March 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Umma National Party (UNP) expressed his party’s willingness to engage in dialogue with the regime and the other political and military components of the opposition to achieve peace and democratic transition in Sudan.
- Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (R) talks with opposition’s Umma Party leader and former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi, (file/Reuters)
Sadiq Al-Mahdi, in a press conference held on Wednesday explained that his party is committed to work with all the Sudanese forces to end existing conflicts and to realise "democratic transition without violence or support of foreign countries".
The largest opposition party is criticised by the government and the opposition alike because it refuses calls for regime change in Sudan but at the same time rejects the notion of holding direct talks with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) without the other opposition or rebel forces.
"There is a willingness inside the National Congress Party to dialogue with us and voices calling to review (the NCP’s unilateral policy)", said Al-Mahdi after detailing various points the UNP can discuss with the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), the National Consensus Forces (NCF) political coalition and Sudan’s civil society groups.
He went on to say that dialogue with the NCP should take into account different concerns including a strategic commitment to peace and freedoms, adding that no real understanding can be reached without it, a and constitution prepared and adopted by national instutions including all the political forces.
"We are ready to negotiate for a democratic national constitution, otherwise we say no", he stressed.
The opposition leader is accused by other opposition parties of compromising with the regime and reject his proposal to reform the NCF’s structure, saying he wants to take its leadership.
On February 21 the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, a small party with little impact in the country, demanded to suspend the membership of the Umma party from the coalition, accusing it of breaching the charter of Democratic Alternative that the opposition forces endorsed last year.
Regarding the Democratic Alternative, Al-Mahdi stressed that dialogue with the NCF forces will continue to reach an agreement over the needed means to achieve the goals of this charter without resorting to violence, and with an efficient structure.
He asserted that the is party is keen to work with the opposition forces adding "if this turns out not to be possible then we will cross that bridge when we come to it".
On the relations with the SRF, he reiterated the need to clarify the circumstances and errors that accompanied the New Dawn charter, alluding to the use of force to topple the regime, which was rejected by the UNP.
The rebels groups said they give priority to the peaceful means to achieve regime change in Sudan but cannot stop the armed struggle against Khartoum.