Sudanese government blames SPLM-N al-Hilu for failure of peace talks

February 05, 2018 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudanese government has blamed the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) for the setback of the recent round of talks on a cessation of hostilities agreement after the rebel focus on delivery of humanitarian assistance from neighbouring countries.

"The government’s negotiations with the SPLM failed to reach an agreement on the delivery of humanitarian relief across the border (from neighbouring countries)," said Ibrahim Mahmoud Presidential Assistant and head of government negotiating team for peace in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states upon his return at Khartoum airport from Addis Ababa on Monday.

The Sudanese official stressed that the rebel delegation "stuck to an old issue", describing their position as an "attempt to obstruct efforts to reach an agreement".

He reiterated that the position of his government is clear as it only accepts the delivery of humanitarian aid through the official borders and ports.

He added that the SPLM-N wanted to control the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the rebel-held areas without the government’s knowledge or supervision.

"How can we know that the humanitarian aid does not include weapons, ammunition or other prohibited items if there is no control and imposition of the state’s sovereignty?"

Following a four-day meeting from 1-4 February, the African Union mediation said each party "declared and extended" a cessation of hostilities and vowed to convene them at a later date to continue the talks.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu demands a humanitarian deal similar to Bürgenstock Agreement which was negotiated and signed by its leader who at the time represented the SPLM.

"What is new? Why did the government accepts the multiple (humanitarian) corridors in 2002 and rejects it today? We accept the entry of humanitarian aid from multiple routes, apart from inside and another part coming from abroad? This is our position, and it is constant," said Amar Amom SPLM-N al-Hilu secretary-general and chief negotiator during a video interview on the Facebook page of Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) on 16 October 2017.

On 19 January 2002 in Switzerland, Abdel Aziz al-Hilu signed a cease-fire and relief and rehabilitation agreement with the government brokered by the United Nations. According to the signed deal, the parties agreed to "facilitate humanitarian assistance through the opening up of humanitarian corridors" from inside or outside the country.

Mahmoud urged the armed groups to determine their positions and to sign peace agreements "because time is not in their interest and will lose their chance to participate in the elections 2020."


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