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Sudanese opposition alliance describes dialogue conference as “farce”

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October 10, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s opposition Alliance of National Forces (ANF) has described the dialogue conference as “farce” and “poorly directed play”.

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Alliance of National Forces (ANF) secretary general Farah Agar speaks ina press conference held in Khartoum on 10 October 2014 (ST Photo)

The government-led national dialogue conference was inaugurated in Khartoum on Saturday amid large boycott from the major political and armed opposition.

The leading figure at the Reform Now Movement (RNM) and the ANF, Hassan Osman Rizg, said that not less than 60 political and armed opposition forces decided to boycott the conference.

He pointed that regional and international organizations including the United Nations, European Union, Sudan Troika and the African Union also refrained from attending the conference.

The holdout armed and political groups have boycotted the conference saying the government should implement an African Union (AU) road map to facilitate the process and participate in pre-dialogue meeting to be organised by the regional body at its headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Rizg, who spoke at a press conference held by the ANF on Saturday, pointed that president Omer al-Bahsir’s speech at the opening session of the conference included clear compromises and acceptance to the opposition’s demands.

He said that Bashir’s used soft language towards the AU and its chief mediator Thabo Mbeki unlike his previous hostile statements, describing the change in the government tone as a positive step that paves the way for holding the pre-dialogue conference in Addis Ababa.

The ANF leading figure said the opposition wouldn’t mind holding the pre-dialogue conference inside Sudan if the AU endorsed the move, noting the government must be prepared to accept holding the meeting abroad if the AU decides otherwise.

He added the opposition continued to call for ending the war, saying that Bashir in his speech expressed readiness to develop the two-month cessation of hostilities he recently declared into a permanent ceasefire.

Rizg also described Bahir’s directives to federal and regional authorities across Sudan to enable the political parties and the civil society organizations to carry out their peaceful political activities without conditions as a step in the right direction.

“We will test those directives by requesting [form the police] to hold political symposium outside our party headquarters,” he added.

The secretary general of the ANF, Farah Agar, for his part, reassured the IDP’s and the refugees who were forced to leave their villages and who suffer from the aerial bombing in the war zones that the opposition forces would help them achieve their aspirations in peace and decent living.

The chairman of the Just Peace Forum (JPF), al-Tayeb Mustafa, expressed surprised over the government refusal to hold the pre-dialogue meeting, wondering how can a small means hinders major objective.

He said the government always sought to find solutions to its problems in foreign capitals, pointing to political understandings and agreements it signed in Kenya, Doha and Abuja.

Mustafa stressed there is no justification that makes the government refuses to attend a meeting that was approved by consensus, calling upon leaders of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to come to their senses.

He described the current dialogue as “incomplete” as long as the armed forces don’t participate in it, noting the main objective of the dialogue is to stop the war.

The JPF chairman further expressed their readiness to join the dialogue whenever they are assured that it turned into an inclusive process.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Mubarak Ali Idriss announced that six political forces have withdrawn from the Council for the Parties of National Unity Government (CPNUG) for ignoring their demands to create conducive climate for holding the dialogue conference.

The chairman of the Democratic Unionist Liberal Party (DULP) Mayada Swar al-Dahab, described the dialogue conference as “farce” and “poorly directed play”, saying the government seeks only to buy time and tighten its grip over power.

The ANF leading figure, Mahmoud Abdel-Jabar, for his part, said the large boycott by opposition forces to the conference must push the government to offer more compromises, noting the latter should seriously seek to strike a political deal with its opponents and the armed groups.

He urged the opposition to its contacts with the international community if the government refuses to meet its demands, calling for agreeing on a political charter to unite the entire opposition.

“There is no third option any more, either dialogue or revolution,” he added.

(ST)

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