Sudan, Rebels to Hold First Peace Talks in Almost a Year - The New Indian Express

Sudan, Rebels to Hold First Peace Talks in Almost a Year

Published: 13th February 2014 01:01 AM

Last Updated: 13th February 2014 01:01 AM

Sudan's government and rebels from South Kordofan are to meet on Thursday in Ethiopia for their first peace talks in almost a year, aiming to end a war which has affected more than one million people.

The negotiations come two weeks after Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir appealed for a political and economic "renaissance", with peace as the top priority, in his war-ravaged and poverty-stricken nation.

The African Union said it invited the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) for the negotiations in Addis Ababa.

"Both parties have received the invitation and have accepted to attend," an AU statement said, urging a speedy settlement of the conflicts in the Kordofan region and Blue Nile state.

Ethnic SPLM-N rebels have been fighting in both areas since 2011.

Short-lived negotiations between the two sides last April collapsed.

But tomorrow's dialogue "will be launched in a very different atmosphere" as the government now accepts the need for a comprehensive solution to Sudan's economic and political crises, veteran columnist Mahjoub Mohamed Salih wrote in The Citizen.

In the western Darfur region another ethnic uprising continues 11 years after it began, and Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes there.

The country's insurgent groups from Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur are linked in a "Revolutionary Front", fuelled by complaints of economic and political neglect by the Arab-dominated regime which took power in a 1989 coup.

Analysts say the wars need to be addressed in a comprehensive national framework, not as separate problems as has been the government's practice.

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