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Sudan says wouldn’t accept new conditions on Two Areas talks

Mbeki chairs a meeting with the SPLM-N leaders (L) and the regional and international envoys on 24 April 2017 (ST Photo)
August 18, 2018 (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 must be held according to the agreed references.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) has quoted the member of negotiating team Abdel-Rahman Abu Median as saying the government wouldn’t accept pre or new conditions from any party.

He pointed out that the next round of talks should cover the political and security arrangements as well as the humanitarian assistance according to the agreed references.

Abu Median stressed the government is committed to all agreements reached during previous rounds of talks, saying differences among SPLM-N factions would exacerbate the suffering of the residents of the Two Areas.

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 last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

Several sources close to the file say the African Union mediation held recently several meetings with the al-Hilu faction but failed to agree with them on agenda for the talks.

The AU is brokering comprehensive peace talks to end the war and achieve democratic reforms. The two-track process comprises the Sudanese government and opposition forces including the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas.

During the recent round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

Al-Hilu group demands to deliver humanitarian assistance directly from abroad to the rebel-held areas, but Khartoum rejects such request saying all the relief operations should be conducted from the Sudanese territory.

Before the SPLM-N split, the rebel group called to establish a corridor from Asosa on the Ethiopian border to deliver 20 per cent of the humanitarian aid directly to the SPLM-N-controlled areas in the Blue Nile state.

In February talks, the mediation limited the discussions on the cessation of hostilities to the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu saying Agar faction has no military leverage in the Blue Nile state.

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 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

(ST)