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Mbeki to meet Sudanese opposition on 7 August : al-Mahdi

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July 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel and chief mediator Thabo Mbeki will meet the Sudan call forces on the 7th of August, said the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi on Saturday.

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AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki (R) meets opposition NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi on June 2, 2016 (Courtesy photo of NUP)

From 18 to 22 July, the opposition groups the Sudan Call tasked al-Mahdi to write a letter to Mbeki demanding to meet him in order to discuss their reservations on the Roadmap Agreement before its eventual signing.

According to the opposition umbrella, the chief mediators in a letter he sent on 23 June had explained that their demands for an inclusive national dialogue preparatory meeting and additional confidence building measures will be taken into account.

"Mbeki responded to (my) letter and fixed the seventh of next August to meet him to discuss the Roadmap (Agreement) after taking into account the demands of the opposition," al-Mahdi told the state-run Sudan TV in a talk show on Saturday evening from Cairo where he is residing since two years.

Mahdi said that the opposition’s letter included their demands for a comprehensive national dialogue, leading to a constitutional conference. Its agenda consists of the end of war, delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected civilians, identifying the confidence building measures, and release of political detainees and prisoners.

He further stressed that the letter underlined the right of the Sudan Call to determine who would represent it in the meetings with the AUHIP and the government.

"If that happens, then the outcome would be a comprehensive national constitutional dialogue," he said.

The opposition leader disclosed that the Sudan Call intends to invite national figures to attend the external process leading to the national dialogue inside the country in order to reach out, and mobilize the different social segments and promote the ownership of the process by all the Sudanese.

Earlier this week, opposition officials said they had been told by the AUHIP secretariat the meeting would be held in mi-August.

It is not clear if the meeting would take place after or before a visit the chief mediator would pay to Khartoum for talks with the government officials on these developments.

U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth who facilitates the process is already in Sudan where he is assessing the humanitarian situation in Darfur region and also to discuss the upcoming meeting with opposition groups in Addis Ababa.

Speaking at the talk show, Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid who is tasked with the peace negotiations file, said the government reiterated to the mediation its commitment to the Roadamp Agreement and to a comprehensive dialogue as provided in the call launched by President al-Bashir for a national dialogue two years ago.

Hamid further said it is better for the opposition groups to meet the national dialogue committee (7+7) as provided in the Roadmap Agreement instead of its demand meet the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) alone.

"When the (7 +7) meets with the Sudan Call, the dialogue committee would not come alone, but with a representative of the government, and this is better than to meet the government only."

However he reassured that the gap between the government and the opposition is not too big, adding : "We are confident that we are all keen to preserve the security of the homeland".

He further described the NUP leader as a nationalist keen to preserve the nation and its interests.

(ST)

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