Sudan reveals contacts with political opposition and armed groups

(KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government on Monday has disclosed ongoing contacts between President Omer al-Bashir and the political opposition and armed groups to achieve a peaceful settlement to the Sudanese crisis.

Sudan's Minister of Information Hassan Ismail told the semi-official Sudan Media Center that the continued contacts have come a long way in this regard.

He added President al-Bashir stressed the contacts with the holdout opposition have achieved positive results, saying the government efforts to achieve peace in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile would see a further boost during the coming few days.

Sudanese opposition parties and the armed groups signed the Freedom and Change Declaration which requests the President to step down as they propose to form a four-year transitional government to end armed conflicts and achieve democratic reform before general elections.

They also reject a proposition made by President al-Bashir to engage in a dialogue based on the outcome of the national dialogue conference.

Also, the armed groups in Darfur declined last January to resume peace talks with the government after the eruption of protests in the country. In the same vein, the SPLM-N al-Hilu denied reports about meetings with the government on the peace process.

The Sudanese information minister hasn't named the opposition parties and armed movements that have engaged in the contacts with President al-Bashir.

Ismail also called on the opposition parties and the armed groups to achieve political consensus in order to address the national issues.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December. The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for al-Bashir to step down.

Sudanese continue to organise daily protests including demonstrations, sit-ins and meetings despite the emergency order and the brutal crackdown by the police, security forces and militiamen of the ruling National Congress Party.

Some 31 people were killed across the country according to the Sudanese authorities but activists and rights groups say the death toll is over 50 people.

President al-Bashir on 22 February declared a one-year state of emergency and dissolved the federal and states governments appointing 18 militaries as governors of the states.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011 and a group of movements in Darfur since 2003.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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