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Government will not negotiate political issues with rebel groups until they lay down arms: NCP

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February 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has asserted that the government will not negotiate any political issues with the armed rebel groups prior to signing peace agreement through a genuine dialogue.

The NCP youth secretary, Hamid Mumtaz, said in a talk show on the pro-government Ashorooq TV that rebels must lay down arms and accept peace, adding that the NCP and the government continued to communicate with the rebels directly and within regional efforts and initiatives.

“You cannot negotiate on the constitution with someone who holds arms, he should lay down arms first and then engage in negotiations on political issues”, he said.

He urged political forces to discuss the substance of the recent speech delivered by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir not its form, accusing unidentified political forces of attempting to obscure issues contained in the speech.

Mumtaz noted that freedom is a basic religious value and stressed that the president’s address seriously tackled issues of political stability in a broad manner, praising the constructive spirit among political forces who are currently considering the speech in order to develop specific visions to achieve the comprehensive political reform.

He also said that economic stability is contingent upon comprehensive political stability adding that military conflict has negatively impacted economic growth, underscoring political stability can’t be achieved until war comes to an end.

The NCP official attributed high percentage of unemployment among Sudan’s youths to wars and economic sanctions imposed upon the country by the United States, emphasizing that the government is making vigorous efforts to achieve economic stability through developing foreign relations which enable Sudan to engage in regional and international partnerships.

He pointed to Sudan’s cultural diversity and said developing a common identity would represent the gateway for fighting tribalism.

The long awaited speech by Bashir last week that was expected to unveil a major reform proposal, created a wave of disappointment among those who followed it including opposition leaders who were present.

Bashir announced a 4-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize 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.

(ST)

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