Mbeki adjourns talks on Sudan's Two Areas for more consultations

Addis Ababa
November 17, 2014 (Sudan Tribune)

African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki announced on Monday the adjournment of peace talks on the Blue Nile and South Kordofan conflict, saying there is a need to better prepare the framework agreement.

The announcement watered down hopes that transpired on Saturday when the two parties reached a compromise on all the contentious issues and tasked the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) with the writing of a new version of the draft agreement.

Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki told the press conference that the parties felt the need to conduct consultations and reflection on the elements of the draft agreement and agreed "to adjourn before to resume as quick as possible".

He said that the AUHIP "prepared some additional documents to help the both parties (to conduct these consultations ad reflection)", adding that some additional elements "may seem necessary to conclude this agreement".

"So it is important for the both sides to consult and to reflect on these proposals and any either elements the parties see important. So that after few days as quick as possible they will resume," he said.

Sources close the negotiations said the latest version submitted by the mediation did not reflect the compromise reached by the two negotiating parties on Saturday.

During a meeting between the two delegations on Monday, the SPLM-N demanded to better mirror the comprehensive character of the process as it is designed in the decision 456 of the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Also, members of the government delegation reported that the adjournment intends to hold a joint signing ceremony for the two tracks of the Two Areas and Darfur.

However, when asked by Sudan Tribune, the chief mediator dismissed this prospect saying there should be coordination and synchronisation but that does not necessarily mean simultaneous signing of the two framework agreements.

Mbeki said talks between the government and Darfur rebel groups will start a day later than planned on 23 November, with both the Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) due to participate in the process.

The heads of the two negotiating teams, Ibrahim Ghandour and Yasir Arman, reiterated their commitment to the process and vowed to finalise the framework agreement which paves the way for the signing of a cessation of hostilities and the participation of the rebel groups in the dialogue process.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said last October that the talks with the rebel groups and the preparatory meetings for the national dialogue should terminate as soon as possible, adding the whole process should end before April 2015, the date of the general elections.

In Khartoum on Sunday, a delegation of the national dialogue committee headed by the presidential assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed met with the head of the opposition National Consensus Forces, Farouq Abu Issa and handed him an invitation to participate in the national dialogue.

The dialogue steering mechanism, 7+7 committee, will arrive before the end of this month to Addis Ababa to meet with the rebel delegations and to invite them to the national dialogue process.


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