| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Sudan says progress made in peace talks with rebel leader

Sudanese Authorities called off talks with the country’s most prominent rebel commander on Tuesday, saying they had reached an agreement on more than three-quarters of a framework peace plan.

Following the fall of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, a settlement with Abdelaziz al-Sudan Hilu’s People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) would be a significant step in resolving Sudan’s decades-long internal strife.

Last year, some rebels from the south and Darfur’s troublesome western area signed what was supposed to be a comprehensive peace pact.

But al-Hilu, who has control over significant forces and territory from his stronghold in South Kordofan, held out, as did the leader of the most active Darfur group, Abdel Wahed el-Nur.

Earlier this year, the SPLM-N and Sudan signed a declaration of principles to guarantee freedom of worship and separate religion from the state — a key demand for al-Hilu.

That paved the way for peace talks that have been held over recent weeks in the capital of neighboring South Sudan, Juba.

Sudan’s ruling council, formed under a military-civilian power-sharing deal after Bashir’s ouster, cited the lead negotiator at the talks as saying all but four out of 19 points had been resolved. A senior SPLM-N official said more than three-quarters of a framework deal had been agreed.

Mohammad Kuku, a spokeswoman for the SPLM-N, declined to comment on the issues of contention, adding that discussion will continue until the next round of discussions.

SPLM-N operates in a region populated primarily by minority Christians and indigenous peoples who have long complained of persecution by Khartoum and Bashir’s Islamist administration.

Bashir controlled Sudan for 30 years until being deposed by the military in the wake of huge protests against his regime.

  • Reuters