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SPLM-N pledges to destroy its stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines

January 2, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has pledged to destroy its stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines, which it claimed to have captured during military operations over the last four years.

A LandmineThe head of the SPLM-N delegation to Geneva Call’s third meeting of signatories to the Deeds of Commitment, Orwa Hamdan Za’id, has briefed the SPLM-N secretary general, Yasser Arman, on the outcome of the meeting.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating team, Mubarak Ardol on Friday, the movement’s delegation suggested adding a fourth protocol to the Deeds of Commitment on the humanitarian assistance in war zones, saying the proposal was widely accepted by the conferees.

He added that Arman decided to form a committee headed by Za’id including Suleiman Osman and Mohamed Salih Mohamed Yassin to follow up on several issues relating to the Deed of Commitment.

The Deed of Commitment is an innovative mechanism that allows armed non-State actors (ANSAs) to pledge to respect specific humanitarian norms and be held publically accountable for their commitments.

It was introduced by the Swiss-based Geneva Call, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting respect by ANSAs for international humanitarian norms in armed conflict and other situations of violence, in particular those related to the protection of civilians.

The Deed pledges the SPLM-N to abide by the principles and obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty.

The statement added the SPLM-N will invite Sudanese, regional and international organizations and interested individuals to a public event to attend the destruction of stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines it captured during military operations in the last four year.

PRISONERS OF WAR SWAP

Meanwhile, Ardol expressed his movement’s readiness to engage in a large-scale operation to release all prisoners of war from both sides including those who have been tried by the Sudanese government.

He pointed to the agreement of the SPLM-N and the Sa’ihoon group to release several government prisoners, saying they are ready to go a further step and discuss release of all prisoners of war.

Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defence Forces (PDF) combatants who at one point formed the backbone of the regime which came to power through a coup in 1989.

Last week, the SPLM-N announced it will free 20 prisoners from the Sudanese government forces in areas under its control in South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in response to Sa’ihoon initiative.

(ST)