Arman accuses Sudan gov't of sabotaging African peace efforts

October 6, 2014 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) accused president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of seeking to shuffle off national dialogue and abort efforts of the African Union to bring about peace in the country.

The SPLM-N secretary general, Yasser Arman, told Sudan Tribune that the head of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, did not suggest postponement of talks between his movement and the government on the Two Areas, as it was said by the Sudanese government.

He pointed that Mbeki invited the two parties to start talks on 14 October, stressing the government's chief negotiator, Ibrahim Ghandour, apologized for being unable to make the date under the pretext that some government negotiators are engaged in preparations for the NCP's general convention besides presence of several others in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

On Sunday, Ghandour announced that talks with the SPLM-N on the Two Areas have been postponed until after 25 October, stating engagement of some members of his delegation in preparations for the NCP's convention besides absence of several others who are currently performing Hajj.

Due to these circumstances, the head of the African Union mediation team proposed to delay the meeting for a dozen of days, the presidential assistant said.

But the rebel leader accused the government of preparing for war, saying "Khartoum is actually mobilising for war and seeks to abort efforts of Mbeki and African Peace and Security Council (APSC)".

Arman further called upon the international community to seriously deal with these developments which threat the ongoing efforts to end war, end the suffering of the war affected civilians and promote democratic transition in the east African nation.

"This move [delay of talks] had killed the proposed program [submitted by Mbeki]. This is a direct blow and a deliberate act to abort the efforts of the AU and the Sudanese efforts to hold the national dialogue and achieve peace and agreement," he added.

He stressed the delay of talks was a result of the recent address of "Gen. Bashir", adding that the ruling party seeks to abort peace efforts and prepare for war besides rigging of elections.

On 27 September, the Sudanese president said the government will not allow rebel groups to exercise any political action or to establish alliance with the opposition forces in Sudan, noting that rebels have to lay down their arms before to come to Khartoum and engage in political activities.

Bashir also clearly underscored that the separate talks with rebels will be based on the 2005 peace agreement (CPA) for the SPLM-N and the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) for Darfur rebel groups.

The talks on the South Kordofan and Blue Nile "will only consider a single item which is the reintegration and demobilisation of the (rebel) combatants in the Two Areas, as the rest of issues are included in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," the president said.

The SPLM-N secretary general said that government militias are currently heading towards the Blue Nile state and that 10.000 militiamen were called up in South Kordofan state. Also, he pointed that the government developed a military operations plan for Darfur region.

Arman was alluding to statement by a Sudanese army general on 2 October saying that, the army will resume military operation on the rebel positions with the end of the wet season.
The commander of the 14th infantry division in South Kordofan state capital of Kadugli, Maj. Gen. Abdel-Hadi Abdallah Osman, said during the graduation ceremony of 500 soldiers that the second phase of the decisive military summer campaign will be launched within a few days.

Arman described Bashir a "warmonger", saying he actually evaded dialogue because he realised that political forces are seeking to hold genuine dialogue which will not allow for reproducing the NCP's old governance project.

Bashir's recent remarks had also drawn criticism from political parties which agreed to participate in the dialogue initiative he launched last January.

On Wednesday, the leader of the Reform Now Movement (RNM), Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Attabani, described Bashir's on the national dialogue as "negative development" holding the NCP responsible for them.

He said the president's remarks underscores fears of the Sudanese people that the government's call for dialogue was nothing but a "public relations exercise" to pass NCP's agendas and hold elections according to its conditions and interests.


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