JUBA – Sudanese holdout opposition leader General Abdel Aziz Adam al-Hilu on Sunday signed a declaration of principles with leader of the Sudan military council General Abdelfattah al Burhan.
We caught up with him in an exclusive interview and below is the full transcript of the interview.
Question: Briefly tell us what it is that you have signed today with the government of Sudan?
Answer: Actually, we have signed the Declaration of Principles and this document is going to pave way and enable the two parties to discuss substance issues. Issues like power-sharing, wealth-sharing, security arrangements. This is a key; we have managed to also agree on the relations between state and the religion that is separation of religion from the state and this also a major achievement which was done by this document.
Q: Is your position that religion should be separated from the state, right?
A: Yes, that is our position. We want a secular state; a secular democratic state and now President Burhan have signed this document and this document separate between the religion and the state in principle.
Q: So, what is next after the signing ceremony here in Juba today?
A: The two delegations will go to negotiate the substantive issues to cease political issues, humanitarian issues, and security sector reforms issues.
Q: So, can we say that Mr. Abdel Aziz joined the Juba peace process of Sudan?
A: We have been in the peace process since October 2019 but as the government was avoiding the track of SPLM-North, now they have come back and we are going to resume the peace talks. We are going to continue the negotiation with the government so that we reach final settlement to the conflict in Sudan.
Q: Are you hopeful the government of Sudan will this time be faithful to the agreement because many agreements as it had been said by Mr. Abel Alier that many agreements signed but dishonored?
A: The government of Sudan is notorious for dishonoring the agreements, hope this time, they become sincere; they adhere and implement what they agreed?
Q: Any final message to the people of Kordofan?
A: That you have to be optimistic and we have now put our legs on the right path toward peaceful settlement to the conflict of Sudan and when we resolve all these conflicts then there will be peace in the whole of Sudan and specifically for the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Q: One burning thing is Mr. Abdel Wahid Al-Nur of SLM has not joined the peace process, would you advise him to join the peace process as you have joined today?
A: Abdel Wahid is an independence movement, independence liberation movement and independence command and leadership, but we are colleagues anyhow, we are comrades in struggles, so my advice is that let Abdel Wahid negotiate with the government so that his positions and his claims are known but keeping away will not enable the government and the people to understand your position and what you want. So, my advice is for Abdel Wahid to negotiate with the government.