7 March 2018

Sudan: 'Some Items of Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement Not Yet Implemented' - Beja Head

Eastern Sudan — Some of the items of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA), signed by the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front rebel alliance in 2006, have still not been implemented, such as funds for reconstruction, and integration of former combatants.

The head of the Beja Congress Party (BCP) and Assistant to the President of Sudan, Mousa Mohamed Ahmed, pointed out in a statement this week that "there are items in the Asmara agreement for eastern Sudan that have not yet been implemented".

He explained that the necessary financial flows to the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction Fund have not yet been paid by the government.

"About $380 million of the budget agreed to be injected into the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction Fund is still in the possession of the Ministry of Finance," he said

Ahmed also confirmed that the integration of the demobilised into the civil service has not been completed as agreed.

Explained that the agreement stipulated that they would have 60 executive and legislative positions at the state and centre level so that the process of participation in policy-making and decision-making could take place.

However, he pointed out that the policies have not been fully implemented for various reasons.

ESPA

The ESPA was signed by the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front rebel alliance, consisting of the Beja, the Rashaida Free Lions, and the Democratic Party of Eastern Sudan, in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on 14 October 2006.

In the agreement, the social, political, and economic marginalisation of the people of eastern Sudan was given as the core reason for the conflict in the region. Apart from political, economic, social, and cultural issues, it covered the security arrangements for Eastern Front ex-combatants.

The peace accord also provided for a national conference to address the administrative structure in Sudan, with the aim of identifying the inequalities in the employment of the eastern Sudanese in civil service and other structures.

The Eastern Front ex-combatants however, are still awaiting the final implementation of the security arrangements.

'Stagnant'

Omar Hashim El Khalifa, the chairman of the Eastern Front Ex-Combatants Committee told Radio Dabanga in November 2015 that the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process was "still stagnant".

He pointed to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Red Sea State governor and the ESPA signatories on 20 September last year, after the ex-combatants threatened to take up their arms against Khartoum again. The MoU obligated the state government to "regularise, demobilise, and compensate psychological and physical harm, retro-actively compensate and allocate positions in federal and state institutions, along with allocating sustainable projects for the demobilised fighters".

Read Sea State witnessed various protests by ex-fighters of the Eastern Front in 2014. Some of them even attempted to public suicide.

El Khalifa said at the time that the dire living conditions, "experienced by all ex-combatants", prompted the suicide attempt. "Hunger and diseases have already caused the death of many demobilised fighters and their family members in eastern Sudan."

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