The African Union-brokered peace talks between the Sudanese government and two rebel groups from the Darfur region are expected resume on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital.
The talks are set for resumption after the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel’s (AUHIP) lead negotiator, Thabo Mbeki, returned to Addis Ababa after a visit to Germany.
Sources close to the mediation team on Wednesday told Sudan Tribune that the former South African president held talks with German officials, including foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, on the ongoing peace process and other concerns in Sudan.
However, chief rebel negotiator Ahmed Tugod told Sudan Tribune that Mbeki’s visit to Germany was unrelated to the Sudanese peace process.
Tugod said Mbeki’s visit was part of his campaign to address some of the other problems facing Sudan, including the country’s financial crisis.
He said Mbeki is working with the Germany government and other international actors to secure debt relief.
Mbeki is expected to restart peace negotiations with a new approach, most likely after receiving recommendations from Germany.
The negotiating parties have so far shown a resistance to making any concessions to their positions and the mediation team has yet to decide on a specific plan on how to move forward.
Opposition, rebel forces sign joint declaration for peace and democracy in Sudan
Announced from the Ethiopian capital where the government and rebel groups discuss ways to end the armed conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the agreement was signed by the head of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) Farouk Abu Issa, deputy chairman of the rebel Sudanese Alliance Forces (SRF) Minni Minnawi, leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al Mahdi and head of the Alliance of the Sudanese Civil Society Organisations Amin Maki Madani.
The deal is the first agreement gathering all the political, rebel and civil society forces in Sudan since the 30 June 1989 coup d’Etat of General al-Bashir. The political and military opposition failed in January 2013 to finalise a similar project called the New Dawn.
According to the Sudan Call, the signatories agreed to join their efforts to “dismantle the one-party state regime and to build a state of equal citizenship rights, through the daily mass struggle and the popular uprising.
The two-page agreement which avoided any reference to the armed struggle further stresses that the parties want to secure the rights of the Sudanese people for freedom from totalitarism, violence, and poverty, and to move towards a well-established democracy, a just peace and balanced development”.