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Sudan’s opposition leader plays down contacts with gov’t, says committed to regime change

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Mariam al-Mahdi (Getty photo)
March 19, 2019 (PARIS) - The deputy chairman of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Mariam al-Mahdi has renewed commitment to the Declaration of Freedom and Change which calls for the removal of the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune in Paris where she attends the meetings of the opposition umbrella Sudan Call, al-Mahdi acknowledged contacts between the NUP and government figures.

She pointed out that her father, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, who is also the NUP chairman and chairman of the Sudan Call has met with several government officials including spy-chief Salah Abdalla (aka Gosh) more than once.

“Yes, there are regular and continued contacts from officials within the regime and others affiliated with the government, however, the stance of the Imam [i.e. Sadig al-Mahdi] remained steadfast,” she said

Mariam pointed out that the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change have clearly stated its position in the memo that was supposed to be handed over to the Sudanese presidency on 21 February, saying the memo includes the details of running the transitional period following the ousting of the regime.

“We called on the head of the regime [President Omer al-Bashir] to respond to the aspiration of the people … this is the firm stance that we wouldn’t turn aside from” she said

She pointed out to the Liberation Capsule developed by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi on 2 March in which he clearly detailed the handing over of power and called for holding a meeting between the government and the opposition to that end.

Mariam further said the Sudan Call meeting currently being held in Paris is discussing the details of the transitional issues, pointing the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change are also considering the issues of transition including the constitution and the alternative policies.

She called on the leaders of the regime to agree to hand over power through a civilized dialogue in order to save the blood of the Sudanese.

It is noteworthy that the spy-chief Salah Abdalla has met with a number of the detained opposition leaders including the Political Secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party, Mohamed Mukhtar al-Khateeb as well as members of the civil society Hamid Ali Nour and Muawia Shadad.

He also met with several activists and the leader of the Sudanese Congress Party Omer al-Digair before his release on 4 March.

Reliable sources told Sudan Tribune that the spy-chief expressed the government desire to initiate a genuine dialogue with all parties in order to reach a national consensus.

The same sources added the detainees didn’t respond to the spy-chief, saying the climate is not conducive for any kind of dialogue.

They also doubted the government credibility, pointing to the detention of hundreds of protesters and the declaration of the state of emergency which aims to curb any political activities and confiscate basic freedoms.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December. The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

Last January, the Sudanese Professional Association and the opposition groups including the National Consensus Alliance, Sudan Call and the Unionist Gathering launched the Declaration of Freedom and Change which calls for the removal of the regime.

(ST)

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