Sudan: Peace Agreement On Sudan's Northern Track 'Expected Within Days'

Juba — Peace negotiations on Sudan's northern track began in the South Sudan capital of Juba yesterday, mediator Dio Matok said. He expects that a final peace agreement on the track can be reached in two days. The negotiations on the eastern Sudan track have been postponed.

The parties negotiating on northern Sudan already reached agreement on many issues earlier this month.

In a press statement Dio Matok, Minister for Energy, Dams and Electricity in South Sudan, announced that the mediation team postponed the negotiations on the eastern track until January 30. The government delegation asked for this, so it can solve the problem that key stakeholders from Red Sea state have not participated in the consultative forum set up to prepare the negotiations on the eastern track. They feel that too many supporters of the defunct Al Bashir regime are taking part in the forum.

Matok announced great progress on the Darfur track, where agreements were reached on land, transitional justice and the system of government. No agreement has yet been reached on the security arrangements, but negotiations between the government and the SPLM North faction led by Malik Agar about security started on Tuesday.

Matok said that the negotiations with the SPLM North faction led by El Hilu "are a little delayed". Agreement was reached on six points of the framework agreement points. No agreement has been reached on SPLM-N El Hilu demands for a secular state in South Kordofan and self-determination for the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region.

The negotiations between the government and the SPLM-N El Hilu' were resumed last week after a hiatus that lasted for more than two weeks.

Matok expressed optimism that a peace agreement would be reached in mid-February. He said that the implementation of this peace agreement will be discussed then.

He praised the intense presence of representatives of the international community, especially the Friends of Sudan (the USA, France, Germany, Britain, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt). They advise the mediation team and all negotiating parties.

Matok stressed that the implementation of the peace agreement will require financial resources. He called on the international community to pay the same level of attention to the implementation as to the creation of the peace agreement.

Matok said he would welcome the presence of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok "any time". Hamdok coming to Juba would contribute to resolving many issues, he said. He denied that there were any slowdowns in the negotiations.

He attributed the delay at some sessions to the many tracks, explaining that the mediation works long hours to make the deadlines that have been set to finish the negotiations in time.

Yasir Arman, deputy head of the SPLM North faction led by Malik Agar, said that the Juba negotiations will find a solution to the security arrangements.

In a press statement he stated that "we will work to build a new national army with a military and professional doctrine, that will include the forces of the armed movements, the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces in order to protect Sudan's supreme interests".

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