The Sudanese government and the People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM) have agreed on Friday to resume negotiations in Juba after a two-week suspension. This came in a statement issued by the media office of the Council of Ministers and signed by both Prime Minister Hamdok and SPLM leader Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, according to Anadolu Agency.
The statement revealed that both parties have agreed: “To hold unofficial workshops to discuss differential issues, like the problematic relationship between religion and state and self-determination, in order to reach a mutual understanding that facilitates the mission of the official negotiation groups.”
They also agreed that the negotiations will be hosted by South Sudan, and under the Juba mediation, as well as putting in place a roadmap to define the approach of the negotiations. The participation of regional and international partners will also be valuable.
This step came two days after Hamdok invited the SPLM and the Sudan Liberation Army movement to join the peace deal.
Hamdok’s invitation came immediately after returning from Juba, where an initiative peace treaty was signed with the armed Revolutionary Front that guarantees eight protocols, most prominently, sharing power, wealth and transitional justice.
In the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Hamdok and Al-Hilu have agreed on Thursday on the importance to fully recognise racial and cultural variation in Sudan and to lawfully fulfil equality.
In another statement, they disclosed that they agreed to “establish a democratic state in Sudan” where “the constitution is based on separation of religion from state, self-determination and freedom of religion.”
The statement added that: “The state cannot have an official religion, and cannot religiously distinguish between Sudanese citizens.”
The Sudanese prime minister arrived on Wednesday to the Ethiopian capital to meet the SPLM chairperson, hoping to break the ice of the stagnant negotiations in Juba.
On 20 August, the SPLM had quit the negotiations as a protest to Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the vice president of the Sovereignty Council, being a chairman of the governmental negotiation delegation.
In the talks with Sudanese government, the SPLM demands that secularism is explicitly mentioned in the constitution, or endorsing self-determination to the people of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Both provinces have seen fights between the SPLM and the government since June 2011.