Peace talks should be postponed and US sanctions against the Sudanese government should not be lifted, the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) said yesterday.
The request came at a meeting of the African Union’s High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, from the Chairman of the movement, Malik Agar. He told the head of the panel, Thabo Mbeki, that talks with the Sudanese government should be delayed to allow the movement to resolve its internal differences.
It follows the resignation, last month, of the deputy chairman, Abdel Aziz Al-Hiliu, who complained that the talks did not include the question of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains.
Aghar called for the meeting to be held in July 2017 to achieve calm in his movement and resume talks after the fasting month of Ramadan. He also called on the American delegation, led by the special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan of the United Nations, Nicholas Fink Haysom, to delay the permanent lifting of sanctions on Sudan for another six month period.
The SPLM-N further called on the US administration to delay the lifting of sanctions for another six-month period, and to closely link it to the humanitarian issues, end of war, the ending of human rights violations, restoring freedoms and achieve democratic transformation, preventing attacks on Sudanese Christians and protect their rights and the release of political prisoners
the statement said.
The official spokesman for the movement, Mubarak Ardol, also “requested President Mbeki to wait before presenting any new ideas in his report to the African Union Peace and Security Council until he meets with the Sudan Call and to and take into account its positions.”
Sudan Call is a group of opposition parties who agreed to work with the SPLM-N to secure a peaceful resolution to the armed conflict. After a series of talks with Sudanese government officials earlier this month, Mbeki announced that he would convene a meeting with the opposition Sudan Call groups followed by a meeting with the High Implementation Committee (HIC) to discuss the outcome of the government-led national dialogue process.
But the opposition groups, including the SPLM-N, rejected the idea in favour of discussing the Roadmap Agreement signed with the Sudanese government.
The opposition group has also rejected an American proposal to transport medical assistance to the rebel-held areas via Sudan instead of the group’s demand that 20 per cent of humanitarian aid be transported through a direct corridor from Asosa in Ethiopia.
The AUHIP meeting is expected to continue until Thursday this week.