Head of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army Abdul Wahid al Nur said that the peace deal that was signed in Juba on Saturday between the power-sharing government and several armed groups will only deepen the country’s crisis, not solve it.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he stated that the deal “divided quotas” and does not address the root of the crisis.
The government, he revealed, tried hard to involve him in the peace negotiations, but his movement refused to take part in talks that were being carried in the same way that was adopted by the ousted regime.
Speaking from his residence in Paris, Abdul Wahid said his movement had an alternative initiative that is based on involving all segments of Sudanese society. He revealed that he will return to Sudan soon in order to launch it.
He explained that he wanted to return to his home country sooner, but the plan was delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu are the country’s largest armed groups. As opposed to other movements, they enjoy bases and forces on the ground.
Hilu’s movement had not participated in initial peace negotiations, but agreed last month to join new talks hosted by South Sudan. The movement signed a preliminary agreement with the government to launch negotiations in the future that would tackle separating religion from the state and allowing the residents of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, where Hilu’s movement holds sway, to determine their fate.
Abdul Wahid’s movement has yet to agree to hold any negotiations with the government.
“I do not want a position or to become an ambassador or minister. We only want sustainable peace that addresses the core of the problem,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“The military and civilian leaderships kidnapped the revolution and imposed a status quo, which we oppose, on us,” he added.
“We want to hold dialogue with all segments of Sudanese society to identify the roots of the decades-long crisis,” he continued.
“Negotiations between the government and opposition always end with the division of power. This is at the heart of Sudan’s crisis and not a solution to it,” Abdul Wahid stressed.
He accused the regime of ousted leader Omar al-Bashir of arming militias in Darfur and other disputed regions. These militias, known as Janjaweed, have only brought death and corruption. Moreover, he said his movement believes that Sudan was controlled by the army for five decades. This military killed the Sudanese people in the South after they chose independence. It also committed genocide in Darfur and the Blue Nile region.
In order for lasting peace to prevail, security must be imposed throughout the country and all militias and tribes that were armed by the former regime must lay down their weapons, demanded Abdul Wahid.
Furthermore, tribes in Darfur that were victims of genocide and racial cleansing by the former regime and that have been expelled from their territories must be allowed back, he continued. People who have settled in lands that were vacated by force must leave. These tribes must be compensated and the war criminals must be brought to justice.
“These are not conditions, but rights,” declared Abdul Wahid.
Bashir and members of his regime are wanted by the International Criminal Court over their crimes in Darfur.
“We must address the reasons that prompted people to take up arms,” continued Abdul Wahid. “We must ask ourselves why our country, which has vast agricultural lands and water resources, is now suffering from famine?”
“It is important for the Sudanese people to determine the problems in our economy and come up with solutions,” he urged. “We must also come up with a way to manage the diversity of religions and cultures so that we can build a united country where all people are equal. We must recognize that we have failed in this regard.”
In contrast to Hilu’s movement, Abdul Wahid’ movement is committed to a united Sudan and does not want independence in disputed regions.
“Darfur makes up more than half of Sudan. We have no better alternative to it, so how can it be allowed to determine its fate?” he asked. “We want to eliminate the reasons that prompt people to think about breaking away from the country.”