SPLM-N leader 'keen' on Sudan peace

By Ahmed Abdalla, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yasser Arman, secretary-general of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, says his movement is keen on achieving peace in Sudan.

Yasser Arman, secretary-general of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, says his movement is keen on achieving peace in Sudan.

ADDIS ABABA – Yasser Arman, secretary-general of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), says his movement is keen on achieving peace in Sudan.

"SPLM-N is keen towards maintaining peace in Sudan," Arman told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview. "It wants to find solutions to the overall problems in the entire Sudan."

Earlier this month, the SPLM-N and Khartoum began peace talks in Addis Ababa aimed at ending a three-year insurgency in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Arman criticized the Khartoum government for insisting on focusing solely on the situation in Blue Nile and South Kordofan in the talks.

"There is misunderstanding between SPLM-N and the government," The rebel leader said.

"SPLM-N wants to reach agreement and sign on the agenda of the dialogue then form a committee for security," he added. "But the government wants to form the committee first then [establish a] cease fire before signing the agreement."

"This created the misunderstanding. Because we want humanitarian assistance [to] reach the affected people; the government army should also stop gunfire then after the committee will be set," he said.

Since 2011, the SPLM-N has waged an active insurgency against Khartoum in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Outlawed by the central government, the movement consists mainly of fighters who sided with southern Sudan during the civil war, which ended with a 2005 peace treaty that opened the door to South Sudan's secession from Sudan six years later.

"We do not want war, but we are forced to fight," Arman said. "We are exerting efforts to end the war and ensure peace in Sudan."

He called on Khartoum to stop what he called "killings" and to lift sanctions imposed on South Kordofan, Darfur, and the Nuba Mountains.

"We also urge the government to cooperate in the process of supplying humanitarian assistance to the people," he said.

He added: "Our choice is peace and not war."

Arman welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's recent calls for dialogue with opposition parties.

"We are happy when opposition parties create good relations. We support dialogue among parties," he said.

"I believe in one Sudan. The ruling party is responsible for the separation of South Sudan from Sudan," added the rebel leader. "The separation resulted from lack of democracy of the Sudan government. Now we want to create a new Sudan."

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