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Sudan’s Bashir to begin meetings with political parties on Monday

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March 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leading figure at the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), Sideeg Youssef, denied that his party received an official invitation from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to engage in dialogue.

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Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, delivers a speech in the capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 in which he appealed for a political and economic renaissance in the country (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

He belied statements made by a senior official at Sudan’s Council of Ministers on Sunday in which he mentioned that the SCP is among those which will meet with president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir on Monday.

The Cabinet Affairs Minister, Ahmed Saad Omer, told reporters on Sunday that Bashir would begin his meetings with the political parties by the SCP, saying schedules of the meetings have already been set.

Youssef affirmed that they will reject the invitation if they receive it because the government failed to respond to SCP’s conditions for creating an environment which is conducive for dialogue.

The SCP wants the government to end military conflicts in the country and suspend laws restricting freedoms.

The NCP secretary of political relations, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said in press statements on Saturday that Bashir meetings with political parties including his meeting with the leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, would convene on Monday.

He stressed that dialogue’s mechanisms and outcome as well as its date and venue will be announced before the weekend.

Ismail praised the SCP’s acceptance for the dialogue, though he acknowledged that the NCP has not received an official letter from the SCP in this regard.

He admitted following his meeting with the leader of the Beja Conference Party (BCP), Musa Mohamed Ahmed, differences in views of political parties on national dialogue, saying some parties wanted Bashir to form a committee from representatives of political parties to administer the dialogue while others said the task must be assigned to research centers.

Ismail added that several political parties proposed that the government offer guarantees for the leaders of the rebel groups in order to participate in the dialogue while others saw attendance of rebel groups as unnecessary and instead proposed forming a committee to meet with them.

Meanwhile, the BCP leader urged Bashir to issues decrees promoting confidence between the government and political parties and allowing freedoms or instead forming a committee including leaders of political parties under his chairmanship.

The BCP secretary of organization, Mohamed Al-Muatassim Ahmed, suggested that dialogue must discuss an item describing Sudan as a federal democratic state made up of regions besides commitment to implement previous agreements, saying dialogue must be completed in a maximum period of 6 months beginning from January 27, 2014.

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 revitalize national identity”.

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 government would organize 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.

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

Yesterday, the NUP said that it has proposed the "national agenda" for more than two years in which it diagnosed the regime’s failures and outlined its vision to achieve just and comprehensive peace and complete democratic transformation.

The party pointed out that its theses identified the means to achieve the new regime, including a peaceful uprising that uses all means except violence or using foreign powers. This would help transform the government from a state of war to a state of peace and the country from a party’s state to a national state.

It went on to say that it agreed to Bashir’s call for a dialogue that would be open and excludes no one and imposes no limits on the outcome.

But the opposition party said that the dialogue should be governed by a timetable and specific mechanisms that is headed by an independent and agreeable figure.

This would lead to a roadmap that achieves a national peace process , a national constitution drafting process, a national economic reform and integrity of the general elections in an atmosphere of freedoms.

These commitments would form the basis of a national government that would run the country until the making of a new constitution is completed and free elections will are held after ensuring its fairness.

The government must also undertake confidence building measures pertaining to last September violent protests, political detainees, freedoms, press freedom, a positive response from opposition to dialogue call and have all sides refrain from profanities that undermines the dialogue strategy.

With regards to the peace process, the party reiterated its warning that bilateral talks that take place without preparation will not achieve the desired just and comprehensive peace. This would require agreement on a declaration of principles that is made up of ten articles. If they are agreed upon then the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) would be recognized as a partner in a peace process run by a National Peace Council.

The party warned that should the NCP rejects this approach then the NCP will abandon the dialogue which will not benefit the nation or achieve the people’s aspirations.

(ST)

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