Sudan: SPLM-North El Hilu Returns to Sudan Peace Talks in Juba

Juba — The chairman of the South Sudanese mediation committee at the Sudanese peace talks, Tut Galwak, announced the return of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz El Hilu to the negotiating table. At a press conference in Juba on Thursday evening, he said direct negotiations between the government delegation and the delegation of the armed movement have been re-scheduled to start at 9 am Friday morning.

Mediator Tut Galwak claimed that the differences that emerged recently have been contained, and that positive steps are being taken towards achieving comprehensive peace in Sudan.

SPLM-North El Hilu suspended the negotiations on Wednesday, accusing the Sudanese government of violating the agreed ceasefire. It claimed that elements of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the militia that supported the former regime, ambushed civilians near Khor Waral in Habila locality in South Kordofan on Tuesday, which is part of the "liberated areas".

Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, issued a constitutional decree on Wednesday declaring a cease-fire "on al fronts throughout Sudan".

Secretary-General and head of the SPLM-N El Hilu negotiation team Ammar Daldoum praised the positive steps taken by the government to address the recent events, stressing the commitment of the movement to negotiate directly with the government at any time.

Mediation meetings

The South Sudanese mediator Tut Galwak held two separate mediation meetings with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, a coalition of armed movements) delegation about Darfur and the Two Areas (the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state).

Galwak further reported the mediation team agreed with the request made by the SRF to suspend the negotiations for a period of two weeks to a month. In the meantime the parties would continue to meet to discuss the negotiating agenda.

The SRF was also engaged in consultative meetings with Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti', deputy chairman of the Sovereign Council and head of the government negotiation delegation, to determine the government's position on a suspension of the negotiations.

Stop hostilities

It is expected that all parties to the SRF will sign a framework agreement to stop hostilities throughout Sudan in response to the constitutional decree about a comprehensive cease fire issued by Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, president of the Sovereign Council.

The South Sudanese mediator Tut Galwak also said that all members of the SRF agreed that Juba should be the seat of the negotiations.

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