By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA (AA) – Peace talks in Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government and a handful of rebel groups have broken down without reaching an agreement, officials announced late Sunday night.
Since last Wednesday, negotiations were held in the Ethiopian capital, with two Sudanese government delegations holding talks with Darfurian rebels and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), an armed opposition group that operates in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The delivery of humanitarian aid into the two conflict-ridden states became a major sticking point in the talks, with Khartoum rejecting opposition proposals for the establishment of “humanitarian corridors” — through which aid might be funneled — linking Sudan to neighboring countries.
The government also conditioned a cease-fire with Darfurian rebel groups on the disclosure of rebel positions in the troubled western Sudanese province.
Chief government negotiator Mohamed Mohamoud blamed the rebels for the breakdown of talks.
“The opposition is responsible for the failure of talks,” he said. “They obstructed all potential agreements.”
SPLM-N chief mediator Yassir Arman, however, accused the government of undermining the fragile negotiations.
“The government says we must accept all their demands; they are prevaricating,” he told reporters.
”For four years, the government has insisted on using food and other humanitarian assistance as a weapon against civilians in conflict zones — and they’re still doing this,” he said.
African Union (AU) chief mediator Thabo Mbeki, for his part, says the talks will eventually resume.
He did not, however, provide a fixed date as to when this might happen.
Mbeki attributed the suspension of talks to both sides’ failure to agree on a cessation of hostilities and on the delivery of humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
On-again, off-again peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel groups have been held since 2011 under AU mediation.
The negotiations, however, have so far failed to register any breakthroughs.