Sudan’s transitional government on Monday signed a peace deal with various opposition groups in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan, to end decades of conflict in the marginalized areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudan Sovereign Council, said the signing of the deal will go a long way in restoring peace and security in Sudan.
“This (peace) agreement will bring peace and stability in all parts of Sudan,” al-Burhan said at the signing ceremony. “We cannot achieve development without peace, we have to stop all forms of conflict by addressing the root causes so that we build good relations between the state and citizens.”
The Sudanese government signed the agreement with opposition groups under the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) that include SPLM-N sector led by Malik Agar, Justice Equality Movement under Jibril Ibrahim, Democratic Union party led by Eltom Hajou and the Sudan Liberation Movement under Minni Minnawi.
The agreement involves power-sharing, wealth-sharing, transitional justice, security, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.
The SPLM-N sector led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu and Sudan Liberation Movement under Abdul Wahi Al-Nur did not sign the peace deal.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several diplomats attended the historic ceremony.
“We are committed to returning the country to peace and ensuring the return of the internally displaced persons and refugees,” al-Burhan said.
He thanked South Sudan and the international community for helping mediate the peace talks that started on Oct. 14 last year.
Both sides had earlier on signed a political roadmap and cessation of hostilities agreement facilitating humanitarian access.
President Kiir lauded the deal, saying it will help bring peace and stability to both Sudan and South Sudan.
“With this peace agreement we have fulfilled the dreams of the Sudanese people, knowing that peace and security in Sudan is also peace and security in South Sudan,” he said.
However, Kiir said:”We are still far from resolving this conflict once and for all because of the absence of the SPLM-N sector led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdul Wahid Al-Nur.”
“The absence of these two groups from this (signing) ceremony remains a challenge to all of us,” he said.
Kiir urged the international community to support the Sudanese people as they embark on implementing this agreement.
El Hadi Idris, head of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, expressed optimism that the peace agreement will bring an end to the suffering of civilians who have born the brunt of conflict.
“Today marks the end of war in Sudan and is going to end the suffering of the Sudanese people. This agreement is also going to address the root cause of the conflict in Sudan,” he said.
“We are going to work and unite ourselves and support the government of Sudan to work for the people of Sudan,” Idris said.
He called on the SPLM-N led by Al-Hilu and the SLM under Al-Nur to join the peace process.