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Mbeki to meet Bashir on 20 December over Sudan peace process

December 11, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the African Union High level Implementation Panel Thabo Mbeki will meet Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on 20 December, a presidential aide announced on Sunday.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L) speaks with AUHIP chairman Thabo Mbeki in his office in Khartoum on 5 September 2013 (SUNA)

Mbeki since last November had to meet al-Bashir over peace in Sudan as he was considering ways to reinvigorate the already-ailing process which had been suspended since last August.

Speaking to Ashrooq TV on Sunday, Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid disclosed that the chief mediator had to meet the Sudanese president since the 17th November but the meeting was delayed several times due to the presidential visits to Morocco, Guinea , and United Arab Emirates.

He further said the meeting will take place on 20 December, expressing hopes that political environment will be ripe to reach understandings paving the way for the signing of cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access deals between the government and the armed movements, "if the latter abandon their preconditions".

U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth brokered recently informal consultations in Addis Ababa between the government and the two armed groups participating in Darfur Track to narrow the gaps between the parties.

However, the two sides still disagree on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) as the armed groups want a new political process on Darfur but Khartoum persists that the 2011 document remains the only framework for peace in Darfur.

On the talks with the SPLM-N over the conflict in the Two Areas, the government refuses to allow direct access of 20% humanitarian aid to the rebel controlled areas from Ethiopia. However, the two sides finalized a draft agreement on the cessation of hostilities.

Ibrahim said the none of the parties to the conflict wants war, adding that "the region, the international community and even Sudanese are despaired of war".

(ST)