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Sudan’s dialogue conference extended indefinitely

December 27, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s dialogue coordination committee known as 7+7 has decided to extend the national dialogue conference indefinitely.

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Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir and his Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby (L) listen to the national anthem during opening session of Sudan National Dialogue conference in Khartoum October 10, 2015. (Photo SUNA)

The National Congress Party (NCP)-led dialogue conference was inaugurated in Khartoum on October 10th amid large boycott from the major political and armed opposition.

Last week, the 7+7 committee stressed that there is no intention to extend the dialogue conference, saying it is expected to wind up on January 10th, 2016.

However, the Sudanese presidential assistant and member of the 7+7 committee Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid Sunday told reporters that the conference was extended for logical and practical reasons, noting that holdout political and armed group have expressed desire to join the conference.

Also, he added that some of the dialogue committees need more time to finish their work.

For his part, the political secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) and member of the 7+7 committee Kamal Omer stressed there were objective reasons behind the decision to extend the conference, pointing to ongoing contacts with the holdout opposition to convince them to join the conference.

He expressed readiness to open the dialogue’s roadmap and statute for discussion in order to include views of the holdout groups if they decide to participate in the dialogue.

Armed and political opposition groups say they are ready to join the dialogue process, should the ruling NCP accept to create a conducive environment and accept to hold an inclusive pre-dialogue meeting under the auspices of the African Union.

During an informal meeting held earlier this month; the delegations from Sudanese government and SPLM-N thoroughly discussed the need for a comprehensive dialogue process that can paves the way for peace and democratic reforms in the country.

Meanwhile, the economic committee of the dialogue conference proposed the allocation of 25% of the budget for agriculture, laying out several measures to curb corruption.

It also called for breaking the link of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) to the state’s executive branch, describing the placing of the bank under the direct responsibility of the presidency as “incorrect”.

Member of the economic committee Bashir Adam Rahma said the ministry of finance must train its employees who deal with the public funds professionally and morally, pointing the committee proposed that the city of Port Sudan should be turned into a free trade zone.

(ST)