December 28, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese politician Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi Tuesday said that the Sudanese government accepted that 20% of the humanitarian aid passes through Ethiopia, as it is demanded by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) but the latter denied the claim.
The Sudanese government and SPLM-N have failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement for the Two Areas because Khartoum refuses to allow the delivery of food to civilians in some rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile State directly through Asosa, an Ethiopian Town near the border with Sudan.
The SPLM-N in the past said they accepted that 80% of the relief comes through Khartoum and demand that 20% be delivered through Asosa. The rebel group underscores they accept that Khartoum controls the humanitarian assistance to verify that no weapons or military equipments would be transported.
"U.S. Special Envoy, Donald Booth has successfully got the government acceptance of the SPLM-N demand to transport 20% of the humanitarian assistance through Asosa by the USAID," said al-Fadil before to stress that this step represents "a significant concession" from the government, and paves the way for the signing of the humanitarian cessation of hostilities.
Al-Fadil who is a dissident leading member of the National Umma Party (NUP) participated in the National Dialogue Conference last October as the head of the NUP Transitional Council, but the opposition party dismissed his claim and accused him of supporting the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Booth was in Khartoum last month where he held talks with the Sudanese officials, but none of the parties announced the government’s acceptance of this step or the resumption of the talks.
Reacting to this claim, the spokesperson of the SPLM-N negotiating delegation, Mubarak Ardol, denied Khartoum’s acceptance to deliver some of the humanitarian aid through Ethiopia and described al-Fadil statements as "inaccurate".
"Last November, SPLM leadership received the U.S. proposal which did not mention the Asosa crossing point as it is stated in the statement of Mr. Mubarak al-Fadil. His information about the American proposal is not accurate" Ardol said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune in the early morning of Wednesday.
He further pointed that the purpose of al-Fadil’s statement is "to increase pressure" on the SPLM-N, adding that it would be better for Mr. Mubarak al-Fadil to "leave for the government the promotion of its positions".
Last August, the opposition Sudan Call groups signed the African Union Roadmap Agreement but failed to reach a deal on the humanitarian truce. A week ago, the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki was in Khartoum to discuss the resumption of negotiations.
The government expressed readiness to resume peace talks with the armed groups but also started the implementation of the National Document endorsed at the end of the dialogue conference last October.
Following Mbeki visit, the SPLM-N reiterated they would not accept to hold political negotiations with Khartoum unless a humanitarian agreement is signed.
Ardo, in his denial mentioned they continue to exchange correspondence with the U.S. special envoy without further details.
On Monday the Sudanese parliament endorsed a set of constitutional amendments providing to create a position of prime minister who will lead the transitional government, and to appoint representatives of political groups in the transitional parliament which will discuss and vote a new permanent constitution.