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Sudan says ready to resume Two Areas peace talks

KHARTOUM – The Sudanese government has expressed readiness to resume peace talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) on the Two Areas.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Tuesday quoted the spokesperson of the government negotiating team Hussein Hamdi as saying they have constant contacts with the African Union and the international community to resume the talks.

He added “peace is a strategic goal and moral principle for the government”, saying the government team is ready to resume negotiations.

Hamdi pointed out that the rift within the SPLM-N has caused the delay of the talks, saying they are waiting to resolve the issue and determine who would represent the Movement at the negotiating table.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

Talks between the Sudanese government and SPLM-N for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

In September, Abdel-Rahman Abu Median, member of the government negotiating team, said they wouldn’t negotiate with an SPLM-N Agar faction, pointing the group has no ability to implement what will be agreed upon.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu has a similar point of view as they say there is no split within the rebel movement, but only a change of leadership stressing they have the SPLA-N support.

On the other hand, the SPLM-N Agar recognizes the rift and proposes to form a joint delegation. If this proposal is rejected they propose to coordinate with the SPLM-N al-Hilu.

The African mediators met the two factions last August, but they didn’t fix a clear position on the matter, while the facilitators from the Troika countries and the European Union also didn’t determine a unified position on the matter.

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