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Khartoum has set another condition for talks with the SPLM-North: The government of South Sudan must prove that it is no longer arming the rebels.

“It is hard to tell exactly what Khartoum’s calculations are, but clearly they have prioritized the security aspect of the current situation very highly,” said Jonathan Temin, director of the Sudan and South Sudan program at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

The SPLM-North had strong linkages to the SPLM prior to South Sudan’s independence. Those bonds still exist, according to Western officials and activists who frequently visit the region.

Mr. Arman denies that his group receives arms from South Sudan.

“This is part of [Gen. Bashir‘s] blame tactics to buy time,” he said. “Bashir has a master’s degree in buying time.”

The onus is on the government in Khartoum to prove that South Sudan is still helping SPLM-North, said Omer Ismail, a senior policy adviser at the anti-genocide Enough Project.

The rigid positions adopted by the Sudanese government and the SPLM-North make it very unlikely that the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile will end anytime soon, say analysts.

“We see two people who say, ‘We are all for talks,’ but they are coming from different perspectives that are not easily reconcilable,” said Mr. Ismail. “In fact, they are miles away from each other.”

In his meetings in Washington and New York, Mr. Arman impressed upon his interlocutors at the State Department, in Congress and at the U.N. Security Council the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and to press for a political solution to the conflicts in Sudan.

“In asking for negotiations with a national scope and a more inclusive participation, the SPLM-N is not only trying to raise the stakes; it is also respecting agreement with its SRF partners,” the International Crisis Group said in a report last week.

The international community favors a comprehensive solution to end Sudan’s civil wars.

“Everybody is pointing toward the need for political negotiations between SPLM-North and Khartoum,” said Mr. Temin. “That is really the next logical step.”