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Sudan welcomes SPLM-N al-Hilu call for resuming Two Areas peace talks

Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu (2ed L) with some of his aides after his arrival in Koda in South Kordofan on 30 June 2017 (ST Photo)
November 21, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Tuesday has welcomed the call of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) to resume the peace talks according to the African roadmap.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

The government and the opposition Sudan Call alliance including the SPLM-N signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

The Roadmap agreement didn’t include the right for self-determination as a basis for the peace talks on the Two Areas.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday quoted the government official spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman as saying the assent of the SPLM-N al-Hilu to resume the peace talks according to the roadmap is an “important and required step”.

He pointed out that the Roadmap provides for negotiating the issue of the Two Areas and the National Dialogue, saying “we are ready for negotiations and dialogue”.

In the same context, the spokesperson of the government negotiating team on the Two Areas Hussein Hamdi described the SPLM-N al-Hilu agreement to resume the talks as “positive move”.

He said the upcoming negotiations would be governed by the directives issued by the UN Security Council and the African Union as well as the outcome of the previous rounds of talks.

According to Hussein, the African mediation wouldn’t allow any party to dictate its own conditions away from the roadmap in order not to waste all previous effort and start from scratch.

Last September, the African Union representative in Khartoum, Mahmoud Kan told SMC that the SPLM-N al-Hilu in a recent meeting with the AUHIP explained its position on the self-determination reiterating its commitment to the unity of Sudan.

(ST)