A comprehensive peace agreement that would set Sudan on a path to political stability and economic recovery appeared feasible as the transition government and rebel groups entered a second day of negotiations in the South Sudan capital Juba.
Apart from the irony of South Sudan leader Salva Kiir being the mediator—forming an inclusive transition government in Juba by November 12 appears increasing unlikely—the only setback for the Sudan was refusal by Sudan Liberation Movement’s Abdel Wahed Mohamed Nour to honour his invitation.
Another hiccup was concerns by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (RUF) over the venue for the talks as well as the role of the mediator.
“There are important issues related to the peace process that have not yet been resolved, namely the headquarters of the formal negotiations as well as the role of mediation,” said RUF’s peace file official Ahmed Tuggod.
The RUF alliance includes about 6 armed factions and the SPLM (Sector North) led by Abdulaziz Al-Helw and SPLM (Sector North) led by Malik Agar.
The Sudan Revolutionary Front was established in November 2011 following fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces that broke out after South Sudan’s secession from Sudan.
The peace agreement is key to the formation of a Legislative Council—the third organ of the transition government—in which a third of the seats are reserved for rebel movements.
At the inaugural session attended by regional and international’s well wishers led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), the Head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdul Fattah Al Burhan committed the transition government to the peace process.
“All components of the transition government are determined to implement the goals set out in its charter, the first one being peace,” Burhan said.
Newly crowned Nobel Peace laureate Ethiopian Prime MinisterAbi Ahmed, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Kamel Madbouli were in attendance.
Nour’s wing did not sign the Juba Declaration between the transitional government in Sudan and the Sudanese armed and peaceful movements, which was signed in Juba in early September.
The negotiations will be in two phases involving the government, first with a RUF delegation and then with Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) which is led by Abdul Aziz Adam al-Helu.
Mr Tuggod said the negotiations intended to establish the commitments made by parties to the Juba Declaration. The blueprint required the parties to build and implement confidence building measures in line with the Constitutional Document.
The parties also agreed to let the African Peace and Security Council issue a new mandate on the Sudanese peace negotiations which would then be pushed by the African Union for adoption in global political organs including Security Council.
Chad, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Igad and the troika (US, Norway and Britain) and the European Union were also to be involved in the peace building initiative.
Among the envisaged measures was the release of prisoners and convicts, stopping hostilities and humanitarian support which were assigned to task committees for implementation and follow up.
A committee to follow up on the negotiations and co-ordinate the teams involved in the talks, especially facilitation was also to be formed.