Sudan rebels agree to key peace deal with government

Sudan rebels agree to key peace deal with government
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, inks a peace deal with the government. (AFP)
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Updated 31 August 2020

Sudan rebels agree to key peace deal with government

Sudan rebels agree to key peace deal with government
  • Two movements rejected part of the deal — 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

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s main rebel alliance has agreed to a peace deal with the government aimed at ending 17 years of conflict, official news agency SUNA said on Sunday.
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, inked a peace agreement with the government late on Saturday.
A formal signing ceremony is set to take place on Monday in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan, which has hosted and helped mediate the long-running talks since late 2019.
Senior government officials and rebel leaders “signed their initials on protocols on security arrangements” and other issues late Saturday, SUNA reported.
However, two key holdout rebel forces have refused to take part in the deal.
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.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several ministers flew to Juba on Sunday, the news agency said, where he met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

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A formal signing ceremony is set to take place on Monday in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan, which has hosted and helped mediate the long-running talks since late 2019.

Hamdok said that finding a deal had taken longer than first hoped after a initial agreement in September 2019.
“At the Juba declaration in September, everyone expected peace to be signed within two or three months, but ...we realized 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 marginalization 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 ruler Omar 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.
Two movements rejected part of the deal — 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.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.