Small Arms Survey (2015). Two Fronts, One War: Evolution of the Two Areas Conflict, 2014–15
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The conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile (the ‘Two Areas’) between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army-North (SPLM/A-N) has entered its fourth year, characterized by continuous high-intensity military action and air attacks. While the front line has not substantially changed since the end of the first year of the conflict, the distance between the parties remains significant, and the seventh round of talks between the warring parties in Addis Ababa (12 November–8 December 2014) ended without major progress, with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) unable to close the widening gap. The military components of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) are pushing the ‘one process, two tracks’ approach established by the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) that asks for local arrangements, i.e. a cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas and Darfur, and political autonomy as a prerequisite for a National Dialogue. The government insists on a ceasefire before any political agreement. Meanwhile, new alliances took shape when the SRF signed the ‘Sudan Call’ with traditional political parties and civil society on 3 December 2014, which reiterates the previous SRF–Umma ‘Paris Declaration’ of 8 August 2014 (Sudan Call, 2014). The Sudan Call signatories agreed to boycott the national elections ahead of a National Dialogue. They reiterated this decision on 27 February 2015 in Berlin, and this contributed to the overall low turnout during the vote of 13–16 April 2015. The signatories of the Sudan Call contested both the decision of the National Congress Party (NCP) to hold the elections anyway and the ruling party’s landslide victory, and the prospect of a National Dialogue is now more remote than ever.