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Al-Mahdi defends his alliance with Sudan rebel groups

March 25, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese opposition National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi has defended his alliance with the armed opposition groups in Darfur region and the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

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Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to France 24 on 15 March 2018 (ST photo)

"The armed factions member of the Sudan call umbrella "are not classified as terrorist organizations, the regime itself is negotiating with them and signed the African Union-brokered Roadmap Agreement. These entities are recognized by the African Union and the United Nations," al-Mahdi told the representatives of opposition and civil society groups in London on Saturday.

"Despite all that, we issued a constitutional declaration providing that the Sudan Call is a political institution, and that military component is outside the Sudan Call, yet the leaders of the armed movements are committed to a defensive position (within the framework of a unilateral cessation of hostilities declaration) until a peace agreement is concluded," he stressed.

Al-Mahdi made his statement in a rebuke to recent threats by the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir who recalled that his government still bans contacts with the armed groups because they direct their guns against the Sudanese army.

He was elected as the chairperson of the Sudan Call in a meeting held in Paris from 13 to 17 March. The opposition umbrella also endorsed a constitutional charter and sent a letter to the African Union mediators expressing its readiness to discuss the review of the roadmap deal of 2016.

The opposition leader further said that the ruling regime is accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, adding "it is a situation the regime continues to ignore", although the people of Sudan have suffered terribly for decades because of the regime.

Al-Mahdi since last February is residing outside Sudan. He is expected to remain in Cairo where he is until a meeting with the African Union mediators to discuss the future of the negotiations with the opposition umbrella.

On his presidency of a strong alliance (Sudan Appeal), he said that since 2014 he has been presiding over the appeal meetings and the inauguration of the presidency of the Sudan Appeal is a codification of that situation.

Al-Mahdi reiterated his rejection to take part in the government of President Omer al-Bashir saying they would continue to dialogue the regime without joining it until the end of war and achievement of democratic reforms.

Also, he vowed to mobilize the street to bring the regime to realize the aspiration of Sudanese for peaceful change.

(ST)