Sudan has signed a peace deal with a coalition of rebel groups from Darfur’s western region and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The deal follows months of difficult negotiations around the country’s decades-long civil wars. Until now, the main rebel groups have declined to join any peace agreements. It is anticipated that the new agreement will ultimately help to end 17 years of conflict in the North African country.
Amongst the groups who signed the treaty were the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) from the western region of Darfur, and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar from the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
According to Al Jazeera, the SLM faction led by Abdelwahid Nour and a wing of the SPLM-N headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu refused to take part.
A sweeping economic downturn and a disproportionate rise in the cost of living threw the country into civil unrest in 2018.
Last February, the country’s authorities and rebel groups agreed to hand over former autocratic President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court for war crimes. After being wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide related to the Darfur conflict, the military overthrew Al-Bashir.
Since his ousting, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) took Sudan’s reins and announced a three-year transitional period.
In December, a Sudanese court sentenced al-Bashir to two years of detention in a reform facility after being found guilty of corruption and illegitimate possession of foreign currency.
Al-Bashir remains in custody awaiting the remaining trials for these crimes.