Sunday, December 07, 2003

Sudan: SPLA/M wants other political parties involved in process

Yasser Arman, SPLA/M spokesperson, in an interview with Reuters, said they want all political parties in Sudan involved in the peace process.
"What we are attempting to achieve is to include the political forces in their entirety in the peace process and to hear their concerns and perceptions of it," Arman said.

The SPLA has held talks with opposition parties including the Popular National Congress lead by Islamist Hassan al-Turabi and the Umma party headed by ex-Prime Minister Sadeq al-Mahdi during the visit, Arman said.

They also met officials from the ruling National Congress party and southern groups from government controlled areas.
SPLA/M leader Garang has said that in a post-conflict Sudan, he wants to share power with President al-Beshir and other political leaders. The SPLA/M does co-operate with northern oppostion groups. Back in 1995, the SPLA/M joined forces with northern opposition groups to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Let's connect some dots ...

Recall that a few days ago, Sudanese VP Taha signed a peace deal with Mohammad Osman al-Mirghani, leader of the northern opposition group, Democratic Unionist Party(DUP).

And as detailed in this post, al-Mirghanai ALSO happens to be President of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Questioned about the peace deal, al-Mirghani said ... "All NDA factions, including the SPLA, have mandated me to sign the agreement."

Moving west ... SPLA/M spokesperson Arman also told Reuters that the SPLA/M is in touch with the Sudan Liberation Movement, one of the rebel groups active in Darfur, western Sudan.
Arman said resolving the revolt in the western province of Darfur was vital to safeguarding Sudan's unity.

"We consider the situation in Darfur to be a consequence and a manifestation of political, economic and cultural marginalisation and it must be resolved in the correct way," he said. (link)
With the US exerting its considerable influence, it really looks like the government and rebels can deliver a peace deal within weeks. A sign of hope ... SPLA/M delegates were in Khartoum this weekend, something that has never happened before. However ...
In contrast to optimism expressed at high levels on both sides, however, ground-level rebel military commanders remain dubious, while their civil counterparts warn of looming dangers should peace arrive. "We will not stop recruiting or training troops," said Magwek Gai, deputy commander of the Sudan People's Liberation Army for the Upper Nile region.

"The government wants to kill everyone in the south, so even with peace we must prepare for war." (link)
SPLA/M = Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement