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

  • 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.


No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

Updated 18 September 2020

No Middle East peace without solving ‘Palestinian problem,’ says Russia

  • Kremlin observes ‘progress’ in the normalization of ties in the region

MOSCOW: Russia said it would be a “mistake” to think of peace in the Middle East without resolving the Palestinian issue.

The Foreign Ministry statement came on Thursday after Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the UAE at the White House on Tuesday.

Russia said it noted “progress” in the normalization of ties between Israel and several Arab countries but said that “the Palestinian problem remains acute.” 

“It would be a mistake to think that without finding a solution to it that it will be possible to secure lasting stabilization in the Middle East.” 

Moscow urged regional and global players to “ramp up coordinated efforts” to solve the issue. 

“Russia is ready for such joint work,” including in the framework of the diplomatic Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators and in close coordination with the Arab League, the Foreign Ministry said. 

US President Donald Trump has said similar US-brokered deals are close between the Jewish state and several other nations. 

Bahrain and the UAE are the first Arab nations to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that only an Israeli withdrawal from its occupied territories could bring peace to the Middle East.