Protagonists to Sudan’s multiple conflicts have signed a landmark peace agreement, which is supposed to bring a definitive halt to decades of armed instability across the country.
There were cheers of jubilation in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on Saturday, 3 October 2020, where Sudanese Government officials and representatives from the country’s disparate rebel movements finally signed up to ending the conflicts. The conflicts have led to hundreds of thousands of people being killed.
Representatives from the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), comprising militias from strife-torn western Darfur region and those active in Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, signed up to the deal. The guarantors of the deal include officials from Egypt, Qatar, Chad, the African Union, European Union and the United Nations.
Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok led the government delegation to the signing of the agreement which covers power-sharing, reparations, compensation for losses and the rehabilitation of displaced people. According to terms of the deal, rebels have the right to keep their guns for self-protection while guarantees are made in the national constitution to protect them.
The feeling within the corridors of power in Khartoum is one of great achievement, especially for Sudan’s transitional government which saw it as a priority to kickstart the country’s political and economic recovery held back by decades of instability and international sanctions.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the man who heads the transitional sovereign council, described the landmark peace signing as historic, given its drive to silence the guns of conflict in Sudan forever and give genuine cause for optimism about the country’s future.
“We are very committed to the implementation of all the protocols agreed upon” al-Burhan said.
The head of the transitional council said that with this new agreement, Sudan will be transformed into a “state of justice, citizenship, freedom and democracy.”
However, both al-Burhan and Hamdok have words of encouragement to the two rebel movements refusing to jump on the “bandwagon of peace.” These groups include a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) under Abdelwahid Nour, which was blamed by the Sudanese military for Monday’s incursion in the region.
The other is the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) South Kordofan faction, headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, who had nonetheless signed a separate ceasefire.
Addressing them directly, Hamdok said, “We are waiting for you to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan.”
The United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) have also joined efforts to persuade the holdout groups to abandon their supposed intransigence and embrace the peace process. UN scribe, Antonio Guterres, in a pre-recorded speech, hailed the agreement as a milestone.
He said now that the deal has been struck, what is left is for it to be translated into tangible improvements in the lives of ordinary Sudanese.