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Umma leader supports negotiated change in Sudan


July 11, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan’s former prime minister and leader of the largest opposition Umma National Party (UNP) Sadiq al-Mahdi renewed Wednesday his call for a peaceful change in the country and reaffirming that it can be achieved through negotiations rather than bloody revolution.

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Sadiq al-Mahdi

Al-Mahdi, who is accused of complaisance with the regime by opposition forces, activists and rebel groups calls since the independence of South Sudan for a negotiated political change in the country through a comprehensive and inclusive conference to debate all the issues of the country.

The UNP, like another large political force the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, was negotiating with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) over the political future of the country after the independence of South Sudan .

The dispute with Juba over the border and Abyei, and the emergence of a new rebellion in South Kordofan and Blue Nile pushed the DUP to join the NCP government but Mahdi who is also critical to the rebel groups refused, thinking this situation might provide him an additional factor to pressure on Bashir’s party to accept his plans.

Following a series of meetings with Bashir on UNP’s participation in the government at the end of last year, Mahdi declined the offer to join the new cabine. But he announced that his party is committed to peaceful and democratic opposition. However, his son Abdel-Rahman was appointed as presidential assistant raising speculations about a deal between the two men.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, the opposition leader expressed fears that a popular revolution might lead the regime to use the armed forces against the protesters and open the door for the use of violence like the current situation in Syria.

"We are committed to change, it’s just that we think it is possible that the pressures could make change with less blood. We are not reluctant. We are more experienced, and we know, let us say, the rules of the game," Al-Mahdi emphasised.

Last week speaking to the Financial Times, Sadiq Al-Mahdi said he supports peaceful expression of popular frustration and rejection of government policy.

However he pointed out that his party does not think that time has come to engage a political defiance against the regime "until we have an alternative regime in place " including "peace" (with rebel groups) and "democratic transformation" (constitutional conference).

The opposition forces in Khartoum including the UNP signed on 4 July a political programme for the after-Bashir regime but the rebel groups criticized the move because they were not associated in its preparation.

Al-Mahdi in the past months was very critical for the rebel groups particularly the SPLM-N for their war against the regime explaining it enables the regime to freeze the democratic transformation he calls for.

Mahdi is also in disagreement with the other opposition forces because they support the protests saying the Sudanese street used to overthrow regimes through popular uprising.

However, the organization of two successive protests after Friday prayer outside Wad Nubawi mosque, which is linked to al-Mahdi’s partisans, allowed the UNP leader to show the capability of party.

The ruling party which is used to slam Hassan al-Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP) and the Communist Party avoids carefully to criticize the UNP.

Mariam Al-Mahdi, a leading UNP figure told France 24 TV that the situation in the country confirms that things are moving towards a "comprehensive change" in Sudan.

She however stressed the NCP leaders who admits the necessity of political change seek to impede the process and to make it in their own way.

The UNP representative at the opposition alliance further underscored that comprehensive regime change does not only mean to topple the regime but establish a new alternative one.

The line of the Umma party is guided by fears of political instability in the country due to the long years of war with the rebel groups and the tension with South Sudan.

Different sources say the major political forces; UNP and DUP, believe that any strong destabilization of the regime might push South Sudan to occupy disputed areas and rebel might take the control of different provinces.


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  • 12 July 2012 10:03, by Ayom Dor

    That would work if the NCP government respects universal democratic principles that would enable the conditions of negotiated peaceful change in the Sudan, but the rverse is true if those conditions don’t work..

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  • 12 July 2012 10:05, by George Bol

    Sadig does not know what he is talking about. Can Bashier leave leadership peacefully? Sadig must know that Bashier took leadership from him by force.This guy has hidden agenda. He tried to fool darfurians, Nubians, and Blue Nile people to join the government and later disarmed them by force. He is evil like Bashier.

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  • 12 July 2012 10:17, by Nubian King

    Sudan will see peace if only those of Mahdi and Turabi are made silent. This old man, called Mahdi keeps on changing his stances. You started tribalism in Sudan, Abdulrasul Alnour implemented it in Kordufan and Bashir completed it after adding some senses of criminality against Darfuri and Nubians.
    In fact, we Nubians, view UMMA and NCP as similar vehicles with only different colours. So stop it

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  • 12 July 2012 10:42, by AAMA

    These guys are politicians, they r not sure about their chances in free and fair elections, there is a political gap when it comes to the younger generations and the most likely ppl to fill it is arman and co. Public pressure might lead the gov to hand them partial (real) power through a negotiated deal which they can build their political future on. Don’t forget his son can be a prime candidate.

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  • 12 July 2012 12:05, by 4Justice

    Satan has a synagogue in Khartoum, unless that wicked synagogue is destroyed,there will never be peace in Sudan. For the last 22 years, El Bashir has been sacrificing innocent women and children to his loving master Satan. To stay in power he decided to open a Sugar Factory to please his subjects who have become accustomed to incessant propaganda.

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  • 13 July 2012 06:35, by Akol Liai Mager

    It wont be long for these Genocidal NIF’s supporters to change names and support yet another Racist/Sectarian dictator in Khartoum who will continue with the same denial of rights, killing and raping of people as usual.However,a life-saving system for the Sudanese people will delivered by Malik Agar, Abdulwahid Nur and Al-Hillu.

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  • 31 July 2012 12:30, by danaray79

    Nicely explained. It’s indeed an art to stop new visitors with your attractive writing style. Truly impressive and nice information. Thanks for sharing. Buy Dissertation.

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