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Sudan’s Bashir to meet with national dialogue participants

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July 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is set to meet on Wednesday with members of the national dialogue mechanism known as the 7 +7 consisting of seven from opposition parties and seven from the government side.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech in the capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 in which he appealed for a political and economic renaissance in the country (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

The long awaited meeting comes as the national dialogue initiative launched by Bashir earlier this year appeared to have stumbled after accusations by opposition forces that the government has backtracked on measures it pledged to take in order to create a conducive environment for dialogue.

The National Umma Party (NUP) led by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi is expected to boycott the meeting after calling for an alternative dialogue mechanism. According to press reports, the NUP withdrew from the 7+7 and attached new conditions to rejoin.

The opposition party suspended its participation in the national dialogue following the arrest of al-Mahdi by authorities last May against the backdrop of statements he made against a government militia.

The NUP deputy chairman Fadallah Burma Nasser told al-Intibaha newspaper today that if the government does not respond to their demands there will be no dialogue.

But this week the Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour underscored that al-Mahdi remains fully committed to the national dialogue process, saying he only wants further contact among participants.

Last month the NUP issued a statement asserting that “things cannot begin where it stopped and a genuine review for the reasons behind the failure of the government’s call for dialogue must be conducted in order to determine who is responsible for that failure”.

The Reform Now Party (RNP) consisting of breakaway NCP figures called for a new initiative other than the national dialogue.

The secretary general of the Nasserite Socialist Party (NSP) Mustafa Mahmoud told pro-government Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website their meeting with Bashir will discuss requirements and deliverables of the national dialogue, especially the confidence building measures between the parties to create a conducive climate by abolishing laws that restrict political and media liberties and release of detainees.

The head of the Council for the Parties of National Unity government Abboud Jabir called for an urgent summit of the 7+7 to adopt a common stance before the meeting with Bashir.

Jabir said in an interview with state news agency (SUNA) that he sees no conflict between the dialogue and amending the elections law insisting that it is complementing each other.

He stressed that national dialogue was agreed upon by all colors of Sudanese society and urged political forces to adopt a new approach and avoid differences to support the process.

(ST)

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