Sudan opposition seeks new African decision over dialogue process: Al-Mahdi

April 28, 2016 (CAIRO) – Former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi disclosed Thursday that Sudanese opposition groups are seeking a new African Union Peace and Security (AUPSC)’s decision over the national dialogue in Sudan.

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The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi (Photo: Reuters)

Al-Mahdi said the new decision should reconcile a Roadmap Agreement rejected they reject with the AUPSC decision 539 issued on 25 August 2015 which promotes holistic approach in Sudan and calls for a preparatory conference to create the necessary conditions for a national dialogue process inside the country.

In an interview with Sudan Tribune on Thursday al-Mahdi said the Sudanese opposition forces have asked for a meeting with the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki to request that the AUPSC passes a new resolution on the peace process in Sudan

The purpose of the demarche that “the AUPSC passes a new resolution including the advantages of the Roadmap, the content of its decision (539) and the issues that we asked for,” al-Mahdi said.

“We will be in agreement with a new resolution providing to hold a preparatory meeting to ensure freedoms and to move for a national dialogue inside the country,” he added.

The decision to demand a meeting with Mbeki was taken during a recent meeting held in the French capital Paris to discuss the structures of the Sudan Call alliance.

Al-Mahdi has stressed that they reject the Roadmap because it acknowledges the ongoing dialogue in Khartoum, while for them the National Dialogue is a comprehensive process that should be held after the creation of a conducive environment and to be chaired by a neutral body.

Last March, NUP, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and Sudan Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) refused to sign the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the AUHIP, pointing to the need for a preparatory meeting and to include all the opposition groups as it is provided in the decision 539.

The roadmap, which is signed by the Sudanese government and supported by the international community and the regional body, says that a cessation of hostilities will be signed to allow humanitarian access to the war affected zones.

The opposition leader further expressed doubts over the government’s commitment to the Roadmap Agreement which it inked on 21 March. He said Khartoum accepted it in a bid to achieve diplomatic and political gains.

“However the international community is not stupid and they know that (Khartoum) signed the roadmap, but at the same time it used a support of the “Decisive Storm” (a Saudi led campaign against Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen) to carry out military campaigns and random bombardments.”

Further, he pointed that some European countries have approached the regime in Khartoum because it promised to support their efforts to stop illegal immigration and terrorism.

The former prime minister said he is convinced that they will discover that the Sudanese regime is “part of the extremism and cannot be a medicine for it.”

Regarding the divisions within the groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), the NUP leader said the activities of the Sudan Call alliance is not affected by this matter.

He said the relations between the SRF factions are good and ’’ they work together and cooperate with us amazingly well. The organizational dispute between them still exists, but it does not affect the cooperation between them or their relationship with us”.

RETURN TO SUDAN

Al-Mahdi who is residing in Cairo since the signing of Paris Declaration in August 2014, said he is preparing to return to Sudan after the adoption of the Sudan Call structures and other international activities.

“These tasks have been completed and there is no reason for staying abroad. So, I asked the party inside the country to decide my return date, and all our allies will be informed of the details,” he said.

“Even we will invite some of them to participate in the return,” he further said, adding “Of course this does not include those who are sentenced (by the Sudanese court) until an amnesty is issued”.

Also, he said that his return is not linked to the dialogue process unless a successful pre-dialogue meeting is held outside the country.

However, al-Mahdi said the killing of two students in Kordofan and Khartoum during recent peaceful protests implies to confront the regime with a unified popular will to achieve a just peace and full democratic change and the establishment of transitional justice and to bring perpetrators to book.

(ST)

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