Talks on Sudan's Two Areas delayed for 24 hours

Addis Ababa
November 16, 2014 (Sudan Tribune)

The African Union mediation has delayed a decisive meeting between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) for 24 hours in order to allow the latter to conduct further consultations.

The meeting between the warring parties in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states had been set for Sunday evening to endorse a draft framework agreement prepared by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

On Saturday the two negotiating teams agreed on all the contentious issues paving the way for the signing of the framework agreement. However Khartoum maintained its refusal to mention the Paris Declaration in the deal.

A member of the rebel delegation confirmed to Sudan Tribune the delay, saying they received the draft framework agreement late, pointing they need to study it and hold consultations before to ink it.

"Also we need to hold conduct more consultations with our allies in the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) before the signing, because we have one process with two tracks," the SPLM-N source said.

"Such discussions are crucial for a successful process," he added.

The SRF groups established a coordination committee chaired by Minni Minnawi to supervise the positions of the negotiating teams.

The peace plan of the African Union Peace and Security Council provides that the SPLM-N holds separate talks for a cessation of hostilities and security arrangement in the Two Areas, as rebel groups in Darfur region and the government hold similar discussions to end war in western Sudan.

Reports from Khartoum say pro-government media organs released reports saying divisions within the SRF rebels led to delay the process.

Also, the semi-official SMC published a report saying that American diplomats in Addis Ababa met with the SPLM-N chief negotiator Yasir Arman and advised him to not sign the draft agreement.

The media which is allegedly linked to the Sudanese intelligence service further said that the spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating team,Mubarabk Ardol, confirmed the meeting but refused to comment it.

However in a short statement on Sunday, Ardol denied he had spoken to the SMC, adding this "report is baseless and intends to blackmail" the SPLM-N.

The two negotiating delegations will meet on 11:00 o’clock, local time, to discuss the draft agreement.

Observers at the venue of the talks say the mediation has to find the right words to express this important agreement, adding that "no-one will be satisfied with approximations".

The talks with the Darfur rebel groups are expected to start on 22 November.


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