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TheArabWeekly.com: Sudan government signs peace deal with rebels

Posted by: Berhane.Habtemariam59@web.de

Date: Monday, 31 August 2020

Monday 31/08/2020
Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok lift copies of the peace agreement with the country's rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan, August 31. (REUTERS)
Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok lift copies of the peace agreement with the country's rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan, August 31. (REUTERS)

KHARTOUM--Sudan’s government signed a peace agreement with the country’s five key rebel groups on Monday, a significant step in the transitional leadership’s goal of resolving multiple, deep-rooted civil conflicts.

The rebel groups that signed the deal include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), both of the western region of Darfur, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar, present in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an umbrella organisation of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, raised their fists in celebration after inking the deal.

The agreement, struck in the capital of neighbouring South Sudan, was “initialled” and not signed, as a way to leave the door open for two key holdout rebel groups to join in a “final” agreement, officials said.

“I congratulate all in Sudan on reaching a historic comprehensive peace that addressed the roots of the problem and ended the war, God willing,” said Gibril Ibrahim, commander of one of rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

He paid tribute to all those killed or affected by the long years of war.

Sudanese paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo — best known by his nickname “Hemeti”, and who commanded fighters in the war — signed the deal on behalf of Khartoum.

Daglo and the leaders of the rebel movements grouped together and shook hands — and briefly danced together.

“We have started the real transformation of Sudan from dictatorship to democracy,” Faisal Mohammed Salih, Sudan’s information minister, told AFP, at the ceremony in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan.

But while celebrating the deal, he said there was also still a long way to go.

“We know that we are going to face some problems when we start to move this (deal) from paper to the ground… but we have that political will,” Salih said.

Forging peace with rebels has been a cornerstone of Sudan’s transitional government, which came to power in the months after the overthrow of Bashir in April 2019.

Both General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of a sovereign council, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, were also at the ceremony in Juba.

Malik Agar, rebel chief of the SPLM-N faction that agreed to the deal, called on his comrades still fighting to lay down their arms.

“I announce from this platform the end of the war,” Agar said in a speech, calling on Nour and Hilu to “not miss this historic opportunity”.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several ministers flew to Juba on Sunday, the Sudanese news agency SUNA said Sunday. He  met there with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

The final agreement covers key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes due to war.

It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army.

Hamdok said that finding a deal had taken longer than first hoped after a initial agreement in September 2019.

he final agreement covers key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes due to war.

It also provides for the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army.

Hamdok said that finding a deal had taken longer than first hoped after a initial agreement in September 2019.

suda map

“At the Juba declaration in September, everyone expected peace to be signed within two or three months, but …we realised that the questions were of one great complexity,” Hamdok said.

“However, we were able to accomplish this great work, and this is the start of peace-building.”

The rebel forces took up arms against what they said was the economic and political marginalisation by the government in Khartoum.

They are largely drawn from non-Arab minority groups that long railed against Arab domination of successive governments in Khartoum, including that of toppled autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

About 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since rebels took up arms there in 2003, according to the United Nations.

Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile erupted in 2011, following unresolved issues from bitter fighting there in Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.

Forging peace with rebels has been a cornerstone of Sudan’s transitional government, which came to power in the months after Bashir’s overthrow in April 2019 on the back of mass protests against his rule.

The two movements that rejected part of the deal were a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdelwahid Nour, and a wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu.

Previous peace accords in Sudan, including one signed in Nigeria in 2006 and another signed in Qatar in 2010, have fallen through over the years.


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