Sudan rebels, govt extend peace talks for three weeks

Trainee soldiers for a new unified army pose for a photo outside their quarters built of grass while attending a reconciliation programme run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at a makeshift barracks in Mapel on January 31, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 17 February 2020

Sudan rebels, govt extend peace talks for three weeks

  • The SRF and Khartoum representatives signed a deal to keep negotiations going

JUBA: The Sudanese government and a coalition of rebel groups on Monday extended peace talks for another three weeks after missing a deadline for a final peace deal.
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) — a coalition of nine rebel groups — and Khartoum representatives signed a deal to keep negotiations going after failing to wrap up talks by February 15.
“Hopefully this will be the last extension for these talks,” SRF deputy secretary general Yasir Arman told AFP.
Important steps have been made to “finalize a peace agreement,” Arman said.
The peace talks, which began in South Sudan in October, aim to end conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, where rebels have fought bloody campaigns against marginalization by Khartoum under ousted president Omar Al-Bashir.
Hopes of a peace deal were raised after Sudan’s transitional government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, made ending conflict in these areas a priority.
So far the parties have agreed on a cease-fire, humanitarian access, land issues and the resettlement of those displaced by the conflicts.


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 30 October 2020

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”