Sudan signs peace agreement with Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan after a 17-year war
Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, signed a peace deal on Monday to end 17 years of conflict.
The peace agreement was signed Monday in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, which has hosted and helped mediate the long-running talks since late 2019.
The ten months of discussions were needed to agree on the eight protocols that make up the agreement to end a 17-year war in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, which has left at least 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.
The agreement was initialed in the presence of head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, as well as Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan, the sponsor of these peace talks.
The five representatives of armed groups from Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile initialed two separate copies of this voluminous agreement, consisting of eight protocols.
On the government side, the agreement was initialed by General Hamdan Daglo, vice-president of the Sovereign Council. It was also initialed, as a witness, by South Sudan’ s President Salva Kiir, while negotiators in the room let tears of joy flow.
The protocols focus on security, justice, refugee return, equitable distribution of wealth, participation in power, and stewardship of arable land.
South Kordofan and Blue Nile are granted autonomy from the federal state under the agreement, to which 40 per cent of local revenues will be paid. The agreement stipulates that the transitional period that began in 2019 in Sudan will be extended for 39 months, starting August 31.
It was the security discussions that took the most time and delayed the signing of the agreement, more than once. Eventually, members of the armed movements in Darfur will be integrated into the regular army over a period of 15 months. A 12,000-strong joint force of state and rebel forces will be responsible for security in Darfur.
Only two main armed movements have refused to participate in the discussions, but say they are not opposed to the principle. These are the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Northern Sudan, of Abdelaziz el-Hilou (SPLA-N) and the Sudan Liberation Movement.
Later on Monday, the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway welcomed the peace agreement as a first step in rebuilding stability in the country.
“It is an important step in restoring security, dignity, and development to the population of Sudan’s conflict-affected and marginalized areas. We believe the formal agreement must be followed up with local peace and reconciliation efforts in the conflict-affected areas,” the countries said in a joint statement