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Sudan’s national dialogue parties accuse NCP of delaying process

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December 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese political parties participating in the government-led national dialogue process have harshly criticised the government and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) holding the latter responsible for the delay of the dialogue process.

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Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir (C-R) greets supporters while Hassan al-Turabi (L) smiles and Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Attabani stands besides him after his speech calling for national dialogue on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Bashir launched a national dialogue initiative last January in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues.

But the initiative faced serious setback after rebel groups and leftist parties refused to join the dialogue and after the NUP withdrew from the process in protest of al-Mahdi’s brief arrest earlier this year.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) also refused to participate and instead called for removing restrictions on freedoms, releasing political prisoners and establishing a transitional government.

Political parties which agreed to participate in the national dialogue failed to make any breakthrough on issues under discussion including governance, economy, foreign relations and national identity.

The deputy chairman of the Reform Now Movement (RNM) and member of the national dialogue committee known as 7+7, Hassan Osman Rizq, said at a press conference on Monday that opposition parties participating in the dialogue demonstrated greater interest in the dialogue than the government and the NCP.

He said that the dialogue process was delayed because the NCP is preoccupied with the preparations for the general elections, accusing the government of violating the roadmap approved by the dialogue’s general assembly which called for allowing political freedoms and stopping arrests.

Rizq further said the government was forced to release political detainees during the past period following pressures made by the political parties participating in the national dialogue.

Earlier this month, Sudanese security arrested the chairman of the NCF, Farouq Abu Issa, and head of the Alliance of the Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, Amin Maki Madani, besides former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) member, Farah Agar, and his office manager, Mohamed Eldoud after their return from Addis Ababa where they signed the Sudan Call with rebel groups.

Rizq underscored they reject any political detentions or prosecutions, saying they handed over letters to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and the interior ministry regarding political detentions but have not received any responses.

He criticized the growing restrictions on freedoms and prevention of political activities and seminars in public squares, accusing the NCP of controlling the media and blocking political actions of the opposition.

“NISS is controlling political activities inside universities,” he said

The RNM pointed that the NCP has not offered the armed groups and opposition parties who refused to join the national dialogue any guarantees, saying the “Decisive Summer” military campaign launched by the government will not end rebellion.

He acknowledged existence of divisions within the opposition forces, pointing the signing of the Sudan Call has widened the already existing divisions among opposition components.

On 3 December, Sudanese political and armed opposition forces and civil society organisations signed in Addis Ababa the “Sudan Call” for the end of war, dismantlement of the one-party state, achievement of a comprehensive peace and democratic transition in the country.

Bashir on Saturday accused signatories of the Sudan Call of being agents to foreign powers and warned them from returning to the country. He described the opposition parties allied with the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) as “mercenaries”.

(ST)

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