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7+7 body, gov’t agree to ensure political freedoms during Sudan’s dialogue


September 17, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The national dialogue coordination body (7+7) and the government agreed to stop political detention, press censorship, and to ensure freedoms of political parties and individuals during the dialogue process.

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Members of the national dialogue general assembly and President Omer al-Bashir attend the third session of the internal process in Khartoum on August 20, 2015 (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

During the recent past weeks, Sudanese security agents arrested a number of political activists from different opposition parties including the Sudanese Congress Party , Baath and Reform Now Movement who campaigned for democratic reforms and freedoms through sporadic public meetings organised in the markets and public squares advocating .

The political secretary of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) Kamal Hassan Omer stated on Thursday that the 7+7 committee reached an agreement providing to ensure public freedoms in the country during the upcoming national dialogue conference scheduled for 20 October 2015.

The dialogue’s mechanism and the government agreed "to ensure that the spirit of dialogue dominates the political arena during this period and that freedoms are available. Also, there will be no arrests for any political activity conducted by individuals or parties in order to enable the dialogue to reach its ends and achieve security, peace and the unity of the country," Omer said.

"A large number of parties agreed to join the dialogue but they want the mechanism to provide guarantees that there will no arrests during the period of dialogue," he further added.

He pointed that the 7+7 requests to lift press censorship during the dialogue period.

The national dialogue committee on Thursday decided to meet the concerned officials at the Sudanese presidency to organise the tasks that would be handled by the different services to ensure the success of the internal political process.

Omer again reiterated his party’s opposition to the involvement of the international community in the dialogue stressing the latter caused the separation of the South Sudan. He however said the pre-dialogue meeting will only be held with the rebel groups to discuss guarantees for their participation in the dialogue conference inside the country.

The Sudanese government and the 7+7 committee reject the preparatory meeting proposed by the African Union Peace and Security Council to facilitate the dialogue.

On the other hand, the rebel groups announced earlier this week their readiness for a six-month cessation of hostilities in order to contribute to the political process inside the country but stipulated that Khartoum must accept the inclusive pre-dialogue meeting with the participation of the opposition and civil society groups.

Following a series of internal rifts within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its supporters in the Islamic Movement, President Omer al-Bashir proposed in January 2014 to hold a national dialogue to end armed conflicts and to reach a political consensus on a permanent constitution in Sudan.

The imitative was welcomed by the opposition PCP, National Umma Party, Reform Now Movement. However, the NUP and RNM decided to suspend their participation following the arrest of the NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi in May 2014.

Since the NUP and RNM joined calls by the alliance opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) and rebel umbrella Sudanese Revolutionary Front to create a conducive environment through the end of war, release of freedoms and liberation of political detainees.


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