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Al-Burhan, al-Hilu agree on secular state, unified army in Sudan

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (C) meets with Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (L) in Juba in presence of the mediator Tut Gatluak on 3 March 2021 (ST photo)March 27, 2021 (JUBA) - The head of the Sovereign Council and the leader of the SPLM-N have agreed to separate between state and religion and to form a single national army at the end of the transitional period.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu held two meetings in Juba on 3 March and 27 March and they are expected to sign a Declaration of Principle (DoP) on Sunday 28 March recognizing "the impartiality" of the state in term of religious matters.

Also, the final draft agreement seen by Sudan Tribune provides that the SPLA fighters will be fully integrated into the Sudanese army by the end of the transition, in response to the army opposition to maintaining the SPLA army beyond the transition.

According to the text of the DoP, al-Burhan and al-Hilu agree to consolidate the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Sudan. Also, they admit the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of its population.

Further, they agree to establish a "civil, democratic, federal state in Sudan, wherein, the freedom of religion, the freedom of belief and religious practices and worship shall be guaranteed to all Sudanese people by separating the identities of culture region, ethnicity and religion from the State".

"No religion shall be imposed on anyone and the State shall not adopt any official religion. The State shall be impartial in terms of religious matters and matters of faith and conscience," emphasizes the text of the DoP.

Regarding the security arrangements, the two leaders agree to form a single professional national army that operates according to a new unified military doctrine.

"The process of integration and unification of forces shall be gradual and completed by the end of the transitional period and after resolution of the relationship between religion and state by the constitution (...)," stresses the text which will be signed within hours.

After the wine-wine agreement, the two parties should begin talks in Juba soon to finalize a comprehensive peace agreement.

On Friday, President Salva Kiir held a meeting with Abdel Wahid al-Nur and al-Hilu in a bid to convince the leader of the Darfur holdout group, the Sudan Liberation Movement, to join the DoP.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, al-Nur said, they briefed President Salva Kiir Mayardit on their initiatives and road map to gather the Sudanese together in order to put all the problems of their Country in one package and seek the solutions.

(ST)