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Sudan’s PCP predicts government declaration of general amnesty and ceasefire

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April 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) has predicted release of political detainees including members of the armed groups in order to encourage them to take part in the national dialogue.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has called on political parties to participate in national dialogue aimed at stimulating a reform plan announced earlier this year (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

While the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) demanded releasing political detainees, saying the government’s decisions in this regard are not credible.

The PCP political secretary, Kamal Omer, predicted that president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, "will issue presidential decrees during this week declaring general amnesty for political convicts and those who were sentenced for life imprisonment".

According to him, the general amnesty will also include members of the armed groups on top of them the chairman of the rebel alliance Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), Malik Agar, and secretary general of the SPLM-N, Yasser Arman.

Last month, Sudanese court sentenced Agar and Arman, and others to death by hanging in absentia for their involvement in events that occurred during the conflict that broke out in Blue Nile state in 2011.

The PCP official said in a statement to Sudan Tribune that the awaited "presidential decrees will also include a unilateral ceasefire from the government side, pointing its military activities will be confined to self-defence".

Omer underscored that his party and other political forces are putting pressures on the government to issue those decrees in order to create an atmosphere conducive for dialogue besides building trust with the rebel and opposition forces that refused to take part in the dialogue.

He said those decrees would ease the mission of the political forces which agreed to engage in the dialogue, adding they intend to contact the refusing parties and the armed groups in order to convince them of the feasibility of the president’s call for national dialogue and necessity of their participation in it.

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 rebels should they lay down arms to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items to achieve these objectives.

So far, the ruling party, has 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.

However, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the PCP are the only 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.

The opposition umbrella organization of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) which includes the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and other small political forces demands creating environment conducive for dialogue besides allowing political freedoms and establishing a national coalition government to administer the dialogue and implement its outcome.

The rebels of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), for their part, demand talks with the government to discuss the humanitarian situation in the war areas besides a ceasefire prior to joining the national dialogue process.

Meanwhile, the SCP renewed its rejection for the president’s call for dialogue, describing the recent government’s decisions to allow freedoms and release political detainees as "lacking credibility".

The member of the SCP’s central committee, Siddiq Youssef, said on Sunday the government released only 5 detainees from his party while 30 others are still in prison, pointing to violent clashes that took place at the University of the Holy Quran following the president’s decision to allow political freedoms.

He said they agree with the government that Sudan’s problem would only be resolved within a comprehensive national framework with the participation of the rebel groups, noting they agree with the SRF on the need for a peaceful resolution to Sudan’s crises.

Youssef further affirmed that peaceful solution requires ending war, releasing all political detainees, and allowing more freedoms.

(ST)

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