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Sudan says next round of peace talks on Two Areas “decisive”

SPLM-N negotiating team meet withthe AUHIP ahead of direct talks withthe government on 9 August 2016 (Courtesy Photo of SPLM-N)

December 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The government negotiating team for the Two Areas talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) said the next round of talks would be decisive stressing no new items will be added to the discussions agenda.

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.

Talks between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016.

Sudan’s Minister of Animal Resources and member of the government negotiating team Bishara Guma’a Aror told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Saturday the resumption of talks was delayed due to the internal rift within the SPLM-N.

He added the SPLM-N asked the African mediation to delay the talks until its internal divisions were resolved and an official delegation was appointed, saying “both parties of the Movement claim to have the legitimate right to negotiate in its name”.

Aror pointed out that no new items would be added to the discussions agenda in the next round of talks, saying the African Roadmap have clearly stated the negotiations framework.

In September, Abdel-Rahman Abu Median, member of the government negotiating team, said they wouldn’t negotiate with an SPLM-N Agar faction, pointing the group has no ability to implement what will be agreed upon.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu has a similar point of view as they say there is no split within the rebel movement, but only a change of leadership stressing they have the SPLA-N support.

On the other hand, the SPLM-N Agar recognizes the rift and proposes to form a joint delegation. If this proposal is rejected they propose to coordinate with the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

The African mediators met the two factions last August, but they didn’t fix a clear position on the matter, while the facilitators from the Troika countries and the European Union also didn’t determine a unified position on the matter.

(ST)