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Time is running out for opposition to participate in Sudan’s 2020 elections: official

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February 5, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government chief negotiator for peace talks with Darfur armed groups Monday said they told the African Union mediation that time is running for the opposition to take part in the ongoing political process as they prepare now a new constitution ahead of general elections in 2020.

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Head of government delegation for talks for peace in Darfur Amin Hassan Omer speaks to reporters in Addis Ababa on Friday 20 November 2015 (ST Photo)

The African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) convened a consultations meeting with the Sudanese government to discuss the roadmap agreement signed in March 2016 and endorsed by the opposition groups in August 2016.

In line with the initial plan, the opposition groups after the signing of peace agreements for Darfur and the Two Areas had to take part in the national dialogue conference and to participate in the elaboration of a new constitution based on the outcome of the political process.

However, after the failure of the peace talks in August 2016, the government held the dialogue conference in October of the same year and formed committees to implement its recommendations without the non-signatories.

In press statements after his return to Khartoum from Addis Ababa, Amin Hassan Omer said they discussed with the mediation on the steps to be taken to achieve peace in the country, adding that the meeting discussed the two tracks in Darfur and the two Areas.

"The government delegation explained to the African Union mechanism led by Thabo Mbeki that the time is running and that it is necessary to agree on the draft constitution now, as the parliament to be elected in 2020 will adopt it," said Omer.

"The elections process requires the formation of the Electoral Commission and the issuance of the electoral law before it. All those issues are subject to consultation with all parties and if they (opposition groups) want to be part of this process they must be a party to the peace process," he stressed.

He further pointed out that there is still an opportunity for the signatories of the roadmap agreement to join the second part of the national dialogue, which is the constitutional conference.

The mediation convened the armed groups and the National Umma Party (NUP) for a consultations meeting on the roadmap but they declined to come. However, Sadiq al-Mahdi the NUP leader is expected to meet the AUHIP to brief it on their position.

Also, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front let by Minni Minnawi dispatched a delegation to explain their position to the international envoys from France Germany and the United States who were at the venue of the peace talks in Addis Ababa but they didn’t meet the mediation.

On the talks with the armed groups in Darfur, Amin said according to the roadmap the rebels have to sign a ceasefire agreement in Addis before to resume political talks in Qatar based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

"We have made it clear that the (armed groups), although they signed the roadmap, are still rejecting the Doha document as a basis for the peace process in Darfur," he said.

He said that the government is open to discuss "any issues not discussed in the Doha document. If an agreement is reached on any of these matters, a protocol can be set up and added to the Doha agreement".

(ST)

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