As described in a report just out from the Vanguard, in Nigeria: The peace talks continue to move slowly forward. Both sides, Sudan government and the two rebel groups, have now accepted a shared agenda. The first item on the agenda is to discuss strategies to facilitate humanitarian aid. There are four agenda items, as reported by Nigeria First,
humanitarian, political, security and socio-economic concerns. While political and security issues are to be treated jointly, social and economic issues will be treated differently.
It is expected that an acceptable power-sharing formula would ultimately emerge from the agenda.
The African Union (AU) Chairman and President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo described the endorsement as "a first step in the right direction in these very important talks." He also pointed out that the statements made by the parties thus far have been frank and, therefore, helpful.
What is remarkable so far is that Obasanjo and his team of negotiators have managed to get both sides to accept a very comprehensive agenda, and to be--as he says--frank. This is very different from how the UN discussions with the government of Sudan have gone. The UN discussions played into the government's framing of the issues and campaign of misinformation. Much remains to be seen as to whether the Nigerian-led African Union discussion produces an agreement, and ultimately whether such an agreement can take hold on the ground and be enforced by the African community. Still, the current negotiation seems to be off to a modest but honest--and therefor potentially promising--start.