for peace talks with the government headed by Abdallah Hamdok.

The South Sudanese initiative aims at bringing the divided armed groups to establish a one negotiating paper before to meet the Sudanese government.

Juba also consults with Sudan’s neighbouring countries particularly Egypt and Chad and seeks to involve them in this demarche.

Egypt expressed willingness to host Sudan’s peace process.

(ST)

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