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South Sudan mediator condemns allegations of terrorism against Sudan’s JEM

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South Sudan's Presidential Adviser for Security Affairs and Chairman of the Mediation Team, Tut Kew Gatluak (Sovereign Council photo)
April 30, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudanese chief mediator Tut Kew Gatluak Thursday denied being part in allegations that the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim was involved in attacks carried out by Boko Haram militants on the Chadian army last month.

Since several days there are reports on the social media claiming that Gatluak during a meeting with the negotiators of Darfur groups accused the JEM of being participating in the attack on the Chadian army in the swampy Lake Chad zone in the western part of the country on 23 March.

According to these allegations, Gatualk told the Darfurian leaders in presence of JEM negotiator Ahmed Tugud that the Chadian authorities complained of JEM’s participation in the attacks of the Nigerian jihadist group.

When approached by Sudan Tribune, the presidential adviser on security affairs brushed aside the allegations saying that his role is to bring the Sudanese parties to conclude an agreement ending the war for the benefit of the peoples of the two Sudans.

He further denied being involved as the mediator in these "unprofessional" reports which are "underpinned by different agenda" targeting the whole process.

"There are those with different agenda in the media. They come to us and when we talk to them, they go and report something totally different,” stressed Gatluak.

The seven-month peace process was supposed to conclude before the end of December 2019. However, the Sudanese parties extended negotiations several times. Earlier this month, they agreed to conclude talks by May 9.

Motasim Ahmed Saleh JEM Spokesman in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday dismissed the accusations directed against their movement.

"The goal of the circles spreading these statements is to undermine the good relationship between the Movement and the State of Chad, distort the image of the Movement, and disrupt the Juba-mediated Sudan peace process," Saleh said.

Gatluak who is also the presidential advisor for security affairs said the strong relations between the peoples of the two countries and the desire to enhance regional stability are the first and last motivation for Juba’s efforts to end the war in Sudan.

"We are mediating for peace to come to Sudan because we believe that Sudanese are our brothers and sisters. We were part of Sudan and we feel the moral authority and obligation to come to them and say look here: war is not the solution to all the problems. It causes destructions. It destroys livelihoods. It breaks and tears apart social fabrics.

He went to say that after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018 President Salva Kiir informed them of his determination to facilitate a process ending the war in Sudan as well.

"Ending war between the Sudanese would be the best gift from the government and the people of South Sudan. We are sitting every day, day and night holding discussions to find a solution. This is what we are doing," said Tut.

“We need stability in the two countries because we are one people," he emphasized.

The seven-month peace process was initially supposed to wrap up before the end of December 2019. However, the Sudanese parties extended the negotiations several times. Earlier this month, they agreed to conclude the discussions by 9 May.

President Kiir on Wednesday was briefed by the mediation team on the progress in the talks for peace in Sudan, said a statement by the presidency in Juba.

"President Salva Kiir urged the Sudanese rival parties to exert more efforts in bringing sustainable peace and stability to the Sudanese people," said Gutluak according to the statement.

(ST)

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