Panafrican News Agency

Sudan opposition leaders arrive in Khartoum to celebrate peace deal

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - For the first time in decades, Sudanese rebel leaders from Darfur, the Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, except two of them, have arrived in Khartoum to celebrate a peace deal they reached with Khartoum’s Interim Government in the South Sudan capital, Juba, last month.

The deal was brokered by the African Union, the United Nations, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Troika (US, United Kingdom and Norway).

The leaders of groups under the Juba peace agreement, led by Dr Al-Hadi Idris, the head of the Revolutionary Front, and the Front leaders, Dr Jibril Ibrahim, Malik Agar, Khaled Mohammed Addis Gawish, Usama Saeed and Al-Taher Mussa Hajar arrived at Khartoum International Airport on Sunday.

They were given an official welcome at the airport and held a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Abdallah Hamdouk and the Head of the Sovereign Council, the collective presidency, Gen Abdul Fatah Al Burhan.

They then addressed a huge gathering in downtown Khartoum. Less than two years ago this would have been unimagined.

Aggar of the Blue Nile region, near the border with Ethiopia, had been at war with Khartoum since 1989 when ousted President Omar Bashir led a bloodless coup d’etat and ruled the country for 30 years with an iron fist.

Also in Khartoum are Darfur leaders, who took up arms two years before the 2005 peace deal that subsequently led to the secession of south Sudan in 2011.

Under the peace deal between the government and opposition groups, both sides agreed on a matrix.

The first step is that the government on Thursday issued a general amnesty dropping all charges and accusation related to rebellion by the leaders. They are now free to move in and out of the country and engage in political mobilization.

Two leaders -- the self-exiled Abud Wahid Mohammed Nur and Abdul Aziz al-Hilu of the Nuba mountains -- are due to join the process.

They have set different perquisites to engage in the peace process, demanding that state and religion should be separated.

On his part, Dr. Idris, the head of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, the overall body that brings together all the movements and armed groups from Darfur, north Sudan, Blue Nile and central western Sudan, underlined that his movement came to Khartoum in quest for peace and to make layperson own the deal.

The Juba peace deal, he said, has addressed all the fundamental questions that ignited the rebellion.

He indicated that displaced persons should return to their areas of origin as soon as possible, and called on all armed struggle movements who did not sign the peace agreement, to join the the process in the interest of the people.

He called on Sudanese political forces to work for the unity of the various political components, praising the role of South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his government in achieving peace.

Despite the COVID-19 warnings, huge crowds turned out on Sunday at Al-Hurriya Square in Khartoum to celebrate the arrival of the signatories of the peace agreement.

Folklore troupes from different ethnic backgrounds were at the square, an indication of the diversity and unity the country is supposed to enjoy, organisers said.

Prime Minister Hamdouk launched a series of tweets saying this was the beginning of the real implementation of the peace deal and “the end of war once and for all”.

He also said these leaders have the right like any Sudanese to fully participate and formulate the political life in their country.

“Participation in the political life in the Sudan is a right for all the Sudanese, men and women alike,” the prime minister tweeted on Sunday.

Dr. Hamdouk said the arrival of the leaders of the armed struggle movements would secure the wise management of the cultures and religious pluralism and diversity of the Sudan “and we can build a state based on citizenship where all are equal”.

Dr. Hamdouk added that this marks the “real launching of the peace building process, and the start for closing the page of wars in Sudan forever towards a mature political practice".

-0- PANA MO/MA 15Nov2020