Sudan Rebels Want Omar al-Bashir to Expedite Peace Talks, Demand Release of Political Prisoners


Rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector on Saturday called for talks with the Sudanese government over the cease-fire declared Friday by the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir at Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas.

In a statement Saturday, the SPLM/northern sector demanded the talks to be under the patronage of the African Union.

“We call on the system in Khartoum to immediately send its delegates to Addis Ababa to sit within the context of the African mediation to reactivate the cease-fire and reach mechanisms for monitoring the cessation of hostilities within a framework of a comprehensive peace process,” the statement said.

The movement’s call came only one day after al-Bashir declared a four-month comprehensive cease-fire at South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas to begin as of Saturday.

The movement further urged Khartoum government to release all political prisoners and students who have been detained recently because of the incidents in Khartoum University last April.

The SPLM/northern sector, which is fighting the Sudanese government at South Kordofan and Blue Nile areas, refuses to join the national dialogue conference which has been convened in Khartoum since October last year.

The SPLM has also refused to sign a road-map proposed by the African Union to achieve a lasting peace in the two areas and Darfur region.

South Kordofan State includes most of the Sudanese oil reserve, while the Blue Nile state enjoys a strategic geographical location, and is rich of natural resources. It is also home to Al-Rusaires, the biggest electricity dam in Sudan.