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Sudan Call forces defend decision to meet mediation over Roadmap signing

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Leaders and delegates of the Sudan Call forces pose in a collective picture at the end of their meeting outside Paris on November 13 2015 (ST Photo)

July 24, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Several leaders of the opposition Sudan Call forces on Sunday have defended their recent decision to meet the mediation over the roadmap saying its signing depends on the outcome of these discussions.

Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) President Omer al-Dugair, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Leader Gibril Ibrahim and SPLM-N negotiating team spokesperson Mubarak Ardol Sunday brushed aside criticism against their expected meeting with the head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki to discuss the eventual signing of the Roadmap Agreement he proposed since last March.

They further reiterated their commitment to the opposition demand for an equal dialogue, leading to achieve peace and genuine democratic change in Sudan.

SCP Chairman, Omer al-Dugair, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the positive developments mentioned in the statement of 22 July means that AUHIP has changed its rejection to the oppositions’ proposals on the Roadmap Agreement.

"These are the demands included in a memorandum of understanding proposed by the Sudan Call last month. The AUHIP had first rejected the memo before to change its mind and accept it through a letter Mbeki sent to the Sudan Call and direct (telephone) contacts by his senior assistant,’’ said al-Dugair.

On the same trend; JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim said the opposition umbrella said the opposition decided "in principle to sign the Roadmap, if we found further reassurance in the upcoming meeting with the mediation in Addis Ababa.

"President Mbeki dispatched to the recent Paris meeting, the AUHIP Chief of Staff Abdel Qader Mohamed (known as Abdul) to explain the spirit of the letter that President Mbeki sent to the Sudan Call forces, dated on June 23, 2016, and to confirm the mediation’s readiness to consider with due diligence the observations of the Sudan Call on the Roadmap, and to put it in a framework that can dissipate the opposition fears," wrote Ibrahim in a written statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Last March, the Sudanese opposition groups rejected the Roadmap Agreement which proposes a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access to civilians in the conflict affected areas, before to engage in the government proposed national dialogue process.

In a letter sent by Sadiq al-Mahdi to Mbeki, the Sudan Call forces requested to add a supplemental document to the Roadmap before to sign it.

They said it should retake all the points provided in the African Union Peace and Security Council decision 539: the release of political prisoners and detainees, ensure political freedoms and full guarantee of the freedom of expression and publication.

The AUPSC decision also proposes a preparatory meeting ensuring that all the necessary confidence-building are taken, the key steps of the National Dialogue process are agreed upon, and that the process is fair and will result in the mutually-agreed objectives.

Ibrahim said that the roadmap proposed last March was not inclusive and neglects important opposition forces as it was addressed only to the National Umma Party (NUP), JEM, SPLM-N and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM).

But, he stressed that the mediation for the first time in its letter of June recognized the Sudan Call forces and addressed it as political body, showing it has no objection to the formation of a delegation including additional opposition groups..

A leading member of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, Mohamed Dia al-din, slammed the decision of opposition groups to meet with the AUHIP in order to discuss the signing of the Roadmap Agreement.

Dia al-Din said the statement of Paris meeting did not clearly explain what these "positive developments" in the position of the AUHIP.

“This issue represents the essence and the purpose of Paris meeting but it was omitted in the statement,” said Dia al-Din said on his Facebook page.

He further pointed that Sudan Call statement did not mention the needed conditions to sign the Roadmap before to engage in talks with the ruling National Congress Party.

However, SPLM-N negotiating team spokesperson, Ardol strongly criticized the negative position of the Ba’ath Party towards the Sudan Call saying they remain the objective ally of the NCP ruling party.

The Ba’ath Party ’’does not belief in collective work and democratic change and shares the same ideologies with the ruling party,’’ said Ardol.

His hostility of the Sudan call "means to delay the collective process of change that is now shaping up in line with the mechanisms and convictions of the Sudan Call forces (not the Baath). This change will take place and the first of its steps is the unit of the opposition forces," he stressed.

The Ba’ath Party is a member of the National Consensus Forces, an alliance of the left groups. However, the group remained hostile to the participation of the internal opposition group with the Sudan Call forces.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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