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AU mediator in Khartoum on Sunday for talks on peace and dialogue in Sudan

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July 31, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The African Union chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, is expected to arrive in the Sudanese capital next Sunday for consultations with the government officials over the resumption of peace talks and preparations for the national dialogue process.

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Chief AU mediator and former South African president Thabo Mbeki speaks to the media after his meeting with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum on 6 April 2012 (Photo: Getty Images)

Following the government refusal to attend it before the elections, Mbeki on 2 April suspended indefinitely a pre-dialogue preparatory meeting gathering the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), opposition forces and rebel groups in Addis Ababa to discuss the procedural and process issues related to the national dialogue which will be held inside Sudan.

At the time, the government criticized the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for its decision to hold the meeting two weeks before the general elections and pointed it had requested to delay it after the election. The mediation previously said it had got Khartoum’s approval.

NCP political secretary Mustafa Osman Ismail said on Friday that the former South African president Mbeki, will meet the government and party leadership to discuss the political issues in the country.

In statements to the semi-official SMC on Friday, Ismail said the ruling party submitted a number of proposals to move forward the national dialogue process in order to honour its commitment to creating a conducive political environment to accommodate all the parties in the political process.

He further reiterated the NCP’s commitment to the national dialogue road map signed on 9 August 2014 with the 7+7 mechanism forces. He also pointed that the dialogue committee approved the agreement signed with the AUHIP September 2014.

On 5 September 2014 in Addis Ababa, the mediation team signed separately an agreement “on the national dialogue and constitutional process” with 7+7 liaison committee from one side, and the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF) and the National Umma Party from the other side.

Since the end of general elections, the government expressed readiness to engage in the ongoing efforts aiming to end war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and to hold the national dialogue process. Sudanese officials also renewed their confidence in the chief mediators and said they prefer African solutions to African problems.

However, the opposition forces said the government by refusing the pre-dialogue meeting last March had demonstrated its lack of seriousness and called for a new process brokered by the African Union and involving international community.

Earlier this week, the SPLM-N called on the chief mediator to ensure that Khartoum government is "ready to start a genuine process that will immediately stop the wars from Blue Nile to the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Darfur."

The rebel group further stressed on the need to create a conducive environment where the basic freedoms are guaranteed before to engage in the national dialogue.

(ST)

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