Sudan’s authorities, rebels signal landmark deal | Center East
The Sudanese government and rebel leaders gathered to drum, sing and dance on Saturday as they signed a landmark peace agreement that aimed to end decades of war in which hundreds of thousands died.
“Today we reached a peace agreement. We are happy. We have finished the mission, ”said Tut Gatluak, head of the South Sudanese mediation team, shortly before the signing of the contract, which took place a year after the peace talks began.
Ministers and heads of government from neighboring countries as well as Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia attended the ceremony in Juba, the capital of neighboring South Sudan.
“This signing of this agreement is an important day today for Sudan and South Sudan. It marks an end to the suffering of many Sudanese in different corners of Sudan and outside Sudan,” said Mini Arko Minawi, chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement, one of the parties of the deal.
“The economic challenge in Sudan is of course one of the challenges. The fragile political situation is also a challenge, but I am sure we will achieve the peace we want … there is a need for tolerance, “he added.
The peacebuilding process faces various challenges and pitfalls which we can overcome through concerted efforts and joint action.
Entertainers from South Sudan and Sudan performed for the guests while members of the rebel groups from Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile marched, sang songs of joy and carried banners with the pictures of their party leaders.
Ending internal conflicts in Sudan has been the top priority of the transitional government in power since the overthrow of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir last year amid a democratic uprising for democracy.
The peace talks were brokered by South Sudan, whose leaders themselves fought against Khartoum as rebels for decades before gaining independence in 2011.
Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo signed the document on behalf of the Sudanese government [Akuot Chol/AFP]Al Jazeeras Hiba Morgan, who reported from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, said not every group was present in Juba.
“While this deal is being referred to as the definitive deal, there are large groups that have yet to sign an agreement with the transitional government,” Morgan said.
“The biggest problem is with security enforcement because of concerns about factions,” added Morgan.
“Challenges and Pitfalls”
Sudan’s leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Deputy Chief of Sudan’s Joint Military-Civil Sovereignty Council, attended the ceremony.
In a statement upon arrival, Hamdok said that “peace will open wide horizons for development, progress and prosperity”.
However, he admitted that the future will not be easy.
“The peacebuilding process faces various challenges and pitfalls that we can overcome through concerted efforts and joint action.”
Sudan was torn by multiple conflicts between the Arab-dominated government led by al-Bashir for three decades and rebels from non-Arab ethnic groups in its distant regions.
In the vast rural areas of Sudan, sedentary ethnic minority farmers have often fought for scarce resources with Arab shepherds, often supported by Khartoum.
Tensions were exacerbated by economic difficulties, particularly after the secession of South Sudan in 2011, in which the north lost three quarters of its oil reserves.
Several civil wars have taken place since independence in 1956, including the 1983-2005 war that led to the secession of the South.
According to the United Nations, the devastating war in Darfur in 2003 left at least 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced in the first few years.