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Turabi says differences with opposition alliance over dialogue settled

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February 17, 2014 (KHARTOUM) –The secretary general of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, announced that differences with the opposition alliance known as the National Consensus Forces (NCF) have been settled saying he is ready to engage in an unconditional dialogue with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

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Leading Sudanese opposition figure Hassan al-Turabi gestures during an interview in Khartoum October 3, 2012 (REUTERS)

He revealed that all NCF parties accepted to engage in the national dialogue except two parties which he didn’t identify.

Last month, Bashir addressed the nation announcing 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.

Turabi, who met with European Union (EU) ambassadors at his house on Monday, told reporters following the meeting that he explained to his NCF allies the motives behind his party’s decision to accept the NCP call for dialogue, affirming differences with the NCF have been settled.

Last week the PCP unveiled its decision to engage in dialogue with the ruling party amid wide resentment among the opposition alliance forces.

Leading figures with the NCF commented in statements to Sudan Tribune on conditions of anonymity on the political shift of Turabi party and dmitted that PCP’s move would split the opposition considering it a blatant attempt to abandon its allies.

Turabi told EU ambassadors that although the president’s speech was ambiguous it contained a call for dialogue and pointed they refuse to engage in a bilateral dialogue with the NCP, saying they only accept dialogue in the frame work of the national issues.

He stressed existence of pressing problems relating to people’s livelihood, denying EU ambassadors have extended direct invitation for his arty to attend a dialogue conference in Germany.

The PCP secretary general said he told EU ambassadors that he prefers holding the dialogue conference inside Sudan and stressed his meeting with them cannot be seen as foreign intervention in Sudan’s internal affairs.

He declared his party’s readiness to engage in an unconditional dialogue with the NCP, saying they want to settle their differences with the government in a peaceful way.

“If dialogue lead to an agreement it would be welcomed and if it doesn’t lead to an agreement we will emerge out of it safely”, he added

Turabi further pointed to failure for resolving conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, affirming that they would only be resolved within a national framework.

He urged political parties to prepare their proposals for the transitional period and pointed that all political parties acknowledge existence of grievances in some parts of the country, adding that rebel groups could be given guarantees to attend the national dialogue in Khartoum.

“In 1964 we brought the rebels from abroad to participate in the dialogue and we guaranteed their safety”, he added.

Turabi asserted that his party’s contacts with the NCP are weak and restricted to social contacts, pointing the latter had not invited them for dialogue on national issues such as Darfur crisis and secession of South Sudan.

The PCP split from the NCP following 1999’s bitter power struggle between Bashir and Turabi, with the latter was ousted from his post as parliamentary speaker and the chairmanship of the ruling party alike.

Turabi later established the PCP and has since been a vociferous critic of the very regime whose army-backed seizure of power in 1989 he orchestrated.

(ST)

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