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Sudan witnessing largest political dialogue in its history: official

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March 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, has said the country is witnessing the largest political dialogue in its history announcing that the coming days will witness further political openness and dialogue between the government and opposition forces in order to arrive at solutions for the country’s crises.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R), flanked by presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour, gives a speech in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Abd Raouf)

Ghandour, who addressed a meeting of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU) in Khartoum on Saturday, said the anticipated dialogue will be comprehensive and transparent, noting its outcome will be binding in order to agree on common national principles.

He pointed to Um-Jaras second forum on peace and security in Darfur which is currently taking place in the Chadian border town of Um Jaras with the participation of local and tribal components of the Darfur society.

In a televised address to the nation late last January, the Sudanese president 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 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.

In a separate context, the presidential advisor noted that the ICATU has endured all conspiracies of the enemies of the Arab nation, saying Sudan has been facing challenges for long years including economic sanctions and confiscation of money.

He disclosed that a money transfer of subscription fee amounting to more than $15.000 was recently confiscated under the pretext that Sudan is facing sanctions.

(ST)

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