The Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers officially approved the Juba Peace Agreement in a joint meeting on Monday. The meeting stressed the need to prepare the upcoming Eastern Sudan Conference well. The Sudan Revolutionary Front faction headed by Minni Minawi (SRF-MM) wants clear criteria for the selection of the members of the Sovereign Council, the ministers and state governors. The Sudanese should participate in selecting the new officials.
The joint meeting at the Republican Palace in Khartoum on Monday evening praised the great effort made by the negotiating delegations from both sides, including experts from the various ministries and bodies, as well as the leadership of South Sudan who hosted and mediated the peace talks.
As for the planned Eastern Sudan Conference, all eastern Sudan communities should be involved. During this conference, the much-disputed eastern Sudan track protocol will be presented, which has been the subject of major protests.
The eastern Sudan track deal is part of the comprehensive peace agreement signed by Khartoum and the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in the South Sudanese capital of Juba on October 3. The accord was already controversial when it was signed in February this year.
In July, the government established a committee to re-discuss the eastern Sudan track at the request of eastern Sudanese leaders, “to resolve the disputes resulting from a lack of coordination and consultation on the track”. Beja leaders organised a Peace, Development, and Justice Conference in end September, that concluded with the demand for self-determination for Red Sea state, Kassala, and El Gedaref. The Governor of Kassala recently proposed an initiative to achieve peace and social coexistence in the multi-ethnic eastern region.
As for the separate peace talks between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu in South Kordofan, the South Sudanese mediation team agreed with Sovereign Council President Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan that the negotiations should start as soon as possible.
The head of the South Sudan mediation delegation, Tut Galuak, announced after his meeting with El Burhan that a workshop will be held in Juba in which experts from Sudan and peace partners will prepare the talks.
He said that El Hilu is committed to achieving peace in Sudan, and expressed his hope that this will happen soon.
Alignment, not a split
The Sudan Revolutionary Front split-off faction led by Minni Minawi (SRF-MM) has described the Juba Peace Agreement as “comprehensive and unprecedented”, as it is addressing the roots of the crisis in Sudan by restoring justice to the many marginalised people in the country.
El Tom Hajo, head of the Democratic Unionist-Revolutionary Wing that left the mainstream SRF and joined the RSF-MM recently, said in a press conference in Khartoum on Monday that “what happened in the SRF is an alignment, not a split, and will not negatively affect the implementation of the peace agreement”.
He further called for setting criteria for the selection of the members of the Sovereign Council, the ministers and state governors. The Sudanese should be allowed to participate in selecting the new officials.
Mohamed Abunumou, chief negotiator for the Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Minawi, said at the press conference that the peace agreement provides positive discrimination for the marginal regions in order to join the rest of Sudan in services and development.