March 27, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) announced that it has embarked on intensive contacts to convince the Darfuri rebel armed group to engage in dialogue with the government in order to achieve a comprehensive solution for all intractable problems facing the country.
The PCP leading figure, Adam Al-Tahir Hamdoun, held a series of meetings in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi with leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), and Sudan Liberation Movement -Abu Al-Gasim Imam (SLM-Imam)
JEM spokesperson,. Gibreel Adam Bilal, denied on Thursday such meetings. He said the group, together with other rebel groups, has a public position on what is called the National Dialogue and the regime have to fulfill a number of conditions before to speak about a national dialogue.
The rebel spokesperson was referring to the rebels’ demand of comprehensive cessation of hostilities and a comprehensive process to be held under the auspice of a joint international mediation.
However Hamdoun said the rebel groups have agreed to engage in conditional dialogue saying they are ready to participate in the dialogue in Khartoum if the government provided certain guarantees.
An informed source told Sudan Tribune that PCP assigned Hamdoun to convince the rebel groups to accept the recent government call for national dialogue which PCP has agreed to take part in it unconditionally.
The same source noted that Hamdoun affirmed to the rebel groups Khartoum’s readiness to offer all necessary guarantees which enables them to join the dialogue in the Sudanese capital, asserting rebel groups agreed to take part in the dialogue provided the government allows public freedoms, declares ceasefire, and release political detainees.
The PCP disclosed it formed 4 committees to develop its vision and agendas for the national dialogue, predicting that a meeting will convene next week between the government and all political parties which accepted to engage in the dialogue.
He also predicted the meeting would form a committee to develop mechanisms for administering the dialogue and contacting the various rebel groups.
The PCP secretary of foreign affairs, Bashir Adam Rahma, told the government-sponsored Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Wednesday that his party formed 4 committees to prepare for the national dialogue including economic, legal, peace and security, freedoms, and foreign relations committees.
He said the legal committee would discuss options for governing the country during the transitional period while the economic committee will focus on solving economic problems relating to living conditions.
Rahma added the PCP is a founding member of the opposition alliance, National Consensus Forces (NCF) and won’t leave it and pointed they met with several NCF parties following their decision to join the dialogue, stressing those parties underscored that PCP is an important component of the opposition alliance.
In a separate context, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) disclosed that 22 opposition parties on top of which are the PCP and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), have met during the last couple of days to develop a common vision on issues of the national dialogue.
The NUP politburo media official, Abdel-Hamid al-Fadl, pointed in a press release that his party discussed with the NCF parties ways for resolving Sudan’s problems, saying they agreed to assign independent and neutral national figures to head the dialogue process instead of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
In his comment on the call of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani for assigning the task to the presidency, the NUP official said that every party has its own vision.
In a televised address to the nation late last January, the Sudanese leader announced a four-point plan for reform “to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalize national identity”.
He further called for political forces and even rebel groups should they 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 the 2015 elections to be delayed and the formation of 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 have so far accepted Bashir’s call for national dialogue.
But both parties warned that they would pull out of dialogue with the NCP if no progress is made.