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Bashir speech disappointed even most optimistic opponents: Sudanese rebels

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January 28, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel coalition known as the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rejected a call made by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on Monday for national dialogue during his speech saying it disappointed the most optimistic opponents.

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SPLM-N leader Malik Agar speaks at a press conference in Khartoum on 3 July 2011 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

President "al-Bashir’s speech yesterday lacked substance and was confounded," said SRF chairman Malik Agar in a press release he issued on Tuesday following a meeting of the leadership council of the rebel alliance.

"It provoked ridicule and even disappointed those who were more optimistic," he further stressed alluding to the three major opposition leaders who attended the speech in Khartoum.

Bashir in his speech invited all the political parties, national figures and rebels, if they lay down their arms, to engage talks on the future of the country and reforms to be undertaken.

He however didn’t make any concrete propositions, a matter that frustrated the political forces who were expecting a roadmap towards democratic transition in the country after 24 years of rule.

Agar further pointed out that the Sudanese regime should admit the magnitude of the crisis and to accept on equal basis the participation of all "the national partners".

"Resolving the crisis demands an end the war through addressing the humanitarian crisis, to address the roots of the political crisis, the redress of historical grievances represented in the right of citizenship without discrimination, democracy, social justice and the recognition of the right of others to be others," he said.

The rebel leader further reiterated their call for the formation of a inclusive government to administer the country during a transitional period where a constitutional conference would be held to decide "how to govern Sudan".

Like the opposition parties, the rebel SRF proposes holding free general election following the end of the transitional period.

The rebel alliance demand a secular state with a new territorial administrative system dividing the country to six autonomous provinces.

The presence of Hassan al-Turabi leader of the Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP) and another splinter Islamist figure Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani who heads Reform Now Party (RNP) was seen as indicator to a possible rapprochement with the ruling party.

President Bashir is expected to hold meetings with the leaders of the opposition parties in the coming weeks to discuss the steps to be taken towards the holding of a national dialogue conference.

(ST)

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