Leaders of the armed opposition groups in Sudan say the ongoing peace talks in Juba must address the root cause of the conflicts.
About nine armed Sudanese opposition groups have gathered in Juba for peace talks with the new Sudanese Supreme Council.
The talks are being mediated by President Salva Kiir.
Since 2004, armed opposition groups have been fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur.
The conflict was later extended to the Blue Nile and Kordofan areas after South Sudan seceded in 2011.
Last year, President Salva Kiir offered to mediate talks between the armed groups and the government of President Omar al Bashir.
Bashir was overthrown in April, paving way for a new civilian-military government in Sudan.
The new Sovereign Council and the armed groups gathered in Juba on Monday for the launch of the talks.
Addressing the gathering, the leader of the Kush organization, one of the armed opposition groups said the Sudanese government has often used religion and identity to marginalize minority groups.
He stressed that the conference must address the separation of religion from the state.
Abdel el-Azizi argued that: “We also believe that the success of the negotiations depends on addressing the root causes of the problem that can be summarized in two issues of national identity – the relationship between the religion and the state.”
For his part, the leader of SPLM-North, one of the largest factions fighting the Sudanese government in the Nuba Mountains, stated that the armed groups are yearning for lasting peace in Sudan.
Malik Agar asked the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdul Fattah Burhan, to commit ensure that the new government attains total peace, unlike in the past under President al Bashir.
“Brother Bruhan, let this be the end so that we don’t look for problems,” he told the leader.
“My message to my colleagues in the opposition is, if we want to unite the country, let us unite. We need to unite ourselves and unity of the opposition is the only way to achieve peace in Sudan.”
The conflict in Sudan has reportedly displaced more than 5 million people.
Meanwhile, Dr. Alhadi Idris, leader of Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of opposition forces, added that resolving the conflict through the Juba peace talks will encourage those displaced to return to Sudan:
“Peace must be the priority, not only to stop the war in Sudan, but to address the issues of displacement and refugees -as well as regional stability, prosperity and development.”
In September, the transitional government of Sudan signed with the Revolutionary Front an agreement on “Declaration of Principles” to address issues of war and peace in Sudan.
They also agreed and set two months as a ceiling to complete the peace process.
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