August 30, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The head of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, has held discussions with the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) on his position on the current national dialogue process and the Paris Declaration.
- NUP leader, Sadiq al-Mahdi (R) speaks to AUHIP chief, Thabo Mbeki (L) before to start their meeting on Friday 29 October 2014 (Photo courtesy NUP)
In a meeting held on Friday evening in Addis Ababa, Mahdi explained why his party suspended its participation in the internal process, and signed in the French capital a political declaration with the alliance of rebel groups, Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) on 8 August.
The AUHIP members “have understood the view of the National Umma Party about the national dialogue and the unification of the opposition forces in order to hold a comprehensive national dialogue based on Paris Declaration,” said a statement released by Mahdi’s office on Saturday.
Mahdi further submitted a written memorandum, including the detailed position of the opposition party on the national dialogue. He also praised the panel for inviting the SRF rebel groupsto present their position on the national dialogue following Paris agreement, said the statement
The Sudanese rebels are expected to meet with AUHIP for the first time on Sunday. However, unconfirmed reports say some leaders of the armed groups did not yet arrive to Addis Ababa for logistical reasons.
The meeting will be the first that the panel holds with SPLM-N and Darfur rebel groups altogether.
The panel in the past refused to hold such a meeting, arguing that its mandate is limited to the conflict in the Two Areas between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N.
Last May, the NUP suspended its participation in the national dialogue after the arrest of its leader al-Mahdi. The latter following his release in June accused the government of controlling the process and confiscating freedom of speech.
Mahdi further called to review the national dialogue by including the rebel groups in the international process, and associating the “historical” opposition parties in peace talks will all the rebel groups brokered by the AUHIP.