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Sudan’s opposition alliance sticks to its conditions for national dialogue

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March 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition umbrella organisation National Consensus Forces (NCF) has called on the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to accept conditions set by the opposition for engaging in national dialogue.

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NCF chairman Farouk Abu Issa speaks to reporters as Hassan Al-Turabi PCP leader (L) listens on 12 June 2012 (ST)

The NCP had stipulated setting a timetable to apply opposition conditions, however, the NCF rejected the proposal, maintaining its position that the NCP must agree to its conditions prior to any dialogue taking place.

The NCF wants the NCP-dominated government to declare a comprehensive one-month ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In addition it has called for the issuing of a general amnesty, allowing public freedoms and the release of all political detainees.

NCF chairman Farouq Abu Issa disclosed in a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday that he had met with former vice-president, Ali Osman Taha last Friday, saying the latter told him that the NCP wishes to accelerate dialogue with the NCF.

Issa said he had underscored NCF’s position to Taha, noting that while the former vice-president had acknowledged the relevance of NCF’s conditions, he was seeking an agreement on a timetable for their implementation.

Issa said that Taha had stressed that NCP’s old guard are still active and influential, noting he is a member of a committee responsible for dialogue with the opposition comprised of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, second vice-president Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.

Last December, Bashir removed what is viewed as the old guard in a major government reshuffle.

The reshuffle saw the departure of Taha, as well as presidential advisor Nafie Ali Nafie. Taha lost his post to the president’s close confidante and minister of presidential affairs General Bakri Hassan, while senior NCP member Ghandour was awarded the post of presidential assistant.

The NCF chairman further said he told Taha that they seek to engage in an open and transparent dialogue which leads to the dismantling of the regime and establishing a transitional national government that doesn’t exclude any party, adding that Taha considered NCF’s conditions a move to weed out the NCP.

Issa stressed that the NCF does not seek to remove the NCP, but rather engage all political parties, including the ruling party, in the political process according to its real political weight, adding that he had informed Taha that he would convey his message to NCF forces.

Issa said he had also asked the former vice-president to convey a message to president Bashir, demanding he declare a comprehensive ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile for one month.

“I told him that we are able to convince the rebel groups to take part in the dialogue,” he said

The NCF holds the Sudanese government responsible for the recent military escalation in Darfur, which has led to the death of dozens of people and the displacement of thousands of others. It is urging the government to declare an immediate ceasefire and open safe corridors to allow humanitarian assistance to reach civilians in conflict-affected ones.

The NCF has also stressed the need to resolve the Darfur crisis within the framework of a comprehensive solution, warning that the ongoing conflict jeopardises Sudan’s unity and sovereignty.

(ST)

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