EU welcomes Sudan, rebels talks but calls for end of hostilities

April 24, 2013 (Radio Dabanga)

EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs welcomed via her spokesperson the imminent start of direct negotiations between the Sudanese government and the rebel group SPLM-North.

However, Catherine Ashton, who is also vice president of the European Commission, is calling on both parties "to address the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access and a longer term political solution to their conflict".

The talks that began on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa follow the signing of the Implementation Matrix on 12 March and direct contacts at the highest level between Sudan and South Sudan.

In line with reporting by Radio Tamazuj, the head of the Sudanese delegation, Ibrahim Ghandour al-Mahdi, noted that the talks will only be in relation to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The SPLM-N spokesman, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, responded that limiting the talks in this way creates further obstacles than solutions.

The armed conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has affected almost a million people and caused the displacement of 200,000 refugees to neighboring countries.

Ashton urged the parties to continue their positive engagement to resolve all outstanding issues and noted the EU "remains ready to provide support."


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