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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Sudan says International mediation may help achieve peace deal

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan government on Saturday announced mediation, led by Germany, Uganda and other countries, to convince Sudanese armed groups of reaching peace deal with Khartoum, Sudanese Media Center (SMC) reported.

"The movements and rejecting parties are obstinate in implementing the roadmap which was signed upon," said Ahmed Bilal Osman, Sudan’s information minister and government spokesman, quoted by SMC.

He reiterated Sudan government’s readiness to negotiate with the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/ northern sector and the Darfur armed movements according to the negotiation references for each category.

The negotiation with the Darfur movements would be according to the negotiation reference of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, he said.

He also reiterated Sudan government’s commitment to implementing the items of the African Union (AU) roadmap, and the ceasefire.

The Sudanese government unilaterally signed in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia the AU-proposed roadmap agreement in March of 2016, which stipulates arrangements related to ceasefire in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions, entering a peace process and involving the armed movements in the national dialogue currently convened in Khartoum.

In August of 2016, the major Sudanese armed movements joined the roadmap agreement.

Sudan has been fighting the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/ northern sector in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since 2011.

It has also been fighting armed groups in Darfur since 2003.
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UPDATES:

African Union mediator starts meetings in Khartoum ahead of new peace talks

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- African Union Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki started a series of meetings here on Thursday ahead of a new round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebels of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector and Darfur armed groups.

Mbeki, the head of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP), first met with Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, Sudan’s presidential assistant and head of the government’s negotiating team.

"It has been agreed on continuation of the AUHIP’s efforts relating to achieving peace in Sudan and involving the armed groups in the national dialogue document," said Hamid at a press conference following the meeting.

The Sudanese official reiterated the government’s readiness to resume talks with the rebels of the SPLM/northern sector and the Darfur armed groups.

"We are waiting for the response of the armed movements and Mbeki’s consultations with those movements to determine a date for the resumption of the talks," he said.

Later on Thursday, Mbeki will meet with Sudan’s First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh, Sudan’s opposition leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the higher committee for implementation of outcomes of the national dialogue.

He is also expected to meet with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the date has yet to be fixed.

So far, 10 rounds of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/northern sector and Darfur armed groups have been held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, under the patronage of the African Union, but all failed to end the conflict.

The Sudanese government has been fighting the SPLM/northern sector in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since 2011. It has also been battling a group of armed movements in the Darfur region since 2003.
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Bashir says peace and economic growth top agenda for Sudan

KHARTOUM (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday said the priorities of the government of national consensus are represented in laying down the pillars of peace across country and resolving the economic issues.

Al-Bashir on Monday addressed the opening of the new session of Sudan’s National Assembly (parliament), reviewing the accomplishments achieved in the past and priorities of the coming government.

"The coming period will witness essential amendments reflecting the outcomes of the national dialogue conference and priorities of the National Consensus Government, which are represented in laying down the pillars of peace across the country and generalizing the convention of national dialogue among all political organizations to achieve interests," noted al-Bashir.

He vowed that the coming government would work to ensure peaceful transfer of power, protection of the constitution, fostering the rule of law and guaranteeing freedom of expression and organization for all the citizens.

He further explained that the economic program for the coming period would stand on shifting toward production, coping with the movement in the investment sector and working to attract external and national investments, reduce the inflation rates and stabilize the exchange rate of the national currency.

Sudan is expected to witness appointment of a government of national consensus involving the ruling National Congress Party and all parties and armed movements which took part in the national dialogue conference.

In January 2014, al-Bashir declared an initiative calling on the opposition parties and the armed groups to join a national dialogue to end the country’s crises.

The sessions of the dialogue kicked off in October 2015 and concluded in October 2016 with the approval of the national document formulated by the participants in the conference.

The conference was launched with the participation of a number of Sudanese political parties, civil society organizations and some Darfur armed groups.

However, major political parties and armed movements refused to participate in the conference, including the Revolutionary Front Alliance, which brings together the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector and the major Darfur armed movements.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Sudan and France discuss security situation in Darfur

KHARTOUM (Xinhua) -- Sudan and France on Saturday discussed the security situation in Darfur and exit of the United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from the region.

A French delegation headed by deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Alexis Lamek on Saturday held talks in Khartoum with Sudan’s foreign ministry under-secretary Abdul-Ghani Al-Naeem.

"The French delegation discussed UNAMID’s activity and its exit strategy in light of the positive developments and improvement of the situation in Darfur, which necessitates reducing the size and forces of the mission according to outcomes of the joint work group," said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.

"Al-Naeem conveyed to the French delegation efforts of the Sudanese government and partners to tackle the conditions of displaced people in Darfur region together with efforts of the regular forces to collect the arms in the region," according to the statement.

The Sudanese official further urged France to play a bigger positive role to support the peace efforts in Sudan.

In February 2015, a tripartite committee composed of Sudan’s government, the UN and the African Union, was formed with the aim to reach a deal on UNAMID’s exit from Darfur.

UNAMID took over the peacekeeping task in Darfur from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) on December 31, 2007.

The UNAMID is considered the second biggest peacekeeping mission in the world, after the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It consists of over 20,000 personnel of military, police and civilian components, with a budget of 1.4 million U.S. dollars in 2013.
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Khartoum denounces U.S. warning of no travel to Sudan

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan government on Friday denounced a warning by the United States for its citizens not to travel to Sudan for security risks, saying the warning was not based on objective justifications.

"We express rejection of this warning, which does not consider the important developments and great transformations witnessed in the country," said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement Friday.

It said the warning "contradictory to reports by the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League which confirmed security and stability in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions."

It added that the claim of terrorism in Sudan contradicts the commendations made by heads of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other senior U.S. officials, regarding the considerable efforts and great cooperation by Sudan in combating terrorism and extremism.

The Sudanese foreign ministry further urged its U.S. counterpart to objectively reconsider its inaccurate information, with the spirit of the high-level and positive bilateral dialogue, which is progressing toward normal ties.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of State warned U.S. citizens not to travel to Sudan due to what it termed as "risks of terrorism."

Additionally, the U.S. embassy required U.S. government personnel in Sudan to use armored vehicles for all travel, and prohibited travel outside of Khartoum without advance permission and extra security precautions.

Although the previous U.S. administration lifted the economic sanctions on Sudan last January, the U.S. is still keeping Sudan on its list of countries sponsoring terrorism.
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Khartoum criticizes UN demand for handing over al-Bashir to ICC

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan government on Thursday criticized demand by deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General to hand over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"I hope what he said does not represent the position of the UN Secretary-General," Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, told reporters at Khartoum airport upon return of Al-Bashir after participating in the Arab summit in Amman, Jordan.

"We will investigate through our diplomatic channels and via our mission in New York to know who is behind this statement, whether it is individual or representing the UN stance," he added.

He went on saying the UN is a comprehensive organization, where respecting a president who is elected by people is important and necessary, besides that the ICC does not belong to the UN and many countries are not members of it.

On Wednesday, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, reportedly demanded handing over al-Bashir to the ICC coincident with his participation in the 28th Arab Summit.

Haq was reportedly reiterated at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York that al-Bashir should be brought before the ICC to stand trial on charges of committing "war crimes and crimes against humanity" in Sudan’s Darfur region.

He said the UN was urging all state parties to the Rome Statue, which is founding to the ICC, to fulfill their commitments and hand over al-Bashir to the court.

In March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against al-Bashir for allegedly committing war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.

             

 

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