June 10, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government Saturday said differences within the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) would obstruct peace talks and exacerbate the suffering of residents of the Two Areas.
The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.
Sharp differences have emerged within the SPLM-N since last March when the Movement’s deputy chairman Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu tendered his resignation and criticised SPLM-N’s chairman Malik Agar and Secretary General Yasser Arman.
On Wednesday, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC), an SPLM-N regional body, decided to install al-Hilu as temporary chairman of the Movement, to relieve Agar from the leadership of the armed group together with Arman, and to prevent them from entering the SPLM-N controlled areas.
However, Agar rejected the move describing it as a “coup d’état if it succeeds will pave the way for other coups to come after”.
The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Saturday quoted the government’s spokesperson
SPLM-N internal divisions hinder Sudan’s peace talks: spokesperson –
Ahmed Bilal Osman as saying they are fully ready to resume peace talks after it has accepted the U.S. proposal to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected in the Two Areas.
He pointed that the timeframe given by the African mediation to the SPLM-N is sufficient to resume the talks within the coming days; calling on the Movement to resolve its internal differences, which he said represent the greatest obstacle to achieve peace in the Two Areas.
The African Union is brokering peace talks between the Sudanese government and opposition including the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas. Last April, SPLM-N announced they agreed with the African Union chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, to postpone peace talks to next July.
Osman further said the Movement continues to stick to its negative stance towards peace despite efforts exerted by the regional and international community, adding “the government is ready to resume negotiations at any time so that the people of the Two Areas could enjoy full security and stability”.
Talks between the government and the Movement for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since last August. The SPLM-N demands to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.
But the government rejects the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.
The SPLM-N last November declined an American proposal to transport humanitarian medical assistance directly to the civilians in the rebel-held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.