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Mbeki’s role restricted to monitoring Sudan dialogue: officials

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August 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese officials renewed their opposition to any regional or international interference in proposed national dialogue, saying that Thabo Mbeki will only monitor the political process.

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Chairman of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki (L) speaking to reporters alongside leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi in Khartoum February 26, 2014 (ST)

On 17 August, the head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) announced that he has been tasked to chair an African committee to support a process aiming to bring peace and discuss a new democratic constitution.

Sudanese government and opposition parties participating in the process said they want an inter Sudanese process as they blame the international community for supporting the secession of South Sudan.

“The AUHIP chief has only a monitoring role,” said the deputy speaker of the national assembly, Samia Ahmed Mohamed, stressing that “the dialogue is Sudanese-Sudanese process and has a known mechanism”.

Mohamed who is also a leading NCP figure further said that the dialogue’s mechanism (7+7) “provides the opportunity for those who want to monitor the dialogue”, stressing that “we do not mind if Mbeki, as AUHIP chief brokering the peace talks, wants to bridge the gaps with the SPLM-North”.

Following a meeting between the Sudanese first vice-president and Mbeki, the state minister at the presidency al-Rashid Haroun, reiterated that the government is keen that the national dialogue remains a Sudanese –Sudanese process.

In statements after the meeting, Mbeki, from his side, praised the government’s efforts to hold a successful national dialogue.

Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour who is also the government’s chief negotiator in the peace negotiations with the SPLM-N said Mbeki reassured them of his role and informed them of his commitment to face regional and international powers which seek to hinder the national dialogue.

Commenting on Mbeki’s visit to Sudan, the SPLM-N secretary general and head of rebel negotiating team, Yasir Arman expressed hope that Mbeki’s efforts pave the way for a comprehensive peace and genuine dialogue.

“We expect that his visit pushes towards the comprehensive solution and genuine dialogue, which does not reproduce the national crisis, but rather achieves change, aspired by our people including end of war, fundamental freedoms and agreement on transitional arrangements in any serious and productive dialogue process," he said.

The SPLM-N and its allied rebel groups demand a humanitarian comprehensive cessation of hostilities, direct talks brokered by the AUHIP, Darfur joint mediator and the UNITED Nations over issues related to Darfur and the Two Areas.

The rebel groups also propose that a framework agreement for the national constitutional dialogue process be held in Addis Ababa under the sponsorship of the same mediators.

(ST)

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