August 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, has begun a regional tour that will take him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia and South Africa to explain the Paris Declaration he signed with the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF).
- Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP) leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (L) meets with UAE’s foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed (R) in Abu Dhabi on 25 August 2014 (Photo handout)
Al-Mahdi and SRF chairman Malik Agar, signed this month in Paris a joint statement calling for peace and democratic reforms, stressing that genuine process requires involving all political forces and ending the ongoing war in different parts of Sudan.
The declaration, which calls for unifying the political and military opposition forces, emphasises the need to create a suitable atmosphere for the dialogue.
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 ruling National Congress Party (NCP) swiftly rejected the Paris Declaration and said al-Mahdi was motivated by jealousy from his fading role in national dialogue in favour of Popular Congress Party (PCP) leader Hassan al-Turabi.
The NUP suspended its participation in the government-led national dialogue after the arrest of al-Mahdi last May. The opposition party demands including the rebels in the process and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Al-Mahdi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday morning and met with the UAE’s foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed.
The NUP leader will head from Abu Dhabi to Addis Ababa to brief the African Union (AU) on Paris Declaration and he will then fly to Pretoria to address the South African parliament on the developments of the situation in Sudan in light of the Paris Declaration.
Following signing of Paris Declaration, al-Mahdi flew to Egypt for meetings with Arab, African and international diplomats to explain Paris Declaration.
On 12 August, the Sudanese security services arrested al-Mahdi’s daughter, Mariam, who is also his deputy as she returned from Paris following the signing of the Paris Declaration.
NCP officials suggested that she might face charges of spying and signing agreements with rebel groups particularly as the SRF is classified as an “enemy”.