January 31, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP) led by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Reform Now Party (RNP) headed by Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani, agreed on Friday to invite all political parties for a workshop.
- From left to right: Leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turabi, Reform Now Party (RNP) head Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and second vice-president Hassabo Abdel-Rahman attend a speech by the president announcing a national dialogue initiative on 27 January 2014 (SUNA)
Al-Mahdi received a delegation today of the RNP headed by Attabani after which they held a meeting, which came on the background of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s call for political forces to engage in dialogue, which was the first of its kind between the two parties.
On Wednesday, al-Attabani held a rare meeting with the leader of Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turabi. The two men agreed to set up joint committees for political and intellectual coordination between the two parties besides promoting issues of freedoms, full transitional status, constitution and elections.
The NUP and RNP meeting decided to form a working group in consultation with the rest of political forces to conduct a workshop to deliberate on the popular demands and determine mechanisms for implementing them in a period not exceeding two weeks.
They also concurred that the workshop would include all political and civil forces that aspire for a new political regime. The time and agenda would be determined by the working group.
NUP issued a statement saying the two sides agreed that the multi-faceted national crisis requires an urgent national solution.
Attabani split from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in late 2013 over calls for reforms, transparency and democratic changes. He later established the RNP, saying it would "bring new hope to Sudan".
Al-Mahdi and al-Attabani both attended Bashir’s address to the nation along with Turabi which was seen as a sign of an imminent reconciliation between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its foes.
But afterwards, all three made statements either personally or through their parties criticizing the lack of specifics and excessive generalities that gave no real signs of concessions on the part of the ruling party.
Bashir announced a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items though he did not specify practical steps to do so.