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Bashir could be “neutral” figure in national dialogue process: NCP

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March 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said that its chairman president Omer Hassan al-Bashir could be a neutral figure in the dialogue between the NCP and opposition parties should all sides agree on him as an authority for the process.

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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)

Badria Suleiman, a leading NCP figure, said at a political forum in Khartoum that the meetings that took place between Bashir and other political forces were made in his capacity as the president and not the NCP top man.

She said that the foundations of dialogue could be laid at a forum for initial consultation with the participation of party leaders, academics and rebel groups. The official dialogue forum later would be moderated by a neutral General Secretariat.

Late last January, the Sudanese leader announced in a televised address to the nation a four-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity".

He further called for political forces and even rebel groups to lay down arms to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items to achieve these objectives.

Bashir afterwards met with several opposition leaders but it is not yet clear how the dialogue call will be implemented amid deep skepticism over the willingness of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to implement deep reforms.

So far NCP officials including Bashir have brushed aside opposition calls for delaying the 2015 elections and forming a transitional government that would work on drafting a new constitution to prepare the country for the polls.

The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) are the only major opposition parties who accepted Bashir’s call for national dialogue.

Bit both parties warned that they will not continue dialogue with the NCP should it prove to going nowhere.

(ST)

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