August 8, 2014 (PARIS) – The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) have signed a joint political declaration in Paris whereby they call to unify the political opposition forces over peace and democratic reforms.
- Malik Agar, SRF leader (L) and Sadiq al-Mahdi NUP president shake hands after the signing of Paris Declaration on 8 August 2014 (ST Photo)
NUP and SRF leaders, Sadiq al-Mahdi and Malik Agar, on Friday signed the “Paris Declaration” which calls to end war and to engage in a genuine national dialogue aiming to restore democracy in Sudan.
The Declaration also provides the readiness of the rebel alliance to implement a renewable cessation of hostilities in order to allow humanitarian access to the needy in the war zones and to engage in the preparation of a constitutional dialogue.
Following the signing of the four-page text, al-Mahdi told reporters that the Declaration paves the way to “build comprehensive and just peace and to achieve full democratic transformation in Sudan (..) through political and diplomatic means”.
He further expressed hopes that Sudanese people and political forces respond positively to this agreement.
SRF leader Agar said the two sides agreed to unify the political forces and to work for a “constitutional dialogue” in the country. He pointed that any national agreement should establish an equal citizenship state to preserve the national unity after the separation of South Sudan.
He further announced that the SRF will implement a two month cessation of hostilities as provided in the declaration, adding “this cessation of hostilities is a gift to Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Sudanese people through (his person)”.
The declaration further says they agreed to boycott any general elections unless they are held under a transitional and inclusive government that stops war and allows public freedoms.
The Sudanese government and the opposition parties participating in the dialogue process should meet Saturday as they failed to reach an agreement over the transitional government and the postponement of the 2015 election.
The NUP which suspended its participation in the process, calls to review the dialogue’s mechanism and to include the rebels, stressing that democratic transition requires to include the armed groups.
The SRF rebels propose a roadmap calling to hold humanitarian and security talks with the government before to convene a national constitutional conference including all the political forces.
Khartoum calls on the SRF to join the current national dialogue but refuses their demand for a unified peace process.
The NUP and SRF, according to the declaration; agreed to maintain the unity of Sudan according to new foundations based on justice and equal citizenship.
They underscored that ending the war is the right doorway for any national dialogue or genuine constitutional process besides provision of liberties and agreement on arrangements for establishing a transitional government.
The opposition party and the armed groups agreed on several principles including non-impunity, achieving justice and accountability, lifting the injustice, and restitution. In addition, they hold the regime responsible for introducing violence into political arena, targeting civilians, expanding cycle of wars, committing war crimes, promoting ethnic trends, and tearing up the social fabric.
The two sides say the regions affected by war have special nature which necessitates resolving their humanitarian crisis, addressing their major issues and allow them embrace affirmative action.
The Paris declaration said the NUP and the SRF deeply discussed the relationship between religion and state as one of the core issues and agreed to continue talks in order to arrive at a formula which satisfies all parties.
Sources close to the meeting said, as the objective of this declaration is to gather all the political forces under one political platform, they preferred to discuss this sensitive matter later when they successfully achieve this first step.
The two sides are expected to reach the different political forces to create a new political dynamic to end war and bring democracy in Sudan, Sudan Tribune has learnt.
The text provides they offer the declaration “to all political forces and civil society organisations within the framework of our joint efforts to achieve change and unite its forces”.
They further vowed to present the Paris Declaration to the regional and international communities, pledging to make efforts to promote the declaration in order to end the war, achieve the democratic transformation, and establish a new regime which fulfils demands of the Sudanese people.
The declaration underscored the special relationship with South Sudan and pledged to support regional and international efforts to achieve peace, reconciliation, and stability in South Sudan.
Moreover, they urged conflicting parties to end the war.
They two parties underscored aspirations of the Sudanese people to establish a confederation between the two states.