March 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir met on Friday evening with Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) for the first time since the political fallout between the two men in 1999 which led to the split of the ruling party.
- Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir shakes hands with Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party in Khartoum on 14 March 2014 (SUNA)
Bashir and the godfather of his regime during the first ten years agreed to accelerate the preparation for the holding of the national dialogue with the participation of all the political and social components of the country.
The meeting which took place with the presence of the former vice-president Ali Osman Taha and former presidential aide Nafei Ali Nafei discussed the presidential initiative of 27 January aiming to hold a national conference in the country to discuss constitutional reforms and ways to end armed conflict in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Speaking to the press following the meeting, the National Congress Party (NCP) political secretary Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters that the meeting comes within the framework of the consultations conducted by Bashir with the Sudanese political forces to activate the National Dialogue Initiative, launched last January.
"The meeting reaffirmed the need to begin the dialogue as soon as possible. It was also agreed to not exclude any political force from this dialogue", Ismail said.
Also the two delegations "reiterated that the dialogue should be owned by the political forces that will participate in it. Therefore they (participants) will determine its roof, they will determine its topics, they will determine its timetable and mechanisms", he further stressed.
President Bashir met on 12 February with the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq Al-Mahdi to discuss the presidential initiative and ways to organise the national dialogue process.
The president is expected to meet the leaders of the other political forces or at least those who accepted his initiative.
On 27 January Bashir, announced a plan to stop the war and bring peace, to reestablish political freedoms, fight against poverty and revitalize national identity. He called for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items.
The presidential speech which was broadcasted on the national radio and television stations, was attended by Al-Mahdi , Al-Turabi, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Attabani leader of the Reform Now Party (RNP). The Democratic Unionist Party of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani participates already in the current government.
PCP leading member, Bashir Adam Rahamah who was among the delegation that accompanied Turabi to the meeting, confirmed that the two Islamist parties discussed the mechanism of dialogue which should be defined in a joint meeting. He added that all the political forces, rebel groups, civil society groups can take part in this national forum.
He said they, as opponents, attended the presidential speech last January and met with the president on Friday because of the PCP "reading of regional and international situation and the dangers the country is facing".
Rahamah said the solution of Sudan’s problems is only possible through dialogue, adding that the failure of this dialogue would be a crime against Sudan and its future generations.
He further stressed they believe that Sudan’s problems should be resolved without any intervention from any third party.
Al-Mahdi also said they want the national dialogue be an inter-Sudanese process without foreign inference.
— StillSUDAN (@StillSUDAN) March 15, 2014