S. Sudan’s peace mediation in Khartoum heralds improved ties

The ongoing efforts by South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit to broker peace between the newly formed Sudanese government and opposition groups allied to Juba heralds a new era of normalisation of ties between two former civil war foes, experts have said.

The Sudanese peace talks commenced on Monday in Juba and concluded Wednesday with a peace road map that will see the parties resume official talks on October 14. The talks aim to end conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions in the aftermath of an earlier ceasefire deal reached between the parties.

They also aim to include these opposition groups in the transitional government formed in July by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Mohamed Hamdan Daqlu, military general and deputy head of TMC led a high-level delegation from the ruling Sovereign Council and met with these rebel groups under Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) headed by El Hadi Idris of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC).

The rebel groups which include the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North sector (SPLM/A-N) under Malik Agar, Justice Equality Movement (JEM) under Jibril Ibrahim, Democratic Union Party led by Eltom Hajou, Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) under Minni Minnawi fought against former Sudanese president Omar-Al Bashir.

James Okuk, lecturer of political science at University of Juba, said that the latest development pointed at normalising relations between the two countries.

“These are politicians who want to make maximum gain out of the situation in each other’s country. Juba wants to see that their friends and favourites are getting power and in key positions in Khartoum so that they do not fear any regime change here,” said Okuk.

He disclosed that Juba wants to take advantage of the current transition in Khartoum in the wake of the ouster of Al-Bashir in April.

“The new government in Sudan also wants to take advantage of Juba. Juba is struggling to implement the peace agreement and Riek Machar is sitting in Khartoum and he is key to the implementation of the (peace) agreement,” said Okuk.

Machar, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader, who has been under house arrest since 2016, visited Juba on Monday where he met President Kiir accompanied by Daqlu. -Xinhua

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