AU invites Sudan to rejoin peace talks with SPLM-N: Minister

Sudan considers Ethiopia a strategic partner and Africa union has invited Sudan to join peace talks

AU invites Sudan to rejoin peace talks with SPLM-N: Minister
World Bulletin / News Desk
 Sudan has been invited by the African Union to rejoin stalled peace talks with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a Sudanese cabinet minister said Tuesday.

"We accepted the invitation and are awaiting a specific date," State Information Minister Yassir Yusouf told a news conference held on the premises of Anadolu Agency's Addis Ababa bureau.

AU chief negotiator Thabo Mbeki recently declared that peace talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N were taking an indefinite recess.

According to Yusouf, the Sudanese government has reiterated that the mandate given its negotiating delegation was limited to issues related to Sudan's flashpoint South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

"All other issues should be addressed under the ongoing national dialogue," said Yusouf, who will be accompanied by a media delegation that includes Sudan Journalists' Association head Al-Sadiq Rezege; Sudanese Radio and Television Corporation CEO Semeww al-Khalifala; and Sudanese News Agency head Awad Jaden.

Since 2011, the SPLM-N has waged an active insurgency against the Sudanese government in the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Outlawed by Khartoum, the movement consists mainly of fighters who sided with the south during Sudan's decades-long civil war. That conflict ended with a 2005 peace treaty that paved the way for South Sudan's secession from Sudan six years later.

In recent weeks, the SPLM-N has engaged in Ethiopia-hosted peace talks with the Sudanese government, which have yet to produce any breakthroughs.

Yusouf said that Sudan's national dialogue initiative would continue, despite the refusal of certain parties to take part.

"Without exception, all parties and stakeholders have been invited to take part in the national dialogue," he asserted. "It [dialogue] will never stop for missing parties."

Sudan is slated to hold a general election in February.

"So far, 13 million of the country's 23 million eligible voters have registered," Yusouf said, going on to reiterate the government's commitment to holding credible elections.

"Seventeen parties have been confirmed to compete in the polls," he said.

-Nile cooperation-

The Sudanese minister also addressed the sensitive issue of water-sharing between Nile Basin states.

"[Sudan believes] that no country should be affected by the Nile project," Yusouf said. "This has been Sudan's stated position for years."

In recent years, tension has marred relations between Ethiopia and Egypt due to a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile's upper reaches.

Egypt fears the Ethiopian dam could affect its traditional share of Nile water, which has long been determined by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty that Addis Ababa has never recognized.

Ethiopia, for its part, insists the project won't affect Egypt's water supply.

Relations, however, began to improve between Cairo and Addis Ababa in recent weeks, with the two countries agreeing to resume tripartite talks, along with downstream country Sudan.

The agreement was struck after Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met in Equatorial Guinea in June.

According to Yusouf, the partnership between Sudan and Ethiopia runs deep.

"Sudan views Ethiopia as a strategic partner," he said.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Aralık 2014, 10:06