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Sudan opposition groups would likely join peace roadmap within days: al-Mahdi

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July 6, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi on Wednesday said the opposition groups of the Sudan Call forces will likely sign the Roadmap Agreement after a meeting they would hold in Addis Ababa during the coming days.

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AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki (R) meets opposition NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi on June 2, 2016 (Courtesy photo of NUP)

Last March, the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposed a roadmap agreement to the Sudanese government and some opposition groups including the NUP, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /North, Justice and Equality Movement, and Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi.

However, only Khartoum government signed the framework text while the four groups declined the text, saying the Roadmap would reproduce the regime.

Last June the Sudan Call forces proposed to sign it after adding a supplemental document including their additional demands. But, the chief mediator declined their proposal saying that in his quality as facilitator he cannot hold such negotiations with any of the Sudanese parties, pointing that he forwarded the proposal to the Sudanese government and requested its response.

The Sudanese government refused the supplemental text proposed by the opposition.

However, the self-exiled leader of the NUP said in the Eid al-Fitr sermon which he delivered from Cairo on Wednesday that Mbeki’s response to his letter doesn’t mean that discussions on the Roadmap “have come to a standstill”.

He pointed that Mbeki sent him a second letter on 23 June including “proposals to deal positively with the [Roadmap]”.

“Had we agreed to [Mbeki’s] proposals, this would make us sign the Roadmap and hence pave the road for the dialogue which is, no matter how different it has been labeled, in fact a response to the African Union Peace and Security Council resolution 534,” he said.

He saw that the pre-dialogue meeting would decide on the needed confidence-building measures, including declaring the ceasefire, allowing humanitarian access to the needy populations, exchanging POWs, releasing political detainees and prisoners and approving agenda of the dialogue that would be held inside Sudan.

“The regime was satisfied with [its] internal dialogue, however, the map [Roadmap] drew a road for a preparatory dialogue [that will be held] abroad and then certain measures would be completed before holding the dialogue inside [Sudan],” said al-Mahdi.

“The national dialogue has accumulated weight that would reach its peak in a dialogue that would be held under the supervision of the AUHIP … the view which calls for establishing a new regime through dialogue enjoys the support of the national and international public opinion,” he added.

The government-led dialogue conference was inaugurated in Khartoum on October 10th, 2015 amid large boycott from the major political and armed opposition.
Hold out opposition refuse to take part in the conference before the creation of a conducive environment and the implementation of specific confidence-building measures.

On the other hand, al-Mahdi pointed to the sharp increase in commodity prices and poverty rate besides the poor electricity and water services as well as the continued fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and the lawlessness situation in Darfur, saying all these indicators mean that the outbreak of the popular uprising is only a matter of timing.

He directed his speech to President Omer al-Bashir saying “Oh brother, I address you without mentioning any titles but as my brother in religion and homeland … We call on you to announce to all people that you decided to end the war and make peace by addressing the root causes of war and abandoning the exclusionary governance and establishing an all-inclusive rule that would neither be dominated by a single party nor will it exclude any party”.

“By making such a firm decision, you [Bashir] and your party would move from a dark position in history to a bright and glorious one … Say it clearly because in the Sudanese people’s customs the good word is an incense that reflects what is going within oneself,” he added

The Sudanese government has received widespread international and regional support for the signing of the Roadmap. The UN chief, African Union chairperson, the United Kingdom and the United States have also urged the opposition groups to join the peace plan.

The expected signing of the Roadmap by some Sudan Call forces would likely lead to a split within the opposition umbrella, as the National Consensus forces (NCF) alliance had previously distanced itself from the ongoing talks with the government.

The NCF, which consists of Sudanese Communist Party, Sudanese Congress Party, a faction of the Democratic Unionist Party, some national Arab groups, is a member of the Sudan Call coalition but says the regime is not credible and points that the popular uprising is the best way to achieve regime change.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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