Top rebel leader says more time needed for Sudan peace deal

Yasir Arman, deputy leader of rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North. (AFP)
Updated 02 December 2019

Top rebel leader says more time needed for Sudan peace deal

  • Arman wants Washington to remove Sudan from its blacklist of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

KHARTOUM: A senior Sudanese rebel leader Monday called for a three-month extension to finalize a peace deal with the Khartoum government, as talks between the two sides are to resume next week.
Yasir Arman, deputy leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), also called on Washington to remove Sudan from its blacklist of “state sponsors of terrorism.”
Peace talks opened in October in Juba between Khartoum’s new transitional government and rebels who fought now-ousted president Omar Al-Bashir’s forces in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
A second round of talks is set to begin next Tuesday in the South Sudanese capital, and a peace deal had been expected to be struck a few days later on December 14.
But Arman, who is a senior leader in the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance, said more time was needed.
“We call for an extension of the Juba Declaration by three months until March 8,” he told reporters in Khartoum on Monday.
“We hope that the December 10 round will be the last and peace will be achieved,” he added, without giving a specific reason for the extra time needed to reach that goal.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in fighting between rebel groups and Sudanese security forces in the three conflict zones during Bashir’s rule.
The transitional authorities, tasked with leading the way to civilian rule after Bashir’s ouster in April, have made ending wars in these regions their top priority.
“We support peace ... We are looking for a national project and a strategic exit for armed rebel movements,” Arman said.
He also urged Washington to drop Sudan from its blacklist.
“After the fall of the National Congress Party, Sudan is no longer a state that sponsors terrorism,” Arman said, referring to Bashir’s party.
Washington had added Sudan to its blacklist in 1993 for Khartoum’s alleged support to Islamist militant groups.
Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1992 to 1996.


Lebanese burn ruling parties’ offices after night of clashes

Updated 39 min 25 sec ago

Lebanese burn ruling parties’ offices after night of clashes

  • Attacks came just hours after Beirut was rocked by the most violent government crackdown on protesters

BEIRUT: Attackers in northern Lebanon set fire to the offices of two major political parties on Sunday, the state-run National News Agency said.
The assaults came just hours after the capital Beirut was rocked by the most violent government crackdown on protesters since nationwide demonstrations began two months ago. Lebanese security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and used water cannons throughout the night to disperse anti-government protesters from the city center — the epicenter of the protest movement in Beirut — and around parliament.
The overnight confrontations in Beirut left more than 130 people injured, according to the Red Cross and the Lebanese Civil Defense.
In the northern Akkar district on Sunday, attackers broke the windows and torched the local office for resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s political party in the town of Kharibet Al-Jindi.
In a separate attack in Akkar district, assailants stormed the local office of the largest party in parliament, affiliated with President Michel Aoun and headed by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. Their party said the contents of the office in Jedidat Al-Juma town had also been smashed and burned.
Lebanon is facing one of its worst economic crises in decades, and the protesters accuse the ruling political class in place for three decades of mismanagement and corruption.
The violence comes a day before the president is due to hold talks with different parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister on Monday.
Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan on Sunday ordered an investigation into the clashes which she said injured both protesters and security forces. She said she watched the confrontations “with concern, sadness and shock.”
Al-Hassan blamed “infiltrators” for instigating the friction and called on the demonstrators to be wary of those who want to exploit their protests for political reasons. She didn’t elaborate.
Nationwide protests began on Oct. 17, and the government headed by Hariri resigned two weeks later.
Political parties have since been bickering over the shape and form of the new Cabinet. Protesters want a technocratic government, not affiliated with established political parties.
After weeks of back and forth, Hariri has emerged as the likely candidate for the job.