August 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of Sudan’s Just Peace Forum (JPF), al-Tayeb Mustafa described the Paris Declaration signed between the National Umma Party (NUP) and the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) last week as a “major achievement”.
- Al-Tayeb Mustafa, chief of the Just Peace Forum (JPF) party (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The NUP and SRF leaders, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and Malik Agar, on Friday signed the “Paris Declaration” which calls for ending war and engaging in a genuine national dialogue aimed at restoring democracy in Sudan.
The Declaration also expresses the readiness of the rebel alliance to implement a renewable cessation of hostilities in order to allow humanitarian access to the needy population in the war zones and to engage in the preparation of a constitutional dialogue.
Mustafa, who is the maternal uncle of the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, is known for his hard-line positions against the SRF’s major faction, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N).
He led a fierce campaign to abort the framework agreement on the Two Areas signed between the government and the SPLM-N in June 2011. He was also an outspoken advocate for the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Al-Tayeb praised, in a seminar held by the political parties participating in the national dialogue on Tuesday in Khartoum, the Paris Declaration as “major achievement”, saying that the NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and his deputy Meriam al-Mahdi should be rewarded for signing it.
“In spite of our animosity towards the SRF, we cannot find a single reason to reject the declaration”, he said.
The JPF chairman pointed out that Paris Declaration fulfilled the most important elements by declaring a cessation of hostilities and calling for peaceful solution, noting that the SRF used for the first time the word “changing” the regime instead of “overthrowing” it.
“These compromises were offered by the SRF and not al-Mahdi”, he added.
He demanded merging of the Paris Declaration and the framework agreement approved by the national dialogue committee known as 7+7.
The political secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Kamal Omer for his part, underscored their categorical rejection for any agreement signed abroad, describing the Paris Declaration as “temporary” move that could not resolve the country’s crisis.
“It [Paris Declaration] was intended to promote the political views of the two parties”, he added.
He criticized the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), saying his party’s membership in the alliance was “merely an illusion”.
Omer further considered their relation with the NCF a tactical one, pointing they discovered this fact following the Egyptian events which led to the ouster of the former president Mohamed Morsi.
The PCP official renewed his party’s rejection for holding the 2015 elections as scheduled, stressing that they will not participate in it.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) deputy chairman of the political sector, Essa Bashari, for his part accused the NUP and its leader of causing all problems suffered by the 7+7 committee.
He described the Paris Declaration as “jump in the dark”, saying the SRF’s declaration of cessation of hostilities is nothing but an attempt to buy time to obtain weapons.
Bashari also said the declaration only seeks to transfer the national dialogue abroad.
The Reform Now Party (RNP) foreign relations secretary, Ahmed Al-Da’ak, said the Paris Declaration created some sort of political convergence between the parties participating in the national dialogue and the rebel groups, pointing out that it was founded on a national basis.
He said the declaration constitutes a good opportunity to contact the armed groups in order to reach a common vision and lay the foundation for communicating with all parties.
Al-Da’ak went on to say that if elections were held under unfair conditions, it would be illegitimate, stressing that any elections that do not meet the requirements of equity will be boycotted by the majority of political forces.
The speakers at the seminar denounced detention of the NUP deputy chairman, Meriam al-Mahdi, except the representative of the ruling NCP who said he has nothing to do with actions of the “legal authorities”.
Meriam, was arrested by Sudanese security service on Monday evening as she returned from Paris after taking part in the meeting between the NUP and SRF in Paris.