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Sudan’s ruling party seeks regional observers for national dialogue process

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April 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has announced it would seek regional participation in the national dialogue in order to encourage all political forces to engage in it without exception.

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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)

The NCP media secretary, Yasser Youssef, said on a talk show broadcast by the state-run Radio Omdurman on Friday that his party would consult with its partners in the national dialogue in order to allow political forces which didn’t take part in the recent political roundtable to be part of the dialogue mechanism which will be developed soon.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, held a political roundtable in Khartoum with the participation of 83 political parties. The move came within the framework of a call he made last January for a comprehensive national dialogue.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) boycotted the political roundtable, saying the government did not respond to its conditions for creating an environment conducive for dialogue.

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.

Youssef said the government will seek to offer the necessary safeguards in order to engage all political forces in the national dialogue, noting the African Union (AU) and the Arab League will observe the dialogue process.

He stressed the NCP "doesn’t want the dialogue bus to leave with empty seats", announcing they will exercise patience with the political forces which refused to take part in the national dialogue.

The rebel alliance of the Susan Revolutionary Forces (SRF), demanded the government to hold direct talks with them to negotiate a cessation of hostilities and open humanitarian access to civilians in the rebel areas.

The SRF also says that a conference attended by all political forces should be held outside Sudan and brokered by the United Nations (UN) and the AU in order to agree on the national dialogue mechanisms.

The NCP, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), and the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) rejected holding the national abroad, saying it is an inter-Sudanese process and must take place inside the country without foreign intervention.

Youssef said the government responded to the NCF’s conditions not only by issuing presidential directives but also a presidential decree in order to emphasise credibility and seriousness in holding the national dialogue.

The NCP official pointed the dialogue mechanism would include seven members from the government side and seven others from the opposition according to the suggestion made at the political roundtable.

BASHIR SELECT GOVERNMENT DELEGATES

Meanwhile the political parties of the “broad-based” government of the NCP have delegated Bashir to name members of the government parties in the dialogue mechanism.

Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that opposition forces which joined the dialogue including the NUP and the PCP failed to name their members in the dialogue mechanism due to differences on names and level of representation of each party.

The PCP objected to Bashir’s chairing of the dialogue mechanism and instead demanded a neutral person to head it.

But representatives of the political parties in the government said in a meeting on Thursday with the presidential assistant and NCP deputy chairman, Ibrahim Ghandour, that Bashir is the person most capable of selecting individuals who could lead the dialogue to “safe shores”.

The meeting underscored the need for engaging non-signatory rebel groups in the upcoming dialogue, praising the role of political parties which refused to take part in the dialogue in participating in the ongoing political consultations to make recommendations relating to the dialogue.

According to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA), party sources close to the dialogue process didn’t rule out that a presidential decree regarding the dialogue mechanism would be issued soon.

(ST)

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