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Sudan’s armed groups reject agreement on transitional political document

SLM Minni Minnawi, SPLM-N Malik Agar and JEM Gibril Ibrahim speak to reporters in Addis Ababa on 17 July 2019 (ST photo)
July 17, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) announced its rejection of the political agreement initialled by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and the Transitional Military Council (TMC), saying that the approach adopted was flawed and unacceptable and would complicate the national process.

The TMC and the FFC on Wednesday morning initialled the text of the political agreement which describes the three organs of the transitional authority and details the power-sharing during the transitional period.

However, the deal failed to resolve the difference on the legislative council as the TMC continues to claim the need to review the majority of 67% agreed to the opposition groups members of the FFC last May.

However, SRF spokesman Mohamed Zakaria Farajalla told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the Front was surprised by the initialization of the agreement between the two parties while it was engaged in consultations meetings with a delegation of their allies in the FFC in the Ethiopian capital on ways to achieve peace.

He said that the agreement reached by the FFC political and armed groups in Addis Ababa provides to include the SRF vision in the political and constitutional agreements with the Military Council.

"It is not understandable that the deliberations of Addis Ababa meeting are in their final stage and the FFC negotiating team inside the country concludes the agreement without waiting for the outcome of Addis meetings to be included in the agreement."

"This approach is flawed and unacceptable and will complicate the national process. As the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, we affirm that we are not a party to the agreement and we have the right to take what we see as appropriate steps to achieve peace and democratic transition."

The Addis meetings between a delegation of the FFC and the SRF agreed on a draft declaration of principles to achieve peace during the transitional period to be integrated within the political and constitutional agreements to be reached with the Transitional Military Council.

Zakaria stressed that the meetings in Addis Ababa are still ongoing but will seek to understand the reasons that led the FFC political groups to strike the deal with the military council without waiting for the outcome of the meetings of Addis Ababa.

He pointed out that the SRF calls for postponing the formation of the institutions of the transitional period until the signing of a peace agreement, after which the phenomenon of armed movements will disappear, in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past in dealing with the armed movements after each popular revolution.

Since last April, in a series of meeting held in Abu Dhabi, the armed groups proposed to distinguish between the pre-transitional period and the transitional period which will start within six months after the conclusion of peace agreement with the armed groups in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The SRF spokesperson said there is still a chance to overcome this crisis if what will be reached between them and their allies in the FFC is included in the political agreement before to strike a deal on the constitutional declaration.

"If this issue is not addressed, the SRF will have several options to deal with issues of war and peace, including direct negotiations with the military council," he asserted.

Zakaria said that the discussion on the draft submitted by the SRF to the FFC delegation on the achievement of peace is still continuing.

Agar: The agreement does not represent the whole FFC

For his part, the head of the SPLM-N Malik Agar said that those who signed the agreement, do not represent all the Forces for Freedom and Change.

"The agreement ignored important issues being discussed in Addis Ababa, foremost of which is the issue of peace.".

"There has been a deep dialogue between active leaders in the forces of freedom and change and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front," he said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

"The agreement damaged this dialogue and what is said about peace does not exceed public relations."

"We are part of the FFC, and this agreement will lead to different positions .. We are studying the issue with our comrades in the SRF before to take a position that we will announce today," he said before the joint press statement.

In a statement read at a joint press conference in Addis Ababa, the SRF groups voiced their reservations about the form and content of the initialled political declaration, including the negotiation method.

The FFC negotiators have ignored important parties and issues and focused on power-sharing and ignored important issues, "forgetting that the SRF could enter into a power-sharing deal if it wanted a long time ago," further said the statement.

Gibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said in a tweet posted in the morning said that "the initialization of a political agreement between the military junta and some FFC forces a disregard for the consultations taking place in Addis Ababa."

"The Sudanese Revolutionary Front is not a party to this agreement."

(ST)