Sudan’s transitional authorities and a rebel alliance have signed a crucial peace deal that aims to put an end to the country’s decades-long civil wars.
Saturday’s official signing, which took place in Juba in South Sudan, sealed the peace deal reached in late August between the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of several armed groups.
Sudanese civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, hope the deal will allow them revive the country’s battered economy by slashing military spending, which takes up much of the national budget. The head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan hailed the signing as a great day in the country’s history.
“Fellow countrymen, this is a great day in the history of Sudan and we are accomplishing our main goals and ambitions in our grand revolution and its demands and that is peace,” Gen. Burhan said. “The peace that has cost the boys and girls of Sudan their lives, their blood in order to accomplish this.”
Reaching a negotiated settlement with rebels in Sudan’s far-flung provinces has been a goal for the transitional government, which assumed power after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.
The deal would grant self-rule for the southern provinces of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan. Rebel forces would be integrated into Sudan’s armed forces.
Attending the ceremony were several foreign officials including the US Special Envoy for Sudan, Donald Booth, African Union chairman Moussa Faki, and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly, along with other African and Arab officials.
Another rebel group and the largest in Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North, was involved in the talks but has yet to reach a deal with the government. But another major rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army, rejects the transitional government and did not take part in the talks.