Sudan, Armed Groups Sign Landmark Peace Agreement
From the left, Al-Burhan, Kiir and Hamdok hold the peace agreement while Hemetti applauds during the initial signing ceremony in Juba on 31 August 2020 (ST photo)August 31, 2020
(JUBA) - The Sudanese government and the armed group in Darfur and the Two Areas Monday finally wrapped up a year of arduous negotiations by initialling a comprehensive agreement for peace in Sudan, amid a wide local and regional applauses and great media coverage.
The initial signing ceremony took place in Juba where the parties to the talks initialled eight protocols for each of the five tracks that included the Darfur region, the Two Areas, Central Sudan, eastern Sudan, and North Sudan.
The event was attended by representatives of IGAD countries, as well as ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, envoys from Egypt, the United States and the European Union.
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sovereign Council welcomed the conclusion of the peace agreement saying it comes in line with the constitutional document and the national efforts to end the war and restore security in the whole Sudan.
" We hope that the people of Sudan will reap the fruits of this agreement with real change that (....) lays the foundations for building a Sudan of freedom, peace and justice," he said.
In his speech at the end of the ceremony, President Salva Kiir thanked the Sudanese government and the armed groups for accepting his offer for mediation.
Also, he thanked the international community "for endorsing my Government offer to mediate the Sudanese conflict" and cited the resolutions of the UN Security Council and IGAD.
Kiir, al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok called on the holdout Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and Abdel Wahid al-Nur to join the peace process and not to miss this historic opportunity, stressing that there is no military solution for the conflict.
The South Sudanese president stressed that the absence of SPLM-N’ leader al-Hilu and th SLM’s leader al-Nur from this ceremony "remains a challenge".
"In recognition of this unfinished work, we will redouble our efforts in convincing those who are not present in this ceremony to see value in this peace process and to be part of it," he stressed.
For his part, Malik Agar the leader of the SPLM-N of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front declared that war is over and expressed his readiness to return to Khartoum as soon as possible.
Gibril Ibrahim the leader of Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur said that "The main challenge facing us now is the implementation of the peace agreement, and finding donations to do that".
But Hamdok said that this peace agreement has been fully negotiated by Sudanese alone before to assert that it would be fully implemented.
The head of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front Hadi Idriss said the negotiated agreement "addresses the roots of crises, presented effective solutions and fair standards for sharing power and wealth, and reforming civil and military service institutions and the system of government".
Idriss further added that this deal provides a scientific and practical prescription for dealing with the negative consequences of the conflict particularly displacement, asylum, land issues, transitional justice and nomads.
European Union applauds
Josep Borrell, the European Union High Representative praised the Juba-brokered agreement for peace in Sudan.
"The peace agreement initialed today between the civilian-led Transitional Government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front signifies an important milestone for the ongoing democratic and economic transition of Sudan."
The EU which is seen in Khartoum as the main supporter of the civilian-led government called to implement the deal in good faith to live up the expectation of the Sudanese people for peace and stability.
Borrell also called on the holdout groups to join the negotiating table.
"This is the time for all Sudanese stakeholders to set aside their differences and to look for the greater good of the country and of all Sudanese."