Sudan peace talks open in Juba
Peace talks aimed at ending conflicts in Sudan began in South Sudan’s capital Juba on Monday, attended by representatives of the government and armed opposition groups.
The talks aimed at ending conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas follow preparatory meetings between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and representatives of the warring parties in Juba.
Fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels in the Kordofan and Blue Nile regions broke out in 2011, and conflict in Darfur began in 2003.
Declaring the proceedings open, President Kiir urged the various groups to work to overcome their differences in the interest of their people.
"I believe that all of you are serious… I want you to negotiate in good faith so that you bring back peace to your country," Kiir said. "If there is no peace in Sudan, there will be no peace in South Sudan."
“I want to tell you that South Sudan is your second country… I declare the peace talks open and my mediation team will help facilitate the process,” he added.
At the opening ceremony, Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, said the new government is committed to bring "complete peace" to Sudan.
“Peace is a strategic option in Sudan… Peace is the only way for development,” he stressed.
The powerful military general further said they will work together to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity and power in Sudan.
Dagalo pointed out that his team came to negotiate with armed movements with an open mind. “We want to start fruitful and serious talks to realize peace in Sudan,” he said.
Al-Hadi Idris, leader of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), said his group seeks peace that addresses the root causes of the crisis in Sudan. “We seek peace that addresses issues affecting millions of refugees and displaced people,” he said.
The armed opposition groups who are part of the peace talks include the opposition coalition Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the SPLM-N al-Hilu.
The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur is not part of the peace talks hosted by South Sudan.