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INTERVIEW: Sudan’s SCP accuses Turabi’s party of seeking to protect regime

December 7, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) has accused the Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Islamist figure Hassan al-Turabi of working to protect the regime in the wake of PCP’s decision to engage in the national dialogue process launched by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir in January.

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The political secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party, Mohammed Mokhtar al-Khateeb (ST)

SCP’s political secretary, Mohammed Mokhtar al-Khateeb, said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the PCP was part of the regime until 1999 when Turabi fell out with Bashir in a power struggle and disagreements over other issues.

“Therefore when the opportunity presented itself they moved to protect the regime and its policies, and this is contrary to the interests of Sudan,” al-Khateeb said.

He said the opposition alliance known as the National Consensus Forces (NCF) accommodated the PCP in its ranks despite expectations that they will one day return back to the bosom of the regime.

“We took them in because whoever wants to ride the train with you at one stage you don’t stop him,” the SCP official said.

Al-Khateeb stressed that the PCP chose to depart from the opposition coalition adding that they will never return despite their talk about only a temporary freeze in their membership.

He argued that Turabi’s party is working with others in Sudan and in the region to unify the forces of political Islam.

“They are allied with wider circles working to make Sudan a hub for Islamist movements and are turning to extend their presence in the region in general,” he said.

The top SCP official emphasised that the crisis experienced by the Sudan will not be solved unless the regime is toppled, saying the country has been living an internal war for over 25 years.

He described the government’s call for national dialogue as a product of the crisis surrounding the regime, but noted that the government lacks seriousness in the dialogue and has a desire to run it according to its own rules.

“They want a dialogue that would empower it even more, and thus resolve the crisis in accordance with its policies, and this will not work. We want to work and walk in another direction that leads to solving the crisis in Sudan,” he said.

Al-Khateeb, who was present at the signing of the “Sudan Call” in Addis Ababa this week between opposition forces and Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) and NGO’s, said the accord ensures that opposition forces unite after toppling the regime, as well as guarantees a political solution in areas that took up arms against the state.

“We agreed to hold a national constitutional conference at the end of the transitional period with the participation of everyone involved in it, and reaching a consensus how govern Sudan and how to manage diversity and the distribution of wealth and power fairly,” he said.

He rejected the government’s allegations of treason to the signatories of the agreement for joining hands with those fighting the government and pointed out that the rebels were forced to bear arms to further their political causes, but that the regime dealt with them militarily.

“Therefore we as civilian politicians went to agree with those who took up arms on a political solution, and there will be no settlement except through genuine dialogue leading to a complete comprehensive solution to the political crisis experienced by Sudan,” al-Khateeb said.

“Since independence, we live in a vicious cycle of instability. This cycle will not be broken unless all the people of Sudan agree on a specific program to implement it in a reasonable transition period that concludes with a constitutional conference,” he added.

He acknowledged however, that there are disagreement in the visions of the opposition forces on the mechanisms of implementation of the next phase but downplayed it, saying it is a natural dispute among forces of different composition.

Al-Khateeb underscored that everyone is in agreement on the key objectives of removing the regime and adoption of a transitional period and a constitutional national conference for all the people of Sudan to participate and draft the principles of the future constitution and then have free elections, paving the way for a peaceful transfer of power.