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Sudan holds SPLM-N rebels responsible for failure of peace talks

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July 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has held the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) responsible for stalling negotiations on the Two Areas accusing the latter of setting unrealistic demands.

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Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour (SUNA Photo)

In an interview with the official news agency SUNA on Saturday, Sudan’s foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, expressed his regret over the SPLM-N’s "unrealistic demands and intransigence" in the Two Areas talks.

He said that some of those demands could be described as mere “wishes”, noting the SPLM-N has overstepped other partners inside Sudan by making those demands which made it hard to reach an agreement.

Ghandour expressed hope that the SPLM-N in the past period has learnt that holding arms and relying on foreign support wouldn’t help its leaders achieve their “political dreams”, stressing that dialogue is the only path for achieving peace.

“[peace wouldn’t be achieved] unless some people abandon their association with the foreign agenda,” said the head of the government delegation for peace talks with the SPLM-N.

Nine rounds of talks between the two sides have stalled over issues pertaining to the security, humanitarian and political arrangements.

Last November, the mediators of African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) organized direct talks between the warring parties in Two Areas aiming to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement and to pave the way for a preparatory meeting for the national dialogue with the participation of opposition forces to agree on the process issues and procedures.

However, the government refused to discuss the pre-dialogue issues with the rebel group and also refused the cessation of hostilities agreement saying what is needed is a cease-fire agreement including the disarmament and demobilization of its fighters in line with the peace agreement of 20005.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Khartoum points to the non implementation of the disarmament process, stressing that any peace talks with the SPLM-N should start from where things stopped. The rebels retort that the DDR process had to start after the popular consultation which it should lead to establish a special territorial administration in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The foreign minister considered the rebels talk about marginalization and marginalized people untrue, pointing they are the ones who hinder development and destroy infrastructure.

“They [the rebels] also kill with cold blood the soul which Allah has forbidden ... the recent killing of the worshippers inside the mosque during the morning prayer in South Kordofan is considered a crime against humanity and must be condemned by the whole world ... We still hope that they listen to the voice of reason,” he added.

Last week, the embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Khartoum issued a statement condemning a deadly attack on civilians in South Kordofan state last month by the fighters of the SPLM-N.

“We note with grave concern reports that on June 25 the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) attacked against civilians in gold mining areas near the town of Talodi, in Southern Kordofan state,’’ the statement read.

The attacks killed dozens of people and injured roughly 100 others as they gathered for morning prayers to begin their day of Ramadan fasting said the statement.

Ghandour stressed that peace and agreement among conflicting parties could only be achieved through dialogue, emphasizing that the government’s dialogue initiative is the only way for reaching understandings on good governance.

The border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state have been the scene of a violent conflict since 2011 when fighting broke out between the SPLM-N and Sudanese army.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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