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Sudan’s DUP pledges to narrow positions over secular state


Al-Hilu and Al-Mirghani raise hands in Juba with leading members of their groups in Juba on 29 January 2020 (ST photo)
January 29, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani vowed to exert efforts to narrow the gap between the transitional government and the SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu over the issue of the secular state in Sudan.

Talks to end the over eight years conflict in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states are stalled over the demand of the SPLM-N al-Hilu to include the secular state and right to self-determination in South Sudan’s mediated negotiations.

The DUP deputy leader Gaffar Al-Mirghani on Wednesday met with al-Hilu in Juba to discuss ways to enhance political cooperation and support the talks for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in the Two Areas.

The DUP which was part of the ousted al-Bashir regime and the SPLM-N al-Hilu had sealed a political alliance supported by the Egyptian government in Cairo last September. The two political forces agreed to work together for peace and democratic transition.

In a joint statement signed with al-Hilu at the end of the meeting, al-Mirghani said he understands the concerns associated with the SPLM-N’s demand for self-determination if the parties fail to agree on the establishment of a secular state in Sudan.

Also, he renews his understanding of the SPLM-N al-Hilu on secularism and self-determination

"The (DUP) is committed to working and communicating with all the Sudanese parties to address this difference in an effort to stop the war and ward off religious strife, so that these issues are not a cause and hindrance without reaching a political agreement that stops the war in Sudan," further stressed the joint statement.

Al-Hilu and Al-Mirghani went further to voice the "need to prohibit the establishment of political parties on a religious basis, and the need to respect pluralism and cultural diversity".

The government and the SPLM-N disagree on when the separation between the state and religion and be discussed.

The transitional government officials say they understand the need for a secular state in Sudan after a 30-year Islamic regime in Sudan. However, they stress that the matter should be decided by a constitutional conference, not a peace process.

Main groups of the ruling coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) also expressed their support for the civilian state.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in the past called to host the peace talks in Sudan saying he was able to reunite his former comrades of the SPLM-N and to bridges their positions with the Sudanese government.

The call for self-determination emerged during the talks with former Islamist regime and led to the split of the group into two factions.


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  • 31 January 07:57, by Fathi

    "Main groups of the ruling coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) also expressed their support for the civilian state."
    Wait, was that a typo? Did the FFC express their support for a secular state?

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    • 4 February 08:20, by RiddlePelican

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