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U.S. urges Sudan and rebels to reach permanent ceasefire

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Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour shakes hand with John Sullivan U.S. Deputy Secretary of State on 14 September 2014 (ST Photo)
November 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan has demanded the Sudanese government and the armed groups to reach a permanent and general ceasefire in Darfur, the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The Sudanese army has been fighting Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, also known as Two Areas since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

Following six days of talks in Addis Ababa in August 2016, the armed movements and the government failed to conclude a deal on the security arrangements and humanitarian access in Darfur and the Two Areas prompting the African Union mediation to suspend the talks indefinitely.

Since two years, the two sides continued to declare a unilateral cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas.

Speaking in a lecture at the University of the Holy Quran in Khartoum Friday, Sullivan called on the Sudanese government to stop its military attacks in the conflict zones and declare a permanent ceasefire to achieve peace and stability in the country.

He also demanded the SPLM-N to accept the US proposal to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected civilians in the Two Areas.

During the latest round of peace talks, the SPLM-N demanded to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.

But the government rejected the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

In November 2016, The SPLM-N declined an American proposal to transport humanitarian medical assistance directly to the civilians in the rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

The American diplomat further urged the government and the armed movements to continue talks within a framework of a comprehensive political process in order to achieve peace and stability in the country.

The government and the opposition Sudan Call alliance including the political forces and the armed movements signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

(ST)

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