August 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) said they handed the Paris Declaration to the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), stressing it represents a road map for peace and democratic transformation in Sudan.
- Malik Agar, SRF leader (L) and Sadiq al-Mahdi NUP president shake hands after the signing of Paris Declaration as Marriam stands in the middle on 8 August 2014 (ST Photo)
AUHIP chief, Thabo Mbeki met on Monday with the NUP deputy president Fadalla Burma Nasir, Popular Congress Party (PCP) leader Hassan al-Turabi and the chairman of Reform Now Movement (RNM) Ghazi Salah Eddin al-Attabani.
Following a meeting with the PCP and RNM leaders, Mbeki who is tasked by the regional body to support the ongoing process for peace and democracy in Sudan declined to comment on the meeting, adding he prefers to finish his consultations with other political forces .
Attabani and Turabi who participate in the national dialogue process also refused to comment on the meeting with the former South African president.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mbekin, Burma said that they presented the vision of their party on ongoing national dialogue, stressing the “need to hold a genuine, serious and comprehensive national dialogue to find a solution acceptable by all the parties”.
He further said they handed a copy of the Declaration of Paris to Mbeki pointing it represents “the party’s roadmap to solve the country’s problems”.
NUP and SRF leaders, Sadiq al-Mahdi and Malik Agar, signed on 8August a joint statement calling for peace and democratic reform, stressing that genuine process implies to involve all the political forces and end the ongoing war in different parts of Sudan.
The declaration, which calls to unify the political and military opposition forces, emphasises on the need to create a suitable atmosphere for the dialogue.
The NUP suspended its participation in the national dialogue after the arrest of its leader Sadiq al-Mahdi last May. The opposition party demands to include the rebels in the process and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Al-Mahdi who is currently in Cairo for meetings with Arab, African and international diplomats to explain Paris Declaration met on Monday with the political secretary at the US embassy in Egypt.
Last week, the government and the opposition parties participating in the national dialogue signed a framework agreement providing they will discuss a mechanism to implement the outcome of the political process.
The roadmap however did not mention clearly the formation of a national unity government as it is demanded by the opposition parties. In the past weeks, government officials alluded to the formation of a large cabinet led by ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
NCP REITERATES REJECTION
The NCP political secretary, Mustafa Osman Ismail, repeated their rejection of Paris Declaration saying it brings external solutions. He further reaffirmed his party’s commitment to fully implement any agreement negotiated inside the country.
Speaking to the NCP student conference, Ismail said his party is committed to enforce what would be agreed in the ongoing national dialogue process in Khartoum. He explained that “foreign capitals will not bring solutions to the issues of the country, stressing their rejection of “solutions that come from abroad”.
“Dialogue must begin in Sudan and by Sudanese hands," he said, asserting that “the alternative to dialogue is violence.
He further said that the NCP engages in the national dialogue with an open mind as they “do not claim to possess the truth alone”.
The ruling party and the opposition parties that refuse the current process diverge on how to achieve the political transformation in the country.
The opposition say the regime seeks to reproduce itself and to recruit new political forces, as the NCP rejects their demand to reach a humanitarian truce and the create a conducive environment for democratic reforms.
Regarding the rebel groups, the government refuses to negotiate with them under a unified peace process. Khartoum also rebuffs their demand to hold a preparatory meeting chaired by the African Union and the United Nations on the mechanism of national constitutional dialogue.