Government, SPLM-N al-Hilu kick off talks on truce in Sudan’s Two Areas

February 1, 2018 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu Thursday handed over their proposals on an agreement to end the fighting in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

The two delegations resumed talks for a cessation of hostilities agreement in the Two Areas for the first time since 16 months when they failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement in August 2016. The SPLM-N delegation, at the time, demanded that 20 % of the emergency relief be delivered directly to the rebel-controlled areas from Ethiopia.

This time, the mediation delinked between the truce and the humanitarian assistance. This round of talks is only about the end of hostilities.

According to the official news agency SUNA, the chief mediator and head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki received the proposal of the two parties.

On Friday, the mediation will present a draft agreement to the parties based on their proposal and they will start discussions on the basis of their initial positions.

The government delegation spokesperson Hassan Hamid said Mbeki told the two parties the mediation would study the two proposals and would present a harmonized one at a meeting to start at 10 am on Friday.

The Sudanese government officials have emphasised that this 14 round of talks would begin from where the talks had stopped during the past round. They added the discussions this time should focus on the remaining 15% of the agenda as they had agreed on 85%.

Sources close to the talks in Addis Ababa said the government in its paper spoke about a cessation of hostilities paving the way for a comprehensive ceasefire agreement.

Several observers at the venue of the talks said they remain optimistic on the signing of an agreement.

The mediation excluded the SPLM-N Agar from the talks on the cessation of hostilities saying only al-Hilu faction controls the rebel areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.


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