January 11, 2020
By Sudan Tribune
KHARTOUM – Sudan Prime Minister Adball Hamdok said he agreed with the head of the SPLM-N Abdel Aziz al-Hilu that the negotiations should address the root causes of the conflict.
Hamdok returned to Khartoum on Friday evening after a historic visit to the SPLM-N al-Hilu stronghold area in South Kordofan state.
After his arrival in Kauda, he was welcomed by thousands of people holding banners calling for peace and a secular state in Sudan.
Speaking to the media upon his return to Khartoum, the Sudanese prime minister stressed on the warm reception they received in the Nuba Mountains saying he cannot describe how much it was great.
“We felt a sincere desire for peace, during the visit. The discussion with the leadership of the Movement was frank in public and closed-door meetings alike,” he said.
“I feel we are approaching peace with a confident and steady pace. This is a historic opportunity to achieve this peace,” he added.
South Sudan brokered peace talks between the government and the SPLM-N al-Hilu are stalled over whether the secular state issue can be discussed in the peace talks or to be delayed for the constitutional conference.
Asked about al-Hilu call to agree on the secular state, Hamdok said that the demand for the separation between the state and religion is not a new one and now under discussion in Juba.
He stressed the right of armed groups to raise any issue they want before to add that extensive discussions are going on about the secular state and the right to self-determination.
He pointed out that there is no reason to be afraid of such matters.
“I think we can reach an understanding that creates a project uniting all Sudanese,” he said.
Addressing Root Causes
Hamodok said his closed-door meeting with al-Hilu discussed the visions of government and the SPLM-N’s about peace.
“We agreed that peace and negotiations, this time, should address the roots of the crisis. Simply touching the peels, is no longer possible,” he stressed.
He added he had a frank discussion with al Hilu about the root causes of the crisis including marginalization, identity, governance, how to administrate Sudan, and the constitution.
“I think that there is a great deal of consensus and understanding that will allow pushing this file forward and to reach satisfying ends,” he concluded.
On 26 December, the SPLM-N al-Hilu requested to suspend the talks for two weeks saying they want to hold consultations over lack of progress on the secular state and right of self-determination.