Kassala / Port Sudan — The Wali (Governor) of Kassala, Saleh Ammar, has proposed an initiative to achieve peace and social coexistence in eastern Sudan "as a result of recent violence in the region and the importance of social coexistence."
Ammar announced the proposal in a written statement yesterday.
One of the seven parts of the proposal is to organise a meeting between the governor and Sayed Tirik, Chairman of the Beja Nazirs* Council and Nazir of the Hadendawa clan. The meeting will be arranged by the heads of the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers.
Tirik is leading the opposition against the eastern Sudan track protocol that is part of the comprehensive peace agreement signed in Juba on October 3.
In his written initiative, the governor declared his readiness to accept all possible alternatives to ensure progress of the track. He explained that he means to include the rights of political and societal components and resistance committees in the state.
He said that the Eastern Sudan's People Conference stipulated in the peace agreement protocol is the key to the solution to the crisis, calling for the formation of a committee that includes representatives of all eastern Sudanese communities.
He stressed that an agreement between him and Tirik on participation and comprehensive representation in the conference will be made, provided that this is preceded by a joint message by him and Tirik about recent events in the region and underlining "the importance of social cohesion".
Until the conference is held, the decision to keep the governor of Kassala in his post will hold, the statement said. Since his appointment, Ammar has faced discontent from some groups.
The initiative also included a proposal to stop the escalation of social violence and racist hate speech on social media.
In Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, protestors slowly began to return to the southern port after a three-day break, with sit-ins continuing in that area. The Beja Council opened ports and roads yesterday and today in response to a request from the President of the Sovereign Council.
The head of the Sovereign Council is yet to respond to the demands of the Beja Nazirs Council.
"The cessation of the protests is subject to response to the decisions made in the Sinkat Conference, including the abolition of the eastern Sudan protocol in the peace agreement," according to Abdallah Obshar, the rapporteur of the Beja Nazirs Council.
'Accumulation of grievances'
On October 5, the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change in Red Sea state said that what is happening in eastern Sudan in general and Red Sea state in particular is the result of the accumulation of grievances in the region, "which requires our government to rethink its policies concerning the region's issues".
According to Obshar, members of the group that represented eastern Sudan during the peace negotiations in Juba have no historical or geographical ties to the region and do not even speak the Beja language**.
"The eastern track signed in Juba is a clear encroachment to the Beja tribe because the group which represented eastern Sudan during the negotiations have not had any relationships with the area whatsoever. They are a group of individuals which had been receiving support from the previous administration to change the demography of the Beja area," Obshar told VOAnews earlier this week.
"Our area has been witnessing marginalisation and exclusion since the independence of the country; it is still being practiced against our people, and the worst is now they are trying to change our demography and do away with our identity. This is one of the dangerous series of plans that is facing the people of eastern Sudan."
On October 7, the Beja Conference-Armed Struggle, the Beja Opposition Conference, and the United Popular Front stated that the eastern Sudan Track agreement "brings great gains to all the people of the East, and will contribute to solving the deep-rooted problems in the region.
"However, serious work has to be done to show the people the gains of the agreement and give ownership to all people in eastern Sudan."
* A nazir is a state-appointed administrative chief of a tribe, according to the Native Administration system in Sudan.
** The Beni Amer and El Habab clans speak Tigre, not Beja.
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