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Sudanese official in Germany for meeting with opposition and rebel figures: report

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August 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The pro-government Ashorooq TV reported on Thursday that the Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour is expected to meet in Berlin on Friday with leaders from the opposition and rebel groups.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R), flanked by presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour, gives a speech in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Abd Raouf)

Ghandour has met upon his arrival with the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in talks that dealt with bilateral relations.

It is not clear who will participate in the meetings with Ghandour but among the most prominent opposition figures residing in Germany is Ali al-Haj from the Popular Congress Party (PCP).

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir launched an initiative for national dialogue last January but the process suffered a major setback after the withdrawal of the National Umma Party (NUP) and the boycott of leftist forces and rebels.

Earlier this month, al-Mahdi signed with the rebel coalition known as the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) the Paris Declaration, which calls for ending the 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.

The government swiftly rejected the Paris Declaration and said al-Mahdi was motivated by jealousy from his fading role in national dialogue in favour of PCP leader Hassan al-Turabi.

Ghandour briefed Steinmeier about Khartoum’s efforts for the success of the dialogue and urged Germany to play a constructive role in supporting the issues of Sudan, particularly on foreign debt relief.

He stressed the government’s commitment to provide sufficient safeguards for rebels and political opponents to participate in the dialogue inside the country.

For his part, Steinmeier underscored Berlin’s support for the national dialogue process, pointing to the need to address human rights issues and the importance of the next phase in the history of Sudan and the role it can play in the region.

The German ambassador in Sudan, Rolf Welberts, in an earlier meeting with Ghandour expressed his country’s readiness to provide the support required for the success of the national dialogue and keenness to achieve peace and stability.

He stressed that Sudanese people alone are the most worthy and capable of solving their internal problems.

(ST)

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