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Sudan peace talks stumble over division of powers with Khartoum

By AFP - Jun 26,2021 - Last updated at Jun 26,2021

JUBA — Peace talks between the transitional government of Sudan and a rebel group in the south of the country have stumbled over the delegation of powers from Khartoum, the group told AFP on Friday.

Talks in Juba, South Sudan, between the government and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Sudan-North (SPLM-North) were adjourned in mid-June due to disagreements that were not specified at the time.

SPLM-North chief negotiator Amar Amon told AFP that while many topics related to the economy, security and politics were resolved, crucial issues like the delegation of powers between the central government and the regions were not.

“Resolving these issues is part of addressing the root causes of the Sudanese problems,” Amon said in an interview with AFP on Friday evening.

The SPLM-North, established in the states of Kordofan-South and Blue Nile, is pushing for a decentralised political system.

The powers wielded by the central government in Khartoum are the cause of the conflicts that have afflicted the country for more than 60 years, Amon said.

These conflicts included the war of independence with South Sudan and the recurrent violent episodes in the regions of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

Another crucial issue that had not been resolved was of the integration of the country’s armed groups into the Sudanese army, he said.

“We agreed that major national issues should be subjected to popular referendum in future,” he said.

The interim civilian-military Sudanese government was set up after the popular revolt that led to the dismissal in April 2019 of former president Omar Al Bashir, and has made peace with the rebels its priority.

In October 2020, it signed a historic agreement with several rebel groups.

The SPLM-North has signed a separate ceasefire, allowing its fighters to keep their weapons “to ensure their own protection” until the constitution is amended to guarantee a secular state.

No date has yet been given for the resumption of talks.


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