The South Sudan mediation team has expressed optimism with the progress of the ongoing peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu.
On March 28, both sides signed the Declaration of Principles (DOP) which outlined priorities that include unification of armed forces, and establishment of a democratic, secular state with freedom of religion.
Speaking to reporters in Juba Wednesday, Dhieu Mathok Diing, the spokesperson of the mediation team, confirmed that they have received the draft framework agreement that has been presented by the SPLM-N and handed over a copy to the Sudanese government delegation and is awaiting a response. He said the Sudanese government requested four days to consult and that the talks will resume Monday next week.
Al-Hilu’s group refused to sign the October 2020 peace agreement with the transitional government that was signed by other opposition movements.
Mathok said the mediation team is pleased with the level of mutual understanding and camaraderie among the Sudanese parties that might lead to an agreement soon.
“We have seen how the parties have started the negotiation, it is going to be fruitful. Since yesterday (Tuesday), we have listened to speeches from leaders of those groups and how they promised to deliver peace to the people of Sudan.”
He said the framework agreement is built based on the declaration of principles that has been agreed upon by both parties.
“The framework agreement has the same issues related to the governance system, the nature of the country, cultures, and languages, and so on,” he concluded.
Camelia Ibrahim Kuku, an observer at the talks, expressed optimism about the progress of the talks, saying they are going on smoothly.
Ismail Al-Taj, a member of the Sudanese delegation, described the progress as positive. He said the talks generally seem to be full of transparency, objectivity, and seriousness.
“Our analyses of the reactions of the parties are so far good and we believe in the capability and skills of the mediation team. They can encourage both parties to reach a consensus soon,” Kuku said.
“What I have observed is the conducive environment and the positivity that has been shown during the discussions of the framework agreement,” Al-Taj said.
He said he expects the talks to continue in the same conducive and open environment which might lead to a comprehensive peace agreement soon.
The framework agreement consists of security arrangements, power-sharing, and humanitarian response.