June 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Umma Party (NUP) and the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed a joint agreement in the US emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive solution in Sudan that leads to a specific transitional period after which free and fair elections are held in which everyone can participate.
- A fighter of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) (file/Reuters)
On Monday, the NUP in Khartoum distributed the text of the joint statement of the coordination committee consisting of JEM and NUP offices in the US. The agreement was signed by the deputy chief of the JEM bureau in the US Mohammad al-Hassan and his NUP counterpart Osman Abu-Janna.
According to the agreement, which was reached after extensive consultations, the two sides stated that a comprehensive and just solution must be preceded by a creating a favorable environment by undertaking measures such as stopping the war, abolition of laws that restrict freedoms and releasing all political detainees and POW’s.
The signatories strongly condemned what they called "appalling abuses and atrocities" committed by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) against civilians, and demanded the dismantling of the militia and prosecution of its leaders. They pledged to work together in all forums to detect and expose these abuses if it continues.
Al-Mahdi, who agreed to participate in the national dialogue called for by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir earlier this year, was arrested on 17 May for criticising alleged crimes and atrocities committed by the RSF in conflict zones.
He was released this and state media said the move was done after al-Mahdi’s lawyers appealed to the justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa to use his powers under article (58) of Sudan’s penal code which allows him to stop criminal proceedings against any suspect at any point before being sentenced by a court.
It also carried a statement by NUP Central Commission stating that they support the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and said that what al-Mahdi mentioned regarding RSF is derived from complaints and claims "that are not necessarily all true".
However, al-Mahdi said in his prayer sermon last Friday that the Central Commission’s statement was misinterpreted, adding that it was not an apology but “a clarification action”.
JEM and NUP also rejected any attempt to fragment solutions to the problem of Sudan "because it only prolongs the duration of the regime and leads everyone into the abyss”.
A similar agreement between the NUP and the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) sealed this month angered authorities in Sudan.
Pro-government lawyers called for prosecuting the NUP Secretary General Sara Nugdalla for criticising the judiciary in their joint statement and questioning its integrity adding that this move threatens security in Darfur and Kordofan states.
The NUP and the opposition Reform Now Party (RNP) suspended participation in the national dialogue to protest al-Mahdi’s arrest and what they said was a government crackdown on political and media liberties.