Sudan govt, SPLM-N agree to keep talking peace

Both sides sent delegations to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday to resume talks that broke down in May

Sudan govt, SPLM-N agree to keep talking peace

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said Thursday that they had agreed to continue peace talks.

Both sides sent delegations to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday to resume talks that broke down in May.

Mediated by the African Union's High-level Implementation Panel for Sudan, which is headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, the talks aim to make peace between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N, which since 2011 have been fighting each other in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Following a Thursday meeting in Addis Ababa, the two sides told the media that they had agreed on the principles that would guide future negotiations.  

"We have agreed to start from where we left off in the previous [negotiation] session in May," Ibrahim Gandour, special advisor to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and head of Khartoum's delegation to the talks, said.

"We have also agreed to review the position we took at the previous session," he added.  

At their meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Gandour said, the two delegations had also discussed how to reach a ceasefire, humanitarian issues and national dialogue.

In January, Sudan's al-Bashir had called for a national dialogue between his government and opposition forces.

On Wednesday, Gandour called on Sudan's political parties to join the national dialogue.

The opposition, however, was not convinced.

"A comprehensive cease-fire from the Blue Nile to the Nuba Mountains and Darfur should come first, before the national dialogue starts," SPLM-N spokesman Mubarak Ardol said.

Nevertheless, Ardol agreed with Gandour regarding the "positive spirit" in which talks were conducted in Addis Ababa.

"They [the talks] were cordial," Ardol said, noting that the two sides would hold further discussions on Friday.

He said the SPLM-N delegation had provided its government counterpart with a report detailing its vision for the fresh round of talks.

Ardol added that his rebel movement was still awaiting the government's response to the document.

Since 2011, the SPLM-N has waged an active insurgency against the Sudanese government in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Outlawed by Khartoum, the movement consists mainly of fighters who sided with southern Sudan during the nation's long civil war. That conflict ended with a 2005 peace treaty that opened the door to South Sudan's secession from Sudan six years later.

On Wednesday, Mbeki said he was convinced of the importance of al-Bashir's proposed national dialogue initiative.

In fact, he said, the current round of talks was inextricably linked to national dialogue.

The last round of talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N broke down in May.

 

Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2014, 22:40
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