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Sudanese government will not participate in Addis Ababa consultative meeting - spokesperson

March 4, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government will not participate in the Strategic Consultative Meeting that the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) intend to organize on 16 -18 March.

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Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)

The government spokesperson and information minister Ahmed al-Balal on Friday said the government will not participate in the meeting because the invitation received from the AUHIP mediators was not clear.

"The recent invitation of the African mechanism came to confuse rather than making strategic consultation," al-Balal told the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC).

He further stressed the need not to confuse between the dialogue and peace negotiations, saying that bilateral negotiations are between the government and the armed movements while the discussions on the national dialogue include all the sectors.

Last month, the SPLM-N announced that the AUHIP had issued an invitation to the signatories of 5 September 2014 Addis Ababa agreement on the national dialogue for a meeting on mid-March.

Three days later on 17 February, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) issued a statement welcoming the invitation. But several hours later, it called the press redactions announcing its withdrawal, alleging that it had been prematurely released before to be signed by the presidential assistant and the party’s deputy chairman Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid.

However, it is not clear if the national dialogue coordination committee, which signed the 5 September agreement, will attend the upcoming meeting or not.

Al-Balai had already on 21 February warned that the "government will participate if the meeting was about (peace) negotiations but if it is for the national dialogue, the 7+7 mechanism will take part in it."

Last year President Omer al-Bashir who chairs the dialogue committee had announced his rejection for the national dialogue preparatory meeting proposed by the AUHIP. But, he directed the dialogue body to meet the rebel groups and the National Umma Party in Addis Ababa to discuss their participation in the internal political process.

Sudan Tribune didn’t not see the invitation for the 16 March meeting, also the AUHIP used to have poor communication with the press. However, the Justice and Equality Movement, the National Umma Party, and the Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi confirmed they are invited for the consultations besides the government and the SPLM-N.

NO TALKS WITH "MERCENARIES"

In a meeting with the NCP leadership Friday, al-Bashir repeated allegations that Darfur rebel groups are involved in the Libyan conflict and now used by Tubrek’s government to fight against the Islamist government in Tripoli.

He further went to say these movements have no cause but "are mercenaries and there will no negotiations with them again".

Regarding the SPLM-N, Bashir said his government is ready for negotiations to end the nearly five-year conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

However, he announced that the government refuses any discussions on the self -rule for the Two Areas or the maintenance of separate armies during the transitional period.

NO MORE TRUCE

Al-Bashir said his government will not declare a cessation of hostilities with the SPLM-rebels again adding that military operations will continue during the peace talks.

He pointed that the purpose of the latest truce was to encourage the SPLM-N to join the National Dialogue Conference.

He said that the moratorium, which was announced for the shooting was the purpose of the Popular Movement to come to participate in the national dialogue.

"But we will not repeat the good will that we showed during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement process," he stressed, adding they welcome the "SPLM-N if it wants peace but they did not come we will go to them".

(ST)