Home | News    Saturday 26 July 2003

Sudan’s ruling party makes first public commitment to democracy


Khartoum, July 26, 2003 (dpa) — Sudan’s leading party on Saturday made its first public commitment to establishing a democratic system since President Omar Beshir took power in a military coup in 1989.

The ruling National Congress party, which shares power with a military junta, organized a mass rally where prominent figures and political groups signed a document pledging their commitment to equality, national unity, power-sharing and the redistribution of wealth and resources.

They also rejected the Cairo agreement made by the country’s main opposition parties - Democratic Unionist (DUP), the Umma and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) - which excludes Khartoum from the Islamic sharia law used in northern Sudan.

The parties also expressed their commitment to the peace process to end Sudan’s 20-year civil war within the context of the Machokos Protocol between the government and SPLA rebels.

Some two million people have reportedly died in the conflict between the northern Moslem government and rebels from the Christian and animist south.

Meanwhile, a key official in the Sudanese government also stressed an end to the country’s totalitarian government, demanding it be replaced with a multiparty system to avert further chaos in the country.

Speaking to a symposium, Foreign Affairs Minister Mustafa Osman Ismael called on Arab countries to drive the peace process in Sudan.

"Pluralism is the only opportunity available because it enables various cultures, ethnic and religious groups to fully express themselves within a united Sudan," he said.

He said a peace agreement was imminent despite the difficulties hindering the peace negotiations.

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