Sudan-rebel peace talks set to resume

2014-02-25 22:04
President Omar al-Bashir (Picture: AFP)

President Omar al-Bashir (Picture: AFP)

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Khartoum - The African Union (AU) said on Tuesday it hopes a resumption of peace talks between Khartoum and rebels this week will lead to their joining a broader dialogue about Sudan's political future.

The AU-brokered negotiations are to resume in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, after a first round adjourned on 18 February without a single face-to-face meeting between the combatants.

"This week we will continue the negotiations between Sudan and SPLM-North, and hope that this will open the door for the movement to join the national dialogue process," AU chief mediator Thabo Mbeki told reporters after meeting President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.

Bashir's assistant Ibrahim Ghandour, who is also Sudan's chief negotiator, said the talks would resume on Thursday.

Ethnic rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North have been fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states for nearly three years, a war which has affected more than one million civilians, according to the UN.

Like the decade-old insurgency in Sudan's western Darfur region, the conflict has been fuelled by complaints among non-Arab minorities of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated regime.

Analysts - along with the rebels themselves - say the conflicts need to be addressed within a comprehensive national framework, not on a piecemeal basis as has been the government's practice in the past.

Bashir has called for a wide-ranging national dialogue, including with armed rebels, but government negotiators want the Addis Ababa talks to focus only on South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

A peace deal for the two states "will support the national dialogue process”, Ghandour has said.

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Read more on:    au  |  omar al-bashir  |  thabo mbeki  |  sudan  |  north africa
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