Sudan Peace Talks Continue Despite Split in Rebel Alliance

Juba — On Tuesday, the South Sudanese team mediating peace talks between the Sudanese government and the armed movements in Juba confirmed the continuation of the negotiations after the rebel group of Minni Minawi withdrew from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) this week.

Head of the mediation team Tut Galuak told reporters in Juba that the Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) officially split from the SRF alliance of Sudanese rebel movements earlier this week.

"It is true that the SRF split into two parts, but there is no one who does not want peace," he said.

The Leadership Council of the SRF announced in a statement on Wednesday that it has accepted Minawi's withdrawal.

The council stated that the SLM-MM movement has chosen to renounce its membership. The mainstream rebel alliance "will be free to fill this vacant seat with those who deserve it".

SRF chairman El Hadi Idris, who leads the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council, further said the alliance "is determined to move forward" and sign the peace agreement on June 20, according to the time schedule agreed with the mediation.

The SRF was formed in November 2011 by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) that was fighting Khartoum in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, and the three main Darfuri rebel groups: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), and the breakaway SLM faction headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM).

They declared that they would overthrow the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) headed by former President Omar Al Bashir "using all available means".

In the following years, the United Popular Front coalition of eastern Sudanese factions and the National Umma Party's faction led by Nasreldin El Hadi joined the alliance. The SLM-AW, who was reportedly regarded with suspicion in the SRF, withdrew.

In March 2017, the SPLM-N split into two factions, after Nuba rebel leader Abdelaziz El Hilu resigned. The faction headed by Malik Agar is stationed in Blue Nile state, and is still part of the SRF. The SPLM-N El Hilu continued fighting the government of Al Bashir from the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, and separately joined the peace talks in Juba.

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