Africa 9.9.2016 02:59 pm

Mbeki expected in Sudan if peace talks resume

FILE PICTURE: Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Photo by Gallo Images / Business Day / Puxley Makgatho)

FILE PICTURE: Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Photo by Gallo Images / Business Day / Puxley Makgatho)

Mbeki chairs the AU’s High level Implementation Panel on Sudan.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the chief negotiator of Sudanese peace talks, may soon travel to Khartoum if expected peace talks between the Sudanese government and warring opposition groups resume.

The Sudan Tribune reported on Thursday that government spokesperson and Information Minister Ahmed Al Balal explained that the international community was involved in efforts to promote a cessation of hostilities, and humanitarian access agreements, by attempting to persuade armed opposition groups to sign on to these agreements.

Al Balal said if these efforts succeeded, Mbeki, who chairs the African Union High level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan, would arrive in the capital to discuss the resumption of the negotiations.

“This year is the year of the final negotiations, so there is a need to reach understandings that satisfy all the parties,” Al Balal added.

“Last month, the AUHIP suspended sine die the talks for a humanitarian truce in Darfur and the Two Areas (Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states) after the parties failed to reach a deal,” reported the Tribune.

However, a week later, Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, who heads the negotiating team for the talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), said the AU decided on the resumption of the peace talks within two weeks without further details.

Mbeki has remained tight-lipped about developments, declining an interview with the African News Agency (ANA) to discuss political developments in Sudan.

His spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga told ANA Mbeki wouldn’t be granting media interviews at this point in time and neither would he be commenting on Sudan, as the matter was sensitive and they preferred not to involve the media.

Meanwhile, informed sources told the Tribune that the opposition Sudan Call groups prefer to resume peace talks during the last week of September, as they first want to hold a one-week consultation meeting.

The sources added the opposition Sudan Call alliance would hold their meeting after Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, which ends on September 25.

The alliance wants to coordinate their respective positions before the strategic meeting on other confidence-building measures in Khartoum.

On August 8, Sudanese Revolutionary factions and the National Umma Party signed the Roadmap Agreement, five months after previously rejecting it.

In a statement issued after the suspension of the talks, the mediation said an agreement on the Two Areas was only impeded by the difference over humanitarian access.

However, it pointed to several obstacles preventing the signing of a deal on Darfur, reported the Tribune.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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