Sudan and main rebel groups formalize peace deal

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Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, hold hands as they arrive for the signing of the peace agreement in Juba, South Sudan Oct. 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Sudan's General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, flash a two finger salute as they arrive for the signing of the peace agreement in Juba, South Sudan Oct. 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Sudan's General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Chad President Idriss Deby attend the signing of peace agreement between the Sudan's government and Sudanese revolutionary movements. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 October 2020

Sudan and main rebel groups formalize peace deal

  • Sudan has been wracked by simmering conflicts for decades
  • Sudan’s new civilian and military leaders say ending conflicts is a top priority to help bring democracy and peace to a country in crisis

JUBA: Sudan’s power-sharing government and several rebel groups on Saturday formalised a peace agreement aimed at resolving decades of conflict which left millions displaced and hundreds of thousands dead.
Three major groups signed a preliminary deal in August - two factions from the western region of Darfur and one from the southern region - after months of talks hosted by South Sudan.
Another powerful rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, which had not participated in initial peace negotiations, agreed last month to join new talks hosted by South Sudan.
Dancers from Darfur and the Nile states performed on the stage before the signing in Juba.
The US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, said: "This historic achievement addresses decades of conflicts and suffering, it will also require firm and unwavering commitment to implement the agreement fully and without delays."
The presidents of Ethiopia and Chad and the prime ministers of Egypt and Uganda were among regional officials and politicians at the event.
Tut Gatluak, the South Sudanese chief mediator, said ahead of Saturday's ceremony that the goal was eventually to sign deals with all armed groups.
Sudan has been wracked by conflict for decades. After the oil-rich south seceded in 2011, an economic crisis fuelled protests that led to the overthrow of president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir in 2019.
Sudan's new civilian and military leaders, who have shared power since then, say ending conflicts is a top priority.
The deal sets out terms to integrate rebels into the security forces, be politically represented and have economic and land rights. A new fund will pay $750 million a year for 10 years to the impoverished southern and western regions and the chance of return for displaced people is also guaranteed.
Analysts have welcomed the agreement but questioned the prominent role given to armed groups and the military.


Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

Updated 22 October 2020

Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

  • Hariri immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan
  • He has previously led three governments in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was named to the post for a fourth time Thursday and immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan.
Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap.”
“I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out and this is the only and last chance facing our country,” he added.
President Michel Aoun named Hariri to form a new cabinet to lift the country out of crisis after most parliamentary blocs backed his nomination.
Hariri, who has previously led three governments in Lebanon, stepped down almost a year ago under pressure from unprecedented protests against the political class.
“The president summoned... Saad Al-Deen Al-Hariri to task him with forming a government,” a spokesman for the presidency said.
Hariri was backed by a majority of 65 lawmakers, while 53 abstained.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades and still reeling from a devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut in August.
Aoun warned Wednesday that the new prime minister, the third in a year, would have to spearhead reforms and battle corruption.
A relatively unknown diplomat, Mustapha Adib, had been nominated in late August following the resignation of his predecessor Hassan Diab’s government in the aftermath of the deadly port blast.
Adib had vowed to form a cabinet of experts, in line with conditions set by French President Emmanuel Macron to help rescue the corruption-ridden country from its worst ever economic crisis.
He faced resistance from some of the main parties however and threw in the towel nearly a month later, leaving Lebanon rudderless to face soaring poverty and the aftermath of its worst peacetime disaster.