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Sudan to strike peace with rebels after years of struggle

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A peace treaty to be signed between Sudan’s government and rebels

The government of Sudan and the rebels are scheduled to sign a historic peace agreement on Saturday in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. It ensued after both sides had put their initials on the agreement at the end of last month (September). The peace deal would hopefully end the decades of conflicts where thousands of people have died.

The location of the signing of the peace deal is important to both signatories. In fact, South Sudan’s leaders themselves battled Khartoum as rebels for many years, which eventually led to the world’s latest nation-state- South Sudan.

Suleiman al-Dabailo, chairman of Sudan’s Peace Fee stressed on the importance of the peace deal to be signed. He hoped that the peace treaty would solve most, if not all conflicts peacefully on both sides. Moreover, Blue Nile, the Sudan Revolutionary Entrance (SRF), an alliance of insurgent teams from the Darfur and Southern Kordofan areas, also expressed their support for the deal and wished for lasting peace in both countries.

Transition authorities in power have worked hard to end Sudan’s inner conflicts since last year’s removal of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir amid a favoured rebellion. The ministers or leaders from Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Uganda will be among the visitors for the signing at 11 am local time, said Tutkew Gatluak, the chair of the mediating team in South Sudan.

Putting a halt to Sudan’s internal conflicts has been the priority of the transition government in power.

Years of wars in Sudan

Some sporadic conflicts between the Arab-dominated authorities that were led by al-Bashir and rebels drawn from non-Arab ethnic teams have devastated Sudan for years. For instance, Sudan has faced several civil wars since its independence in 1956. For one the 1983-2005 struggle that led to the secession of South Sudan. The devastating war in Darfur from 2003 left at least 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced in its early years, according to the United Nations. To make matters worse, Sudan’s government also encountered dire financial difficulties, particularly after the secession of South Sudan in 2011. In fact, the formation of South Sudan has deprived Sudan three-quarters of its oil reserves. Most of the time, conflicts happen in Sudan when settled ethnic minority farmers have to compete for scarce resources with Arab herders, who are often supported by Sudan’s government.

Members of the Sudanese army stand as weapons that were collected from Sudanese citizens are destroyed in the Hajar al-Asal base.

The main points in the peace treaty

Under the peace deal, SRF fighters will be gradually recruited into joint items with authorities safety forces. However, there are still a few insurgent factions who have refused to sign the peace deal. The military mentioned that the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Motion (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Nour, even launched an assault on Monday. Moreover, the South Kordofan-based wing of the Sudan Individuals’ Liberation Motion-North (SPLM-N) led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, signed a separate ceasefire settlement.

The peace deal allows the rebels to keep their weapons for the sole purpose of “self-protection” until Sudan’s constitution is changed to guarantee the separation of state and religion. South Kordofan and to a lesser extent Blue Nile state have significant Christian populations who have fought for decades to end the imposition of Islamic law by Khartoum.

Under the peace deal to be signed by both sides, SRF fighters will be gradually recruited into joint items with authorities safety forces.

Difficult road ahead

The federal government of Sudan has expressed hopes that the holdout parties will eventually concede and sign the peace deal. The government believed that it has the potential to deal with the conflicts realistically and, if implemented effectively, will lead to peace.

However, the oncoming peace deal also touches on a lot of tricky points in Sudan. These issues range from land possession, reparations and compensation to wealth and power-sharing and the return of refugees and internally displaced folks.

Moreover, some parties in Sudan also raised the question as to what might happen to the non-signatories. For one, the peace deal could lead to a much desperate financial situation for the country. Sudan researcher Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, a visiting fellow on the European Council on Overseas Relations, said the treaty might contain paying hundreds of combatants in return for his or her demobilization and giving compensation for the victims of the conflicts. In other words, the federal government will be unable to finance without any assistance from external parties.

On the other hand, the finance ministry in Khartoum said it is developing a plan to implement the agreement to help the region’s younger generations and displaced citizens.

 

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  1. Sudan to strike peace with rebels after decades of war
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