Suspension of Sudan talks should not ‘discourage’ mediation: African Union

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The suspension of talks between Sudan’s warring parties should not discourage further attempts at mediation, the African Union (AU) said Wednesday, as it signaled it would propose a broader political dialogue.

The Sudanese army on Wednesday suspended its participation in US and Saudi-brokered ceasefire talks in Jeddah, accusing its paramilitary foes of failing to honor their commitments.


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“In difficult negotiations, it is a classic phenomenon that one party suspends or threatens to suspend” its participation, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, chief of staff to the AU Commission president, and its spokesman for the Sudan crisis, told AFP.

“But that should absolutely not discourage the mediators... the United States and Saudi Arabia, who we support very strongly, from continuing their efforts.”

Lebatt spoke at the conclusion of a third meeting between officials from the AU, United Nations, the Arab League, European Union, the East African regional bloc IGAD and neighboring countries to Sudan, held in Addis Ababa.

The so-called “expanded mechanism” on the Sudan crisis agreed that a “concrete plan” for broad talks would be proposed as soon as possible once adopted by its participants, Lebatt said.

The process would include all sectors of Sudanese society and go beyond political or ideological differences, he added.

“(The) international community... should be supportive to the efforts of Sudanese,” Lebatt said.

“It is important to know that, we don’t ambition to lead it or to master it. It will be an owned Sudanese process.”

These talks would focus on the swift adoption of constitutional arrangements, conditions for a transfer to civilian government, and a program for delivering humanitarian aid, he added.

“And finally, it should be a program which should lead as soon as possible to a democratic election.”

Multiple truces between Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-foe Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the Rapid Support Forces, have been violated since fighting erupted on April 15.

The latest ceasefire started on May 22 and was extended on Monday by another five days.

But on Tuesday, fighting raged in the capital Khartoum and the western region of Darfur.

The Sudan conflict has already claimed more than 1,800 lives, according to conflict monitor ACLED.

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