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Sudan’s RNM warns against major security problem if dialogue fails


June 22, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Reform Now Movement (RNM), Ghazi Salah al-Din Attabani, warned against a major security problem if the government refuses to engage in a serious dialogue with the opposition.

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Attabani speaks in a press conference announcing a new party called Reform Now Movement on December 3, 2013 (SUNA)

In press statements released on Monday, Attabani said the government doesn’t have the right to define the dialogue according to its own perspective.

“There was a fundamental mistake with the previous dialogue. The government played the role of the judge and jury simultaneously and it is imperative to correct the error. If the government did not forfeit that role, dialogue would be useless,” he said

He said the failure of the dialogue would mean continuation of the war in some parts of the country along with the economic and foreign relations crises, noting that a successful dialogue would unify the internal front and resolve those crises with one national will.

The former presidential adviser pointed to what he called the “embarrassing event” which took place in South Africa as well as the ongoing dispute with the United Nations over the exit strategy of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

He was alluding to the attempt by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest president Omer al-Bashir while he attending an African Union summit in South Africa last week.

“How can we get out of such dilemmas in the future if we don’t address the foreign relations crisis which poses as the most serious amongst our crises?” he exclaimed.

He denied that their call for holding the dialogue by a neutral mechanism means a call for intervention by foreign bodies, saying they mean the dialogue must be held under the administration of an agreed upon Sudanese body.

“Mostly [it should be comprised of persons who are trustworthy and acceptable by all parties,” he added.

He added that when the neutral mechanism is developed, the African Union mediation team could serve as a facilitator for the dialogue, saying the latter would be the link between the government and the opposition on one side and the regional and international institution on the other side.

The RNM leader pointed the African Union mediation team could report the outcome of the national dialogue regarding normalization of economic and political relations to the international community besides addressing other issues such as the one pertaining to the ICC.

He urged the government to allow the opposition all constitutional tools of political action if it refuses to accept the true dialogue.

“If the government fails to carry out its functions and confront its crises and at the same time opts for oppressing the opposition, it will prepare the country for a major security problem,” he said.

The RNM split from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in late 2013 over calls for reforms, transparency and democratic changes.

President Bashir launched a national dialogue initiative in January 2014 in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues.

But the initiative faced serious setbacks after the government refusal to create suitable atmosphere by releasing political prisoners, ensuring freedoms, and postponement of elections.

The rebel groups and the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) refused to join the process from the beginning while the National Umma Party (NUP) led by al-Sadiq al-Mahdi withdrew from the process in protest of al-Mahdi’s arrest in May 2014.

Later on, several political parties including the RNM, JPF the Alliance of the Peoples’ Working Forces (APWF) announced they had decided to suspend participation in the national dialogue until the requirements of a conducive environment are met.


Meanwhile, the secretary of the women affairs at the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi, Suhair Ahmed Salah expected that president Bashir will make positive statements on the dialogue particularly regarding pardon of political prisoners.

Salah described the statements by government officials that dialogue will be resumed following the holy month of Ramadan as a positive move. She further20 expressing hope that bilateral meetings between the political parties and armed groups take place in order to arrange for the dialogue.

Last week, Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour affirmed, during a meeting with a visiting German diplomat, that the dialogue will be resumed after Ramadan , adding that the government is ready to provide full guarantees for the opposition to participate in the dialogue inside Sudan.

Salah told the official news agency SUNA that Germany plays a positive role towards the dialogue, pointing to the activities carried out by the opposition in Germany.

She called upon all political forces to be keen on creating conducive climate for holding the national dialogue.

The PCP was among the first political forces to approve Bashir’s call for the national dialogue. Also, the lslamist party is the only significant political force that didn’t suspend its participation in the internal process.


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