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Turabi urges Bashir to translate into action his pledges for Sudanese rebels

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August 20, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan al-Turabi, called on President Omer al-Bashir to create a conducive environment before the national dialogue by translating into action his pledge for a ceasefire and to allow humanitarian assistance.

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Sudan’s Islamist opposition leader Hassan Al-Turabi (AFP)

In his remarks at the third meeting of the national dialogue general assembly in Khartoum on Thursday, Bashir vowed to declare a ceasefire for two months and to amnesty rebels. He made his declaration 24 hours before a meeting the chief mediator Thabo Mbeki organize with the rebel groups in Addis Ababa.

Commenting on the presidential pledges after the dialogue meeting, al-Turabi told reporters that rebel groups do not entirely reject the dialogue. He revealed that the opposition parties in the dialogue mechanism have reached a number of understandings with some armed groups that he did not identify.

"When they reach an agreement over ways to stop war, humanitarian access and guarantees for those who would come for the dialogue inside the country, they (the rebels) cannot implement this agreement but the government can do that," he said.

Turbai further pointed that the government should accept the demands of the armed opposition groups saying "We need to take (concrete) steps to reassure them. When there is a war between you and me the word alone is not enough to build confidence," he stressed.

President al-Bashir already pledged in the past to give the necessary guarantees to ensure the participation of rebel groups in the dialogue process inside the country.

Sudanese courts sentenced to death several rebel leaders from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and armed groups in Darfur after convicting them of committing crimes.

Last month, PCP officials who are part of the dialogue mechanism repeated they are in touch with the holdout rebels to persuade them to join the internal process.

Turabi who is hostile to hold the political process outside the country said the genuine dialogue will be at the level of different subcommittees that would be formed by the dialogue coordination mechanism.

He added that these panels will do the most important part of the required work, stressing that its membership is limited and "can talk in everything," as he said.

He further expected that the holdout rebel groups join the dialogue process when the activities of the subcommittees be translated into decisions and measures.

But the Islamist leader showed indifference about the absence of some opposition political forces from the table of dialogue saying: "societies in the world are not compatible, but they agree on the systems."

On the other hand, he pointed that the participation of fifty national figures in the dialogue "a very important step".

Officials at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) say they are keen to involve the reader of the opposition National Umma Party Sadiq al-Mahdi who demands to partially hold the process outside Sudan.

Also the internal process is boycotted by the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces and Reform Now Movement of Ghazi Salah Eddin Attabani, a NCP splinter and former presidential adviser.

(ST)

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