Sudan Peace Talks Resume With Great Hopes for a Comprehensive Agreement

Juba — On Monday, peace talks between the government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) resumed in Juba. The secretariat of the South Sudanese mediation committee assessed the peace negotiation progress.

El Hadi Idris, Chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance told Radio Dabanga, that they discussed the Two Areas (Blue Nile state and South Kordofan) on Monday morning.

"We discussed a framework agreement that was submitted by the head of the SPLM-N under the leadership of Malik Agar," he said. "The meeting discussed several issues. The main focus was on humanitarian issues and the system of government."

In the evening session the government and SRF the Darfur track agreed on procedural issues and the administration of negotiation agenda as the negotiations planned to begin with power-sharing on Tuesday.

Idris added that "the northern Sudan track team has received the government's response on the draft proposal. They are now working on the response to the government. We expect a breakthrough in all tracks soon, and then we can move on to the national issues".

'Next two weeks will be crucial'

On Monday, the secretariat of the mediation committee for the Sudanese peace negotiations, which includes representatives from South Sudan, Chad, the United Nations, and the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) held a meeting to assess the progress regarding all five tracks (Darfur, the Two Areas, eastern Sudan, northern Sudan, and central Sudan).

In a press statement on Monday, Tut Galuak, the chairman of the South Sudanese mediation team, said that the meeting assessed the peace process during the previous period, and discussed the plans of the mediation committee for the next phase.

The next two weeks will be crucial for the peace process, the mediator said. "The negotiations on the various tracks are proceeding very well."

The mediation expects a comprehensive peace agreement to be reached according to the deadline set, for February 15.

A final agreement about central Sudan was signed on December 24 last year. This week, the parties will present their negotiating positions for the four tracks left.

Galuak said it is likely that a final agreement concerning the northern Sudan track may be reached this week. As for Darfur and the Two Areas, framework agreements may be signed soon as well.

Consultations

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) said its negotiating team, led by Ammar Amoun, arrived in Juba yesterday, for separate peace talks with the government scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

On December 26 last year, Radio Dabanga reported that the SPLM-N El Hilu faction requested the mediation team to adjourn the third round of talks for two weeks, in order to conduct extensive consultations with its members.

The talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N El Hilu went less smoothly than the other negotiation tracks, as the rebel faction adheres to its long-standing position regarding a secular state, while the government does not seem to intend to cancel the Sharia (Islamic law) soon.

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