Years of conflict in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile is expected to come to an end as negotiations have advanced after the signing of a roadmap agreement on peace and dialogue by Sudanese warring groups.
Brokered by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, the roadmap agreement was earlier rejected by four groups but signed by the government in March.
The National Umma Party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North, Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement had requested for measures to grant political freedom in the country as well as the release of political prisoners.
After assurances from Mbeki and consultative meetings with international envoys, the agreement was signed on Monday in Addis Ababa making way for direct talks and cessation of fire and hostilities.
“We expect the talks would set timetables and to immediately begin the security and political arrangements in the Two Areas and to establish a committee to monitor the synchronized implementation,” local media Sudan Tribune quotes the head of the government delegation and presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid.
The opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) was represented by a negotiating team led by chief negotiator Yasir Arman.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, Germany and the European Union commended the opposition for signing the agreement which will go a long way to ensure peace in the region.
“We urge the signatories to lose no further time in agreeing a cessation of hostilities and modalities for humanitarian access in Darfur and the Two Areas,” the statement added while encouraging the opposition parties to unite during the process.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the signing of the agreement.
The conflict in Sudan has been ongoing since it was renewed in 2011 affecting about two million people and displacing over 500,000 others.