16 February 2013

Sudan: SPLM-N to Hold Talks With Sudanese Government in March - Arman

Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) will hold talks with the Sudanese government in Addis Ababa on 5 March, announced Yasir Arman, the secretary general of the group on Friday.

In a written statement emailed to Sudan Tribune Arman said the SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar confirmed in a message to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) that a 10-member delegation led by the movement's secretary general will take part in the talks.

Last year, Sudanese government and SPLM-N delegation signed an agreement on humanitarian assistance after indirect talks brokered by the African mediation team. However but latter on they failed to implement the deal when it came to how to distribute food to affected civilians in the rebel held areas.

Regarding the political talks, the Sudanese government demanded that Juba should Juba cuts first its links with the Sudanese rebel group before to engage negotiations. The SPLM-N, on the other side, said it wants a comprehensive and inclusive process dealing with the Two Areas and Darfur crises.

"The SPLM delegation will go with a clear vision, including all the national and international commitments of the movement, Arman said; stressing that the humanitarian crisis in the SPLM-N controlled areas should top the agenda of talks.

He went further to say that any political solution must be comprehensive, aiming primarily at developing a national agenda with the participation of all political forces and civil society groups in order to get an answer about "how to govern Sudan before who governs Sudan".

The African Union Peace and security Council (AUPSC) in a meeting held on 25 January demanded the AUHIP to invite the two parties to hold direct political talks before 15 February aiming to end the ongoing conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

On the humanitarian side the council demanded the mediation to propose a cessation of hostilities agreement in order to facilitate humanitarian access. The AUPSC considers that the agreement sealed last August with the tripartite mechanism should now be enforced.

In Khartoum, Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir repeated on Friday before the members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) the position of his government about the talks with the SPLM-N. He reiterated that it should be on the implementation of a protocol related to the Two Areas included in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.

Speaking at the opening session of the NCP Shoura Council, Bashir said there is a need to discuss how to disarm and demobilise "Sudanese youth carrying weapons" in the two states and to transform them to "good citizens" he added .

Regarding the New Dawn charter which calls to topple the regime and establish a secular and democratic regime in Sudan, Bashir said that the opposition parties can propose it to the Sudanese people and challenge the ruling party in a free election.

He further asserted that Sudanese people stick to the Islamic law, and pledged to defeat the rebel groups in Darfur region.

The rebel groups in Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan, the opposition parties and civil society groups signed the New Dawn last January. The political parties nonetheless said more talks needed on the deal saying it is still a draft and not a final version.

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