Sudan: Peace Talks Under Threat, 4/12/99

Sudan: Peace Talks Under Threat, 4/12/99

SUDAN: Peace talks under threat

NAIROBI, 12 April (IRIN) - The government of Sudan could call off talks with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) over the latter's failure to hand over the bodies of four slain Sudanese nationals abducted in February, press reports said at the weekend.

A local newspaper quoted Sudan's State Minister at the social planning ministry Hassan Dhahawi as announcing the freezing of all talks with the rebels. Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail was also quoted as saying the talks, scheduled for Nairobi later this month, would not take place unless the SPLA handed over the bodies. So far, there has been no official statement on the subject.

The SPLA meanwhile said it would take part in the discussions. "We have communicated and confirmed our participation to the convenors of the talks," SPLM/A spokesman Samson Kwaje told IRIN on Monday. "If Khartoum thinks otherwise, let them communicate it to the chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Partners' Forum."

In a statement, the SPLM/A ruled out exhuming and repatriating the bodies for a decent reburial, saying it is "culturally offensive and incongruent with the situation of tens of thousands who have been killed by the Khartoum regime and who had no decent burial".

A member of the SPLM/A, Peter Adwok, took issue with a recent suggestion by Khartoum that Egypt be invited to the talks.

"We cannot allow this," he told IRIN. "Egypt is party to the conflict. It is part of the Arab expansion ploy to Arabise and colonise Africa."

"Although the ongoing armed conflicts in parts of Sudan and the Ethiopian-Eritrean war could mar the impending round of peace talks, the way forward should be forged by all parties and will depend on the military situation in the country," Adwok added.


Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 18:26:14 +0300 (EAT) Subject: SUDAN: Peace talks under threat [19990412]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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