Khartoum — Sudanese rebels said the humanitarian situation in the southern parts of the country constitutes their main concern, reiterating readiness to sign a truce with the government if the latter allows the delivery of food to the affected civilians.
In press statements released Wednesday, SPLM- North secretary general Yasir Arman said they told the African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki they were ready to ink a cessation of hostility agreement with the Sudanese army when Khartoum accept to allow humanitarian access to their areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
"We confirmed directly to President Mbeki that we are ready for an immediate cessation of hostilities in line with an agreement that allows the delivery of humanitarian assistance to about nearly one million civilians in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan," Arman said.
The African Union mediation said in its report to the AU Peace and Security meeting on 14 December that the resolution of the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile between is crucial for the implementation of a security arrangements deal the Khartoum and Juba failed to agree on its enforcement.
However, Khartoum says the implementation of the security deal will allow to engage talks with the rebels on the conflict, demanding that Juba has stop its support to its former allies.
Khartoum, on the other, refuses to allow the humanitarian access to the rebel held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile saying the food will benefit also to the insurgency.
A tripartite proposal made by the UN humanitarian agencies, African Union and the Arab League did not help break the stalemate over the humanitarian access.
Khartoum says it should supervise the whole operation and the SPLM rejects the presence of government representatives in its territory with the tripartite team.
Arman said that the SPLM-N delegation to Addis Ababa is composed of its chairman Malik Agar, his deputy Abdel Aziz Hilu , himself, and humanitarian officials including Philip Niron, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Saeed, Hashim Ortah and Bakri Abdel Bassit.
He added that besides Mbeki, they met with US special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, EU special envoy Rosalind Marsden, and Ambassadors of the African countries members of the AUPSC in Addis Ababa.
Sudan and South Sudan agreed today to implement the non-litigious issues in the security arrangements pledging to resume their discussions on the disengagement with SPLM-N fighters on 13 January.
Khartoum stipulates that the full implementation of the security arrangements should take place before the pumping of South Sudanese oil for exportation through the Sudanese territory and maritime ports.