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NCP official calls for South Sudanese role to end Two-Area conflict

August 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - A National Congress Party official (NCP) from the troubled Blue Nile State has called on South Sudanese government to unify the factions of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and encourage them to sign peace with Khartoum.

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Sudanese army soldiers and RSF militiamen ride on a tank outside the military headquarters in Kadugli, South Kordofan after recapturing the Daldako area on 20 May 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Nureldine Abdallah)

The already difficult talks between Sudanese government and the SPLM-N have hit a deadlock after the split of the rebel group last year. Several reports say the African Union mediation team does not see any horizon for an agreement there.

The ruling NCP Deputy Head in the Blue Nile State Abdel Rahman Al-Treffi praised the efforts of President Omer al-Bashir to resolve the outstanding issues between the South Sudanese parties within the framework of the IGAD-led peace revitalization talks in Khartoum.

Al-Traiffi further pointed to the historical relations between the Sudanese SPLM-N factions in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states and called on the South Sudanese government to support Khartoum to reach a peace agreement.

"The South Sudanese government should reciprocate by uniting the SPLM-N factions, bringing them to form one negotiating team and to encourage them to sign a final peace agreement," al-Treffi said.

He further said the task would not be difficult pointing out that "most of the files have been resolved during the previous rounds" of talks brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by 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.

President Salva Kiir in the past offered to facilitate the discussions with the SPLM-N but at the time Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir refused the proposition.

Khartoum in the past said the SPLM-N fighters use South Sudan to transport weapons and ammunition to the landlocked rebel controlled areas with the knowledge of its security service, but Juba denied the accusations.

Recently, several voices called for a South Sudanese role to end the conflict in the Two Areas pointing that now there is a trust between Khartoum and Juba and the two countries value the shared interests.

However, it is not clear if al-Bashir would accept a South Sudanese role. But, the revitalized peace agreement provides clearly to end the presence of the Sudanese armed groups in South Sudan as they were accused of taking part in the five-year conflict in South Sudan.

Al-Treffi said the improvement of the security and political situations in South Sudan would positively impact the situation in Sudan pointing to the resumption of the cross-border trade between the two countries.