Starting with the agreement on a roadmap to peace brokered by the African Union, ceasefire negotiations began between the government of Sudan and Sudanese opposition coalitions last Tuesday. The factions are trying to reach an agreement that would instill long lasting peace in the war torn region.
This is the first time that the major opposition groups signed a deal with the government since the violence resumed in 2011 when South Sudan declared independence.
“We welcome the opposition signing of the roadmap and today the government begins to engage in negotiations with armed rebels over a ceasefire…We are optimistic… It’s important that a ceasefire is reached to stop the war,” said Government spokesman Ahmed Bilal (pictured below) in a statement.
This comes after the border between Sudan and South Sudan was opened for the first time since 2011 earlier this year. Sudanese rebels have been fighting with the country’s military in the southern regions over the course of the past five years.
Conflict has plagued the area for over a decade, with disputes starting in Darfur back in 2003. Arab government officials in the capital city of Khartoum signed the AU agreement in March, but the non-Arab tribes who called for the overthrow of veteran President Omar al-Bashir refused to cooperate at that time.
Fighting between the groups had diminished significantly in the past few years, but a more recent insurgency caused around 130,000 people to flee from a central area of Darfur to escape violence in January.
The recent accord outlines the plan to bring peace to Sudan’s three warring states with not only a permanent ceasefire agreement, but also the endorsement of a dialogue between opposition rebel groups and the Sudanese government. Humanitarian aid provisions are also included in the peace talks.
A spokesperson of United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying that the Secretary General “calls on all Sudanese parties to maintain this positive momentum and urges them to continue working towards an agreement on a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas and the process for reaching a final, political settlement through an inclusive national dialogue.”