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Sudan’s ruling NCP steps up pressure on opposition alliance to join national dialogue

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March 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is stepping up efforts to convince opposition alliance known as the National Consensus Forces (NCF) to take part in national dialogue aimed at resolving the country’s crisis.

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Farouk Abu Eissa (C), leader of the opposition alliance, talks to reporters with other opposition leaders on 12 June 2012 (ST)

In late January, Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivered a live televised speech to the nation in which he announced a four-point plan for reform “to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity”.

Bashir has called on political forces to engage in dialogue in order to reach an agreement on the implementation process, although he did not specify the practical steps needed to do so.

Sudan’s opposition parties have proposed forming a transitional government and holding a national roundtable with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

In accordance with the opposition platform the interim governmentwould organise general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime.

But the NCP rejects this proposal, saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should first sign peace accords and lay down arms.

A reliable source told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that Bashir delegated leading figures from his party in the last couple of days to contact NCF members to convince them to participate in national dialogue.

The same source predicted that the coming days would see new NCF adopt a favourable stance on dialogue, revealing that leaders of the opposition alliance had held separate meetings to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, the source asserted that the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has verbally expressed to the head of the NCF’s political committee a desire to rejoin the opposition alliance, adding that the NCF will look into the NUP’s request in its regular meeting on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan Al-Turabi on Wednesday urged the NCP to make compromises and allow freedoms in order to create an environment conducive for securing success of Bashir’s dialogue initiative.

According to the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) website, the PCP deputy secretary general, Ibrahim Al-Sanoosi, expressed optimism that national dialogue among Sudanese political forces would arrive at a positive outcome, saying his optimism was based upon the willingness shown by political parties to enter into dialogue.

He warned that imposing preconditions would impede efforts to reach agreement among political parties, saying his party’s disagreement with the opposition alliance was procedural and not based on principles, adding that the NCF is seriously considering joining the dialogue particularly in view of government neogotiations with the rebel SPLM-N and signals that armed groups would agree to engage in dialogue.

Al-Sanoosi further emphasised that achieving security and stability in the war-torn regions must precede the upcoming elections.

The NUP and the PCP are the only opposition parties to announce their acceptance of Bashir’s call for national dialogue.

(ST)

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