Sudan’s transitional government has signed a historic peace agreement Monday with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from the regions of Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and the Blue Nile. The ceremony took place in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
The agreement made after a year of talks hosted by South Sudan raises hopes of ending more than 17 years of war. It offers power sharing, integration into security forces, land rights, and the return of those displaced from years of conflict.
Two rebel factions within the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) refused to take apart in the peace process.
But Sudan’s transitional government spokesman Fasial Salih still praised the deal.
He says peace is the first priority out of ten issues the transitional government has determined to begin [addressing]. He says since last September a delegation went to Juba and announced the Juba Declaration. Salih says the transitional government is happy to accomplish this step but they are aware that still more rounds of talks will be needed with the SLM and SPLM-N to hopefully achieve a comprehensive peace.
The rebels fought troops sent by former president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the military in April 2019 after months of popular protest and replaced with a joint military-civilian government.
Bashir is serving jail time for corruption and is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Sudan’s delegation to Monday’s signing ceremony included Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the head of the transitional sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
But the deal was signed by Sudan’s commander of fighters in the conflict, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemeti, who rights groups say committed many of the abuses in Darfur.
Hemeti and Burhan were also blamed for attacks against anti-Bashir protesters in Khartoum in June 2019 that left over 120 people dead.
Protest leaders agreed to a power-sharing deal with the military whereby Sudan is to hold its first democratic election in decades in 2022.