Yasir Arman

The SPLM-N Statement at the Opening Session of the Addis Ababa Negotiation on November 12, 2014.

Your Excellency, President Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the AUHIP,
Your Excellency, President Abdul Salami Abubaker,
The Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Haile Menkerios,
The Representative of IGAD and the Government of Ethiopia.
Observers,
The leader of the Sudan Government Delegation, Ibrahim Ghandor,
Members of the two delegations,
Chairman Mini Minawi the leader of the SRF coordinating council for the peace process(CCPP)
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press and Media.

Comrade President Thabo Mbeki, my remarks are going to be short and direct to the point.

This round of talks will be registered in history of the conflict as one of the important rounds, if not the most important. It would be important not only to the parties, but also for Sudan at large and the Sudan future agenda. It may be the last chance to salvage Sudan through a credible national constitutional conference. This is the only road to bring a national consensus and a true nation building program.
In this round of talks there are two ways to go, there is no third way: The first would be to choose the road that answers the question “how is Sudan going to be governed?”, and together obtain a collective answer as a basis of the national consensus, and agreeing on a future agenda of a new Sudan based on the free will of all stake holders. We may not be able to correct the past, but we will definitely be able to constitute a common future agenda.

The second way is the way that we all know, that is, to continue the war that witnessed genocide and led to the succession of South Sudan, and we will not get a better result than what we got in the past. If at all there is a third way it would not be discussed here, Therefore the SPLM-N finds this to be a unique opportunity which we should be embraced by all of us and we go into credible national dialogue that will take our country into a new chapter of its history, a chapter of equal citizenship, democracy and the rule of law, sustainable development, and social justice.
There is an organic link between the comprehensive peaceful settlement and the equal citizenship. None of them can be achieved without the other. Achieving both of them will constitute a bright future for Sudan and preserve its unity on a new basis. The road to a comprehensive peaceful settlement is the road to the equal citizenship.
The humanitarian issue and humanitarian access is a right for the civilian populations. Denying it is a war crime in international humanitarian law. The continuous aerial bombardment against the civilian population in the two areas and Darfur, the attacks of civilians, raping of hundreds of women, as in the horrible case recently in Thabit in Darfur, to stop the war and addressing the humanitarian crisis is an entry point to be resolved in order to create a conducive environment for the national constitutional dialogue.
The issue of the elections and the national dialogue are interrelated and interconnected. A credible election and peaceful exchange of power can only be achieved after a successful story of achieving national dialogue. Therefore, the Government of Sudan should be committed for a genuine national dialogue, and credible elections under a national transitional government.
As we are coming here to look for a comprehensive peaceful settlement and equal citizenship as inseparable elements to usher Sudan into a new era, we dedicate our efforts in this round of talks, from our side, to three brave sons of Sudan’s.

First, the leader of 1924 revolution Ali Abelatif whose mum ironically, was from South Sudan, and his father was from the Nuba Mountains, and who was the first to build a national revolutionary organization on the basis of equal citizenship. The second is Dr Taha Osman Baliya, the founder of the Bija Congress in Eastern Sudan in 1958, who dreams of an equal citizenship. Last but definitely not least, is a man whom you personally know, Dr John Garang De Mabior Atem, who had the courage to lead the biggest attempt to unite Sudan, on a new basis and a new vision, the vision of the new Sudan when he founded the SPLM in 1983. We salute the three of them and from their courage and spirit we draw our determination to make this round of talks a successful story.
Yasir Arman,
SPLM-N Chief Negotiator