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Norway must mediate in East Sudan

State Secretary Raymond Johansen (Ap) has been secretly asked to mediate in the unknown conflict in East Sudan.

[peace talks] Ny Tid may reveal that Norway has been asked to play a central role in peace talks for East Sudan, where the guerrilla organization East Sudan Front is still fighting against the central authorities in Khartoum. The request has been sent directly to State Secretary Raymond Johansen via the President of Eritrea, who is scheduled to host the negotiations.

- I can confirm that the parties want Norway's involvement in planned peace negotiations, says Raymond Johansen in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Ny Tid.

Norway's and former Minister for Development Aid Hilde Frafjord Johnson's efforts contributed to the rebel movement SPLA in South Sudan and the government in Khartoum signing a peace agreement and ending a 21-year civil war on January 9, 2005. As part of the agreement, SPLA – which also fought with East Sudan Front against the authorities – withdraw from East Sudan.

However, it left the East Sudan Front in a vacuum. The front, which consists of several guerrilla organizations, thus continued its armed – albeit low-intensity – war against the authorities.

- Sudan and the Horn of Africa is one of my most important tasks. If the parties believe Norway can help prevent East Sudan from becoming a new Darfur, it is very positive, says Johansen.

One of several alternatives being discussed is that Johansen be given a role as a witness in the negotiations between the East Sudan Front. . .

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