Sudanese President Bashir orders ceasefire, grants amnesty to rebels

Sudanese President Bashir orders ceasefire, grants amnesty to rebels
3 min read
23 September, 2015
Sudanese President Bashir has declared a two-month ceasefire in conflict areas, and granted a general amnesty to rebels willing to participate in dialogue.
Sudanese President Omar Bashir declares ceasefire and grants amnesty to rebels [Anadolu/Getty]

Sudanese President Omar Bashir issued two presidential decrees declaring a two-month ceasefire at the battlefronts in the Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan regions, and granting a general amnesty to rebel leaders and members who wish to participate in a national dialogue.

This move is effectively an implementation of decisions that were announced by Bashir earlier this month, with the aim of creating the right climate for the national dialogue, which is set to begin on 10 October.

The office of the ruling National Congress Party has confirmed the government's willingness to negotiate with the rebel movements in conflict areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions, in the hope of reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement. It also categorically refused to hold a pre-dialogue meeting outside the country as proposed in the African Union's roadmap.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union had called for a pre-national dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa that would include the government and the armed movements, to discuss procedural matters relating to the dialogue.

The government in Khartoum is wagering that its recent understanding with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni - in relation to expelling movements that oppose it from Kampala - would contribute to tightening the siege imposed on these movements and force them to talk on the government's terms.

In previous statements Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Mohammad Abdel-Rahman said that the armed movements that are fighting the government in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan are being forced to bow to calls for dialogue and to lean in the direction of peace because of the security agreements signed with both South Sudan and Uganda, which have banned any activities that are opposed to Sudan on their territories.

Bashir's decree comes a week after the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which is in opposition to the Sudanese government in Khartoum, signed a roadmap to solve the crises in Sudan through a political settlement and a six-month cessation of hostilities for humanitarian reasons in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The roadmap was designed following meetings held by the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front - which includes the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) and Darfur movements - with the US and British envoys to Sudan, the African Affairs official in the French Foreign Ministry, and representatives of the European Union and Norway.

The roadmap contained a draft agreement to stop the fighting between the Sudanese government and the armed movements, in all areas of operations, whereby all parties would also cease fighting immediately after the signing and would commit to controlling its forces and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected.