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Sudanese opposition signs AU-proposed road-map to end months of controversy

The opposition Sudan Call Alliance on Monday signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa an African Union (AU)-proposed road-map, ending months of controversy over the deal.

Last March, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) proposed a road-map agreement for the Sudanese rivals aiming at ending the war in Sudan.

The Sudanese government unilaterally signed the road-map agreement, but the Sudan Call, an alliance bringing together Sudanese armed groups and opposition parties, then refused to sign the deal.

The signing of the deal by the opposition opens a window of hope for the possibility of reaching a comprehensive political settlement that ends the Sudanese issues, particularly at Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

Representatives of the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector and the leader of the Sudanese opposition National Umma Party signed the document of the deal in the presence of AU representatives.

To this end, Sudanese Media Center (SMC) quoted Mahmoud Kan, chairman of the AU liaison office in Khartoum, as saying that "the signing of the road-map by the Sudanese opposition and the armed movements in Addis Ababa today is an important and historic step that is likely to contribute to achieving comprehensive peace and push the wheel of development and stability in the country."

"Sincerity of intentions and integrity are the first guarantor for the success of the process which in turn will lead to speeding up cessation of hostilities and cease-fire once and for all the war-affected areas in Sudan," Kan said.

Meanwhile, optimism prevails the Sudanese political circles as the signing of the road-map by the opposition and armed groups is expected to contribute to finding a suitable platform for a serious dialogue to reach peace agreements regarding the Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas.

Head of the Sudanese government negotiating delegation Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid on Monday vowed to enter into serious negotiations with the Sudan Call alliance after the signing of the document.

Speaking to reporters in Khartoum shortly before the delegation left to Addis Ababa earlier on the day, Hamid said that "the government delegation will directly embark on meetings with the opposition alliance immediately after the signing of the road-map."

He expressed hope that the other parties would maintain the same political will with which the government delegation would enter the negotiations.

In the meantime, Bishara Juma Arur, member of the government delegation, said in a statement that the session, which will be convened on Tuesday between the government delegation and the opposition alliance, will discuss the preliminary arrangements stipulated in the road-map related to cessation of hostilities, a permanent cease-fire and speeding up delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Ahmed Bilal Osman, spokesman of Sudan’s Higher Coordination Committee of the National Dialogue (7+7 mechanism), was quoted by Ashorooq net as saying that "Sudan Call forces’ signing of the road-map in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa will open the door widely for reaching a national vision agreed upon by all parties."

Al-Saddiq al-Mahdi, leader of the Sudanese opposition National Umma Party, for his part, expressed in a statement his optimism over the signing of the African proposed road-map.

He described the signing of the road-map as a "national event" that all the Sudanese people are waiting for to achieve stability in the country.

The AU-proposed road-map stipulates arrangements related to cease-fire at South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions, entering a peace process and involving the armed movements in the national dialogue currently convened in Khartoum.


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