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Sudanese rebel groups call for inclusive pre-dialogue meeting

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December 2, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese armed groups called on the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to include all the holdout opposition and civil society groups in the pre-dialogue meeting.

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Flanked by SPLM-N SG Yasir Arman and JEM chief negotiator Ahmed Tugud, SLM Minni Minnawi (C) speaks at the opening session of the AUHIP brokered session for comprehsnive cessation of hostilities in Sudan, in Addis Ababa on 19 November 2015 (ST Photo)

On November 23, AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki suspended the separate negotiations between the government, the SPLM-N and Darfur groups. He further announced that a national dialogue preparatory meeting would be held on 7 December.

In a letter to the chief mediator seen by Sudan Tribune, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Gibril Ibrahim contested the AUHIP decision to hold a mini-pre-dialogue meeting excluding the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces.

According to the letter of 30 November, the AUHIP chief of staff told him that the pre-dialogue meeting will only includes SRF and the National Umma Party (NUP) on one hand and the national dialogue committee on the other hand.

"The SRF is the first among the Sudanese stakeholders to call for a preparatory meeting for the NCD (National Constitutional Dialog) and we remain fully committed to it because, we believe, without it there will never be a free, credible, objective, transparent, productive and all-inclusive NCD," says the letter which is signed by Girbil Ibrahim.

The Sudanese government refused last March an invitation to participate in the preparatory meeting and accused the mediation of not consulting them on the eligibility of the participants.

Last November President Omer al-Bashir asked the 7+7 dialogue committee to meet the SRF factions and NUP of the self-exiled Sadiq al-Mahdi to discuss the participation of the armed groups in the national dialogue.

In his letter, Ibrahim also demanded that in addition to the NCF, the mediation should invite also the National Forces for Change (NFC) and the Union of National Parties (UNP).

The Sudanese government "should not have the right to pick and choose its partners in the NCD," he stressed.

In addition, he contested the representation of the civil society groups by the Civil Society Initiative headed by Amin Mekki Madani saying it " is not broad-based enough to represent all the major civil society organizations in the country".

"To give an example, the Darfur civil society organizations do not find themselves in the Initiative. The IDPs and refugees whose population exceeds three million have also not been represented".

The mediation seemingly did not yet extended the invitations for the preparatory meeting despite the announcement made by its chairman on 23 November.

Since last November, the SRF groups are divided over the chairmanship of the rebel umbrella, as Gibril Ibrahim’s election remains contested by the SPLM-N and two other political groups.

(ST)

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