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Sudan, SPLM-N al-Hilu discuss resumption of peace talks

March 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu have held informal consultations last week in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

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SPLM-N al-Hilu SG Amar Deldoom speaks to Hamza Farouq of the SCoP (unseen) in an interview recorded in the Nuba Mountains in October 2017 (ST photo)

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) quoted a government source as saying the two- day meeting has discussed ways to resume the peace talks.

The same source said the meeting focused on the contentious issues during the previous round of talks, pointing out that the two sides have made progress on the humanitarian file.

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.

The SPLM-N, which has been fighting the government in the South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, also known as Two Areas, since June 2011, split in 2017 into two factions, one is led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu and the other is led by Malik Agar.

The split was a result of differences over a number of organizational matters as well as the position to adopt in the peace talks.

Al-Hilu who was the deputy chairman blamed the negotiating team led by Yasir Arman for ignoring the demand of the Nuba Mountains for self-determination. Also, he wanted to maintain the rebel army for a twenty-year period before to decide on the future of the region.

During the last round of talks in February 2018, 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.

(ST)