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Sudan’s RNP denies resuming participation in dialogue process

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July 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition Reform Now Party (RNP) has denied reports about the resumption of its participation in the national dialogue process, stressing that its final position will be determined on Tuesday.

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From left to right: Leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan Al-Turabi, Reform Now Party (RNP) head Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and second vice-president Hassabo Abdel-Rahman attend a speech by the president announcing a national dialogue initiative on 27 January 2014 (SUNA)

The splinter party led by the former presidential adviser, Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani, decided to suspend its participation in the political process last June to protest the arrest of the National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi, press censorship and detention of political activists.

On Monday however, the government supported Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) reported that the RNP has decided to resume its participation in the dialogue.

RNP deputy leader, Hassan Osman Riziq told SMC they decided to end the boycott, adding they would participate in the next meeting of the coordination mechanism chaired by president Omer al-Bashir.

However, the opposition party on Monday evening released a short statement denying “categorically” this report.

The RNP “sticks to the position of its political bureau on the suspension of its participation in the political dialogue until the issuance” of a formal decision on this regard from the same body, stressed the statement.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, the director of the party leader office, Moahmoud al-Gamal said the RNP will meet on Tuesday “to decide on the continuation of suspension or the resumption of its participation in the national dialogue”.

He went further to say that “no official in the party including its chairman himself, is authorised to decide the resumption of RNP’s participation in the dialogue without the approval of the political bureau”.

Last Friday, Attabani minimised the outcome of the recent national dialogue committee meeting chaired by president Omer al-Bashir, warning against making hasty positive conclusions about this encounter.

The meeting which took place on Thursday, without the RNP and the NUP, agreed to form a 3+3 committee from government and opposition parties to prepare a roadmap in seven days to present to all participants.

In June, Al-Attabani accused the ruling National Congress Party of seeking to hold the national dialogue according to its own conditions and agenda, pointing that this political process is held under threats and would not lead to a true democratic transformation.

“I am no longer optimistic about the outcome of the national dialogue. I don’t think that any kind of serious dialogue can take place given the significant difference [between us and the government] in the definition of dialogue and its requirements, and in light of [the government’s] lack of commitment to its needs. I believe that a new thesis of dialogue must replace the current one,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said they respect the position of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) which decided to continue in the national dialogue, saying the decision of Hassan al-Turabi’s party is based on a different lecture of the political situation in the country.

The PCP, which accuses the opposition parties of seeking to prevent any Islamic regime in the future even if it is a democratic one, announced recently that they seek to convince al-Mahdi’s party to resume its participation in the national dialogue.

Abu Bakr Abel Razik, a leading member of the PCP, stated that the participation of the largest opposition party in the dialogue will enable them to put pressure on the ruling party and get the necessary concessions.

(ST)

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