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Sudanese government confirms resumption of talks with SPLM-N next November

October 20, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government confirmed Tuesday the receipt of an invitation from the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to resume talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to end the four-year armed conflict in the Two Areas.

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AUHIP head Thabo Mbeki chairs a meeting with of the government (R) and rebel delegations on 30 November 2014 (Courtesy photo/ AUHIP)

The meeting between the two warring parties in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states intervenes one year after the last round of talks in November 2014. At the time, the two sides failed to agree on a comprehensive cessation of hostilities including Darfur region and ways to link the process of the Two-areas with the national dialogue.

The last year round of talks took place after a decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to establish two tacks of talks, one for the Two Areas and the second for Darfur region within one process mediated by the AUHIP aiming to pave the way for a comprehensive solution in Sudan though the national dialogue.

A leading member the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Amin Hassan Omer, who is also the head of the government negotiating team with Darfur rebels Tuesday told reporters that the upcoming meeting "is confined to the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and not related to the national dialogue".

In statements to the semi-official news service SMC, Omer further reiterated the government willingness to resume talks with the SPLM-N should the latter commits itself to the agenda proposed by African mediation.

The government delegation will carry "an integrated vision" for humanitarian and security issues in order to end the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, he added.

The SPLM-N leader Malik Agar announced last Sunday he was in Addis Ababa for consultations with the African Union ahead of a meeting on 2 November with the Sudanese government.

It is not clear if the mediation will hold a parallel and simultaneous track for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) to end the Darfur conflict. The SLM-Abdel Wahid al-Nur is not part of the two tracks process.

In separate statements on Monday, foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters that his government is ready to meet with the armed groups at any time the AUHIP determines.

Ghandour who led the government delegation for the talks with the SPLM-N during the past years said he would meet with the AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki to discuss a proposition to hold a meeting between the government and armed groups that refuse to join the national dialogue.

Presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, is expected to chair the government delegation for the talks with the SPLM-N but Khartoum didn’t yet confirmed it officially.

(ST)