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Sudan’s ruling party downplays calls for Mahdi’s rearrest

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September 1, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) distanced itself from statements calling for the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi, to be rearrested after his meetings with the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF).

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President of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-mahdi (L) shake hands with the chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) on 8 August 2014 (ST)

Since the signing of the Paris Declaration on 8 August, al-Mahdi is based in Cairo from where he is carrying out a diplomatic campaign supporting the inclusion of rebel groups in the internal process, review of the dialogue mechanism and to ensure political freedoms.

His daughter and deputy leader Marriam al-Mahdi was arrested and charged with subversive activities

A member of the NCP leadership council, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin stated on Sunday that al-Mahdi should be accountable for the signing of Paris declaration adding he would be arrested when he returns home. He further blamed him for campaigning diplomatically against the government.

However NCP political secretary of Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters on Monday that the political secretariat, recommended to control statements of the ruling party officials and to task only political and media secretariats with the expression of the party’s positions.

Ismail described al-Amin’s statements as “personal” adding it does not represent the party’s position. He further said that only the government and the ministry of justice are entrusted with such responsibility not the party.

He further disclosed they are still in contact with al-Mahdi in order to reach a consensus on the national dialogue, stressing that “contacts with Sadiq al-Mahdi have not been interrupted before and after the signing of Paris Declaration”.

BETTER COORDINATION NEEDED

Despite presidential decrees issued last April aiming to create a conducive environment and ensure political freedoms, the security service arrested leaders of the Umma National Party and Congress Party and recently the NUP deputy leader. Also, newspapers continue to suffer from the repeated censorship and confiscation of printed issues.

The action of the security service raised doubts about the government’s seriousness in the implementation of the dialogue. But some officials justified the action of the security apparatus, saying it means to avoid chaos in the country.

Speaking to reporters about this issue, Ismail reaffirmed the need to coordinate with the security service to avoid any conflict between the two organs that may harm the national dialogue process.

He further said the political secretariat called to release the political detainees to boost the dialogue process.

Sudan’s information minister Ahmed al-Balal, speaking on the behalf of the national dialogue mechanism said they are considering the release of political detainees as part of measures aiming to create a suitable atmosphere for the internal process.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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