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Sudan’s dialogue body to ask Bashir to postpone the process until October: official

July 22, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - A member of Sudan’s dialogue coordination body known as 7+7 said they intend to ask president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to delay the start of the process until October to allow the dialogue committees to make more preparations.

The opening session of the first roundtable on Sudan’s national dialogue in Khartoum on 6 April 2014 (SUNA)

Aboud Jaber, member of the 7+7 committee told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that their upcoming meeting with Bashir would set the date for the commencement of the dialogue, saying they expect it to kick off in October.

Several Sudanese officials including the foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, vowed to resume the dialogue process after the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

However, Jaber said the process would be delayed to allow the dialogue committees including the one tasked with creating conducive environment and the other one tasked with contacting opposition forces and rebel groups to carry out their work in order to ensure that the process would be inclusive.

He stressed that both opposition and government parties within the 7+7 committee have agreed to postpone the dialogue, pointing the roadmap approved by the dialogue body stated that the time-frame for holding the process should not exceed three months except for emergency conditions.

Jaber didn’t rule out that pre-dialogue preparatory meetings with the armed groups and opposition could take place abroad provided that the dialogue must be held inside the Sudan.

He expressed the dialogue’s body readiness to meet objective and constructive demands from the opposition forces to create conducive climate for the dialogue.

On Sunday, the chairman of the National People’s Alliance (NPA) and co-chair of the 7+7 subcommittee for creating conducive climate for the dialogue from the opposition side, Osman Abu al-Magd, expressed readiness to hold a pre-dialogue preparatory meeting with the political forces and armed groups refusing to join the process abroad.

Meanwhile, the political secretary of the Justice Party (JP) and member of the 7+7 committee, Guma’a Bishara Aror, told Sudan Tribune that news about delay of the national dialogue were uncertain, describing it as “mere speculations”.

He added that no date has been set in the first place for the start of the dialogue, pointing the whole issue would be determined during the upcoming meeting of Bashir with the dialogue body within few days.

Also, the member of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) Council, Mustafa Nagm al-Bushari, said the delay of the national dialogue would be a good opportunity if it was meant to engage all political force and armed groups in order to achieve positive results.

In statements to the official news agency SUNA he urged all parties participating in the dialogue to show patience, saying the process needs wisdom.

He called for the need to agree on national principles in order to build the country and achieve the desired goals.

NCP TO MEET WITH OPPOSITION

In the same context, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said it would engage in intensive meetings with the political forces refusing to join the dialogue, stressing that all guarantees would be provided to ensure participation of those forces in the process.

The head of the NCP political sector, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said Bashir will meet with leaders of the political parties within the 7+7 committee within few days, underscoring that dialogue is not only confined to the Islamists but would include all people in order to achieve a comprehensive solution for the country’s issues.

He told the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) that reliance of the opposition parties on foreign powers represents the major obstacle for the national dialogue, pointing the opposition set 14 prerequisites to join the process.

The NCP official called on the armed groups and the opposition forces to listen to the voice of reason and engage in the process to achieve peace and security in the country.

Bashir launched the national dialogue initiative in January 2014 in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues related to peace and constitutional reforms.

But the initiative faced serious setbacks after the government refusal to create suitable atmosphere by releasing political prisoners, ensuring freedoms, and postponement of elections.

(ST)