Sudanese government and nine rebel groups signed an agreement on a roadmap towards ending the protracted conflict in the Darfur region.
The deal outlines different issues the parties will need to negotiate during the latest round of talks in Juba.
“We believe this is an important step,” said Ahmed Mohamed, the chief negotiator on Darfur matters from the Sudan Revolutionary Front or SRF, a coalition of nine rebel groups involved in talks with the Sudanese government.
“This step no doubt will help the process to achieve a lasting peace in Darfur and also it will enable the transitional process in Sudan to move smoothly without hindrances,” Mohamed told AFP.
Among the issues they agreed to be discussed are the root causes of the conflict, the return of refugees and internally displaced people, power sharing and the integration of rebel forces into the national army.
The deal also announces that the Sudanese government will address land issues, such as the issues of the destruction of property during the conflict.
Khartoum has been negotiating with different rebel groups in the capital of South Sudan for two weeks, in the latest round of efforts to end conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Rebels in these areas fought violent campaigns against marginalisation by Khartoum under ousted president Omar al-Bashir.
The Darfur fighting broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.
“The Council today adopted conclusions on Sudan, recognising the historic opportunity that Sudan’s political transition offers to work towards a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country. (Image above: left Josep Borrell, EU HR)
“The conclusions highlight that Sudan’s success remains crucial for stability in the Horn of Africa and the wider region and reaffirm EU’s commitment, as a key partner, to accompanying Sudan on its political, economic and social reform path, in order to make the transition to democracy a success.
“The Council also highlights that in order to guarantee the long-term stability of the country, the transition should include all elements of society, notably women, youth and people of regions particularly affected by conflict and marginalisation. The importance of civil society is also reiterated.
“In this regard, the Council recalls that only an effective civilian-led government with real decision-making authority will gain the confidence of the Sudanese people and lay the foundations for meaningful reforms. The EU remains ready to assist a Sudanese-led peace process in coordination with regional partners, especially the African Union.
“While acknowledging that substantial macro-economic reforms are needed to revitalise the Sudanese economy and set it on a course towards inclusive and sustainable growth, the Council notes that the EU stands ready to support the transitional government’s plans in this regard.
“While welcoming the recent steps taken by the transition government, the conclusions state that the EU remains concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which has been aggravated by a high number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The EU calls upon the Sudanese authorities to remove the remaining bureaucratic obstacles to the work of humanitarian and development actors.
This week the EU foreign ministers met with Abdallah Hamdok, expressing the EU‘s strong support to accompany the civilian and democratic transition of Sudan.
The European Commission is mobilising €55 million to help vulnerable people caught in humanitarian crises in Sudan. The announcement comes as at least 8 million people in Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 6.3 million not having enough food to meet their needs. One in six children is also suffering from acute undernourishment.
“As the living conditions of millions in Sudan are being strained by the multiple crises faced by the country, the EU is stepping up emergency assistance for those most in need. The EU welcomes recent announcements by the new transitional Sudanese government on its intentions to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Aid must reach all areas of Sudan, including conflict zones” said Abdallah Hamdok, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
Despite a complex operating environment, humanitarian organisations supported by the EU continued to deliver aid in Sudan. Since 2011, the EU has allocated over €518 million in life-saving assistance to people in need in Sudan.
All EU humanitarian aid in Sudan is provided only through humanitarian organisations such as UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations and is strictly monitored.
“The ongoing contacts by the heads of state of the region to bring together President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar to enable the formation of a Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan, scheduled for 12 November, are positive. A functioning inclusive government is what the citizens of South Sudan expect and south Sudan’s neighbours need.
“In line with the UN Security Council Press Statement 6 November, all the South Sudanese parties must now honour their commitments and demonstrate genuine will to build peace in the country. The composition of the Revitalised Transitional Government must respect the provisions of the peace agreement which provides for inclusion of all signatory parties.
“Realistic and sustainable arrangements and deadlines must be set for the immediate implementation of the outstanding pre-transitional tasks, in particular those crucial to prevent a return to violence, such as the security arrangements and the agreement on the number and boundaries of states. The government’s financial commitments to enable the implementation of these tasks must be honoured.
“It is crucial that all the parties publicly reaffirm their commitment to full compliance with the cessation of hostilities agreement of December 2017. Leaders need to strengthen mutual trust and engage in good faith in the reconciliation process.
“Once the parties demonstrate that their commitment to peace is irreversible, the European Union will be ready to provide further support in the implementation of all the chapters of the peace agreement.”
Sudanese judge on formally indicted former President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir for possessing illicit foreign currency and corruption. Al-Bashir was publicly questioned for the first time since his overthrow.
Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman announced at the third session of Bashir‘s trial that foreign funds of various currencies were found at his home.
Authorities had “seized 6.9 million euros, $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at (Bashir’s) home which he acquired and used illegally,” the judge revealed.
Military rulers and the main opposition coalition of Sudan reached an agreement paving the way for a new transitional government, the African Union announced on August 3, after protracted crisis negotiations following the fall of decades long leader Omar al-Bashir (1993 -2019).
The agreement, which defines the frame of the transitional government, was mediated by the African Union and neighbouring Ethiopia in talks that were suspended several times because of street violence in Khartoum and other cities.
“The EU continues to support the African Union and Ethiopian mediation efforts and calls on the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) to set aside their differences and swiftly reach agreement to pave the way for a civilian-led transition in Sudan“ reads the statement by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service on the situation in Sudan.
‘”Further delays risk upsetting the achievements reached so far and could fuel further violence.
“The tragic killing of 8 people earlier this week, among them 5 schoolchildren, taking part in a peaceful demonstration in El Obeid, makes the formation of a transitional government that is broadly supported by the Sudanese people even more urgent.
‘The perpetrators need to be promptly brought to justice by the Sudanese authorities, the TMC having the duty to ensure the safety of all in Sudan.
“The EU will only be able to engage with a Government in which civilians exercise demonstrable authority”.