Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has urged political parties, civil society and armed opposition in Sudan to engage in dialogue that will address the challenges of peace and security in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.
After a briefing made by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and a statement by the Permanent Representative of Sudan to the AU, the Council reiterated, in a statement released here Wednesday, that it remained concerned with the acute humanitarian crisis in the two areas.
Acknowledging the fact that the separation of South Sudan left the Sudan with a formidable challenge of achieving unity in diversity, the PSC also encouraged political parties and civil society in the country to address the challenges of democratisation and the forging of a new constitution that is appropriate to the needs of the people, economic reform and the management of identity and diversity.
At its 423rd meeting held on 10 March 2014 to consider the situation in Sudan, the Council renewed its call upon the parties to facilitate immediate provision of unhindered humanitarian assistance to the war-affected civilian population, in accordance with the spirit of the Tripartite Agreement, as proposed by the AUHIP, and in the context of a cessation of hostilities.
Sudanese parties to the conflict in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states are the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
The AU is assisting them to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict under the facilitation of the AUHIP and the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD).
“There can be no military solution to the conflict in the two areas … and there is no alternative to the parties than engaging in direct negotiations towards a comprehensive political settlement,” the PSC emphasised.
Noting that the Government of Sudan has responded to the AUHIP’s proposed Draft Framework Agreement of 18 Feb. 2014, the Council encouraged the SPLM-N to respond in accordance with the request made by the Panel.
In addition, the Council encouraged the two parties “to continue the bilateral consultations they have initiated to reach a better understanding and solution” by 30 April 2014.
Underlining the urgency of stopping the war and giving a chance to dialogue to resolve the deep-rooted problems of Sudan, the Council said it “recognises that an end to armed conflict is the overwhelming demand of the people of Sudan”.
According to the statement, the PSC considers the Draft Agreement of 18 Feb. 2014, as proposed by the AUHIP, “as an appropriate framework to serve as a basis for negotiating a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the two areas.”