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JEM leader confirms reservations about Juba as venue for Sudan peace process

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Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi at the opening session of Darfur track 23 Nov 2014 (ST Photo)
October 13, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Secretary-General of the Revolutionary Front (SRF) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Gibril Ibrahim has expressed reservations about holding peace talks in Juba but announced his symbolic participation at the opening session in the South Sudanese capital on Monday.

On Friday SRF Chairman Hadi Idriss disclosed to Sudan tribune the existence of reservations from some leaders of the Front about Juba as a venue for the peace talks and said they would go to Juba to reach an agreement on these issues but not to negotiate peace.

On Sunday, Gibril Ibrahim said that he personally believes that the peace process should start after agreeing on the mediator and the venue of the peace process, stressing that the Juba Declaration did not address the two issues.

In statements to Sudan Tribune, he said that the Declaration provided to reach a peace agreement as soon as possible, and "We set October 14 for the launch of the talks and to end it before or on December 14.

"It seems that Juba has interpreted the silence on the venue and the mediator in its favour and began five days ago to send invitations to the parties. While in our meeting in Addis Ababa with the delegation of the Sovereign Council we told them explicitly about our position on this matter".

"We also made it clear that the country hosting the negotiations should be willing to pay the reconstruction bill and contribute to it effectively. We further pointed to the need for a regional and international mandate and many arrangements before the negotiations can begin."

The Juba declaration with the SRF has provided that the government of South Sudan would arrange negotiations on October 14, reach out the African Union and ask it to issue a resolution with a new mandate and request the UN Security Council to support it.

On the other hand, the agreement signed with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) led by Abdul Aziz al-Hilu says the negotiations will be held in Juba on 14 October.

Also, the SPLM-N al-Hilu requested a separate track for peace talks with the Sudanese government.

However, Ibrahim revealed that he was heading on Monday morning to Juba to participate in the opening ceremony of the negotiations, which will be held in the presence of President Salva Kiir, Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and several GAD leaders.

"We sent a delegation to negotiate procedural matters and tracks, but the leadership of South Sudan insisted that we attend the ceremony and will return from Juba on Tuesday".

SRF Secretary-General stressed that providing in the Declaration to launch negotiations on October 14 "was intended to emphasize the desire for peace rather than a political commitment".

However, he added that any delay in the negotiations will not affect the conclusion of the peace process before December 14, pointing that the issues of negotiation are known to all the parties and were previously discussed several times.

"If there is political will, all these things can be resolved in less than a month. Only the implementation of the agreement takes time."

Who hosts the talks

Asked about the possible venue or country’s candidate to host the peace talks, Gibril said they had been informed of the desire of the UAE and Saudi Arabia to sponsor the negotiations, but neither country had contacted them directly.

"Of course there is the State of Qatar, which also wants to host peace talks, especially those related to Darfur, as it has an African Union mandate with UNAMID to host and sponsor the negotiations," he said.

"We have to know that Qatar is committed to its role as a mediator in the political process so far."

Different sources told Sudan Tribune that the Egyptian authorities informed the Revolutionary Front of the desire of both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to host the talks.

The Secretary-General of the Revolutionary Front stressed the need to involve all neighbouring countries in the peace process.

"We need to involve all Sudan’s neighbours so that none can play the spoilers and undermine the peace process".

(ST)

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