July 19, 2016 (PARIS) - Sudan Call groups Monday arrived to Paris where they have started crucial discussions on the African Union Roadmap Agreement and political structures of the opposition umbrella.
- Members of the sudanese opposition groups meet outside the French capital Paris on November 12, 2015 (ST Photo)
Several delegates from the opposition and civil society groups have arrived from Khartoum despite the absence of some National Consensus Forces parties and its leader Farouk Abu Issa who had announced his participation.
Sadiq al-Mahdi the head of the National Umma Party, arrived to Paris leading a big delegation including his deputy Merriam al-Mahdi and the party’s secretary general Sarah Nugud Allah. The delegations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North, the Justice and Equality Movement are also there, as Minni Minnawi the leader of a Sudan Liberation Movement faction is expected to join the meeting on Tuesday.
In statements to Sudan Tribune from Paris, Amin Mekki Medani, representative of the alliance of Sudanese Civil Society Organizations, said the meeting would discuss the final structures of the Sudan Call and the determine necessary steps to join the Raodmap Agreement.
The Participants did not come "to discuss the signing of the roadmap but to reach a joint position on the outcome of Addis Ababa meetings and the correspondence between al-Mahdi and (the African Union chief mediator Thabo) Mbeki," said Medani.
Several opposition groups inside Sudan say they reject any compromise with the regime, pointing that the plan proposed by the African mediation would not help to achieve the desired democratic reforms in the country but would be a power sharing deal maintaining the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
In a meeting held in Addis Ababa last June, the Sudanese opposition groups discussed the possible signing of the Roadmap Agreement proposed by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) if the mediation accepts to include in a supplemental document some guarantees related to political freedoms and the comprehensiveness of the process.
Last March, the opposition groups rejected the peace plan saying it didn’t endorse all the confidence building measures enumerated in a previous roadmap issued by the African Union Peace and Security Council in its decision 539
They also said the Roadmap, which the government quickly signed, builds up on the existing dialogue process controlled by the ruling party, and excludes their allied forces from the opposition holdout groups.
The chief mediator Mbeki in a first time rejected the opposition’s demand for a supplemental document, however in a correspondence with al-Mahdi on 23 June he reassured that the meeting proposed in the Roadmap is actually the Preparatory Meeting where their delegation can include representatives from all the opposition groups and propose to add additional items to its agenda.
Sources close to the meeting said the Sudan Call would determine its position based on what al-Mahdi reports to the participants who may decide accordingly to send a delegation to meet the chief mediator.
Al-Mahdi recently stated that the opposition groups would sign the Roadmap Agreement without further details.
In a statement issued from Paris Monday, the opposition groups said that the meeting formed a commission to prepare the final draft of the Sudan Call structures, the escalation of popular resistance into a wide-ranging uprising, the joint position on the peaceful solution and the Roadmap Agreement and ways to strengthen the Sudan Call inside and outside Sudan as a wide and active Sudanese opposition umbrella.
Meanwhile, the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice (UPFLJ) leader Zainab Kabashi announced in a statement released in Paris the withdrawal of its group from the meeting to protest an invitation under the name of UPFLJ extended to a rival group from eastern Sudan.
Kabashi further accused JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim of seeking to undermine their group.
However, Sudan Tribune learnt that the matter has been settled, and the JPFLJ would continue to participate in the meeting.