SPLM-N El Hilu peace talks continue in 'positive spirit'
June 4 - 2021 JUBA
SPLM-N faction leader Abdelaziz El Hilu and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok hold hands during Hamdok's historic visit to South Kordofan in 2020 (RD)
The peace negotiations in Juba between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu and the Sudanese government continued yesterday in 'positive spirit' after a brief adjournment. 
A spokesman of the SPLM-N delegation announced that the two parties have achieved agreements on most of the controversial issues and affirmed the desire of the two parties to reach a comprehensive agreement.
He said in a press statement that "a positive spirit" has prevailed during the talks with the government. 
The negotiations started at the end of last month on May 26. The SPLM-N submitted a draft framework agreement based on the Declaration of Principles that was signed by both parties in March. Earlier this week, the negotiations were adjourned to give the SPLM-N the opportunity to study and discuss the government's response to its draft agreement.
The SPLM-N spokesperson explained that the two parties continued negotiations in morning and evening sittings yesterday, mainly discussing  the government's response to the movement's draft framework agreement.
The spokesperson promised the Sudanese people that the two parties are determined to discuss the root causes of the Sudanese conflict to find a comprehensive solution.
Dieu Mathok in Juba (SUNA)
No big differences
Yesterday morning, the South Sudanese mediation committee rapporteur Dhieu Mathok already noted that there are "no big differences between the two parties". He  expressed his appreciation for the positive spirit prevailing among the parties in the peace process and explained that this was possible due the legacy of the previous negotiations.
In an interview with the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) in Juba, Mathok expressed his optimism that the two parties will reach a full agreement in the time set in the negotiation schedule. He added that such an agreement would send a positive message to Sudanese civilians, especially those affected by the war in the Nuba Mountains region.
"The presence of women in the negotiations is very important"
Mathok further explained that the SPLM-N is negotiating with a unified vision and without division. He also said that the presence of women in the negotiations is very important and that women play a major role in reaching agreements that achieve the aspirations of Sudanese women, especially because women represent the vast majority of displaced people and refugees.
Responding to a question of SUNA on the Mediation’s efforts to persuade Abdelwahid El Nur to join the peace process, Mathok indicated that El Nur is now in Juba and is available to negotiate with the Sudanese government with the South Sudanese mediation committee.
He added that Juba "will exert all the possible efforts to reach a peace agreement", and called it "a duty that stems from brotherly ties between the citizens of Sudan and South Sudan, who are one people in two countries".
Background:
El Hilu, whose SPLM-N has been fighting since war broke out in South Kordofan's Nuba Mountains in 2011, withdrew from the previous Juba peace talks in August in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. The rebels accuse the RSF forces of committing “heinous crimes” against civilians in various parts of Sudan.
In November, El Hilu reaffirmed his eagerness “to reach a peaceful, just, and comprehensive political settlement of the Sudanese problem that would put an end to the civil wars in Sudan”.
Declaration of Principles was signed on March 28, in which the two parties agreed “to work together to achieve and consolidate the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Sudan”.
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