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New round of Sudan peace talks in Juba postponed to Dec 10

Wednesday November 20 2019

Sudan's prime minister Abdalla Hamdok (R)

Sudan's prime minister Abdalla Hamdok (right) and Major-General Malik Tayeb Khojali (left) visit a camp for internally displaced people in El-Fasher, the capital of the North Darfur state, on November 4, 2019. FILE PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | AFP 

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Khartoum

Sudan's ruling body Tuesday said Khartoum has agreed to postpone a new round of peace talks with major rebel groups scheduled to be held in Juba this week.

The talks were due to begin Thursday but Khartoum has agreed to push them back to December 10 at the request of Juba, which is mediating the negotiations, Sudan's ruling sovereign council said in a statement.

NEW DATE

"The government is looking forward to resume the negotiations on the new date," Mohamed al-Taayushi, a member of the sovereign council, said in the statement.

Peace talks opened last month between Khartoum's new transitional government and rebels who fought now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir's forces in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

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Sudan's new transitional authorities, tasked with leading the way to civilian rule after the ouster of Bashir, have vowed to bring peace to these conflict zones.

At the first round in October, Khartoum agreed to allow humanitarian relief into the three war-torn states, where years of conflict have left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced.

CONFLICT

The conflict in the western region of Darfur erupted in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

Similar conflicts also erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile during the secession of Sudan's south from the north in 2011.

CHANCE AT PEACE

"The chances of achieving comprehensive peace in the country have grown" since the revolution, Taayushi said.

"This paves the way for turning the page of war and realising the desired change to full democratic transformation and sustainable development."

During the two weeks of talks last month, Khartoum announced a "permanent ceasefire" in the three conflict zones.

An unofficial ceasefire had been in place since Bashir was ousted by the army in April in a palace coup that followed nationwide protests against his decades-old rule.

Sudan is currently ruled by an 11-member joint civilian-military sovereign council, tasked with overseeing the transition to civilian rule as demanded by protesters.