A Southern Sudanese official to the United States says the presence of U. S. Special Envoy Scott Gration will be pivotal in breaking the impasse between Sudan’s main political parties.

Congress Grills US Administration on Sudan Electio
U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth praised President Barack Obama for making Sudan a priority of his administration.

“We thank President Obama for actually maintaining Sudan as a priority and also Secretary Clinton. We are so happy we will be receiving Scott Gration on Sunday. He (Gration) talked to my president, President Salva Kiir … that he was intending to go to the country to have a breakthrough on what is happening in the country,” he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that special envoy Scott Gration would return to Sudan this weekend to help restart a dialogue and resolve outstanding issues that are contributing to rising tensions.

This comes after three key members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) were briefly arrested and released following a demonstration to demand democratic reforms in an unusual challenge to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

President Salva Kiir's new cabinet will help prepa
SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir

Gatkuoth said the U.S. envoy could help with ongoing negotiations between President Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM.

“As we speak now the SPLM senior leadership headed by the chairman of the SPLM and the NCP headed by President Bashir, we are meeting now in Khartoum trying to resolve all the issues that are actually pending. There is a possibility that hopefully we will be able to address all these issues,” Gatkuoth said.

Sudan is scheduled to conduct its first multi-party election in 24 years under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of civil war between the North and the South.

President Bashir of Sudan
President Bashir is the Chairman of the ruling NCP

Gatkuoth said there is need for the full implementation of the CPA.

“The issues are very clear. The SPLM is simply saying let us implement the CPA. One of the things that we need to do is to pass the referendum law and also the National Security Act…I think having Scott Gration and all of us sitting together will help a lot in resolving all those issues,” Gatkuoth said.