May 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s defence minister vowed to expand military operations against the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan state stressing at the same time his government’s readiness to engage in talks for peace in the Two Areas.
Abdel Rahim Hussein made his remarks during a visit to the restive South Kordofan on Friday where he paid a visit to front-line troops deployed in Nuba Mountains.
The minister told reporters in Kadugli that the army finalized preparations before to launch the second phase of the Decisive Summer campaign, pointing that the upcoming operations will include new areas.
“Despite the progress achieved towards its goals, the Armed forces are at the same time keen to stop the bleeding of blood among Sudanese,” he said. Adding “the next round of negotiations is a chance to make significant progress toward ending the war, if the other party wished”.
The Sudanese army intensified attacks on the SPLM-N positions hoping to put pressure on the rebels to accept to negotiate with the government under a framework proposed by the African Union mediation.
The SPLM-N calls for a peace process including rebel groups in Darfur region, while the government accepted the proposal of the mediation which limits the talks on South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
Hussein said the military operations, which involve controversial Arab militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces, do not target a tribe or an ethnic group but are not directed against those who threaten the national security.
The head of the Sudanese government negotiating delegation , Ibrahim Ghandour said on Thursday the next round of talks is scheduled for 25 May but stressed they did not yet receive any official notification from the mediation.