Representatives from Sudan and the rebel group contesting government control in the country’s south restarted talks aimed at restoring peace.
Representatives from Sudan and the rebel group contesting government control in the country’s south restarted talks aimed at settling their differences and restoring peace to the strife-torn region. The discussions produced no agreement, but are a hopeful sign that may ultimately lead to a process to address the root causes of the conflict. The United States welcomes the negotiations and urges that they continue.
The talks, held April 24th through 26th in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under sponsorship of the African Union, centered on politics, security and providing humanitarian assistance to the Two Areas region where the fighting is centered, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement – North, or SPLM-N, fought on the side of the South Sudanese when they were struggling against the Khartoum government for independence. Sudan and South Sudan split in July 2011, but armed clashes between the rebels and Sudan continued, creating a humanitarian crisis that has displaced almost one million people.
With improving relations between Sudan and South Sudan, the Khartoum government agreed to meet with the rebels, marking the first direct discussions since June 2011. The talks are an important first step toward resolving the conflict and are intricately linked to resolving a number of remaining issues between Sudan and South Sudan.
The ongoing conflict and Sudan’s refusal to allow international humanitarian access to the Two Areas have created a severe and growing crisis. The most urgent priority of these long-awaited discussions must be to allow immediate and unfettered aid access there. Hostilities also must cease to prevent further suffering and abuse.