President Omar Al Bashir declared a four-month unilateral cessation of hostilities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan on Friday.
The ceasefire, which took effect at midnight on Saturday, renews the call of the Sudanese president for the opposition forces to join the National Dialogue process before the general assembly of the National Dialogue which will be held on 6 August, the Sudanese News Agency (Suna) reported on Saturday.
“The initiative is a goodwill initiative to allow the rebel movements, which are non-signatory of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, to join the peace process in the Sudan and it is also a renewal of the call made by the President of the Republic to all political forces and armed movements to join the national dialogue before the convening of the general congress of the national dialogue, set for August the sixth,” SUNA stated.
SPLM-N, which controls territory in parts of the Two Areas, reacted in a statement Sunday by its secretary-general Yasir Arman.
Arman pointed out that the four-month ceasefire declaration that has been announced by Bashir was preceded by one by the opposition armed groups.
On 28 April, Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) declared a six-month unilateral cessation of hostilities, and urged the AU mediation team to organise a meeting with the government to make it effective.
“To avoid the two declarations being mere public relations exercises, we call upon the Khartoum regime to dispatch its delegation to Addis Ababa forthwith to meet with us within the framework of the AUHIP mediation process…” Arman said in part.
He called for addressing humanitarian issues in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, to stop aerial bombardment against civilians, and to release all prisoners of war and political detainees.
The SPLM-N official said the group was ready to negotiate a cessation of hostilities and to address humanitarian issues.
Meanwhile, on Thursday leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), and the National Umma Party met with the US Special Envoy Donald Booth in Addis Ababa for consultations on the peace process in Sudan.
JEM head Dr Jibril Ibrahim told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday that Booth invited them to discuss the African Union roadmap, which the groups have declined to sign, as well as the outputs of the last meeting in Doha with the Qatari mediator and the head of UNAMID.
Ibrahim said he expected the meeting to focus on ways to overcome the dialogue impasse in the Sudanese peace process.
He said that both the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), headed by Thabo Mbeki, and the government of Sudan were not taking part in the meeting.