Sudan’s SPLM leaders meet in South Kordofan, call for third-party talks
July 23, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)
The leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in north Sudan has conducted a meeting in the war-stricken state of South Kordofan and concluded that any future talks on addressing the situation in the area must be held outside Sudan and through a third party.
SPLM-North forces have been fighting Sudanese army in South Kordofan state which borders the newly independent state of South Sudan since 5 June, after contesting the result of gubernatorial elections held last May.
Malik Aggar, SPLM’s chairman, Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, SPLM’s vice-chairman, and Yasir Arman, SPLM’s secretary-general, held a two-day meeting on 20-21 July at undisclosed location in SouthKordofan to assess the political, military and humanitarian situation in the state.
SPLM leaders in a press statement released on Friday stressed that they would only negotiate with the ruling party through a third party and outside Sudan, citing the NCP’s rejection of a deal signed earlier this month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on new security and political arrangements in South Kordofan as an evidence for the need of a third party.
A framework agreement signed on 28 June between the SPLM and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) under the mediation of the African Union (AU) to deescalate the situation in South Kordofan was overruled on 7 July by Sudan president Omer Al-Bashir who appeared unhappy with the deal’s recognition of the SPLM as a legal political party in the north.
Al-Bashir directed the army to sustain South Kordofan offensive until the state is “purged” and Abdul Azizi Al-Hilu is arrested.
"The negotiation strategy will be based on the key uncompromised principal that the SPLM-North is a Sudanese national movement that seeks to change the policies of the center in Khartoum and to build a new center for the benefit of all Sudanese people regardless of their religion, gender or ethnicity background," the release said.
The SPLM renewed its commitment to Addis Ababa agreement, saying that the NCP leadership “takes the full responsibility for what results from its rejection of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement, especially its insistence on war as a means to resolve the dispute.”
Furthermore, the SPLM said its meeting had constituted a committee to decide whether to adopt a regime change strategy in dealing with the NCP or seeking change through a national consensus program agreed upon by all political forces.
It added that the committee would come up with an answer within one month.
South Kordofan fighting has displaced more than 70,000 people and killed hundreds, according to UN agencies estimate.
The meeting has echoed accusations of committing massive atrocities against the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), including “ethnic cleansing” during South Kordofan conflict.
SPLM-North leaders went to announce that a senior delegation of the party would engage in a shuttle policy between international organizations to advocate the demand for the establishment of an independent international committee of enquiry to investigate war crimes and ethnic cleansing in South Kordofan.
“The NCP uses of state resources, the army and associated militias against the people of the South Kordofan, and the continued deployment of the forces of the Sudan Army in an internal conflict, questions the legitimacy of the state and party which can do such acts,” the release added.
A leaked report produced by the UN Mission in Sudan concluded that the acts committed by SAF and its allied paramilitary forces amounts to “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” suggesting a possible referral of the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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