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Mbeki agrees to discuss “Sudan Call” reservations on Roadmap Agreement: NUP

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

June 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Friday said the African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki has agreed to meet the “Sudan Call” forces to discuss their reservations on the Roadmap Agreement he brokered between Sudanese parties.

Last March, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the Sudanese government signed a framework agreement calling to stop war in Blue Nile, Darfur, and South Kordofan and to engage in the national dialogue process.

However, the opposition groups, Justice and Equality Movement, NUP, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N), and Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) refused the roadmap saying it acknowledges a government controlled dialogue conference and would lead to reproduce the regime.

On Thursday, the NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi met with Mbeki in Johannesburg at his request to discuss the reasons behind the “Sudan Call” forces refusal to sign the deal.

According to a press statement issued by al-Mahdi’s office Friday, the NUP leader has laid a package of demands for signing the Roadmap including holding the proposed inclusive pre-dialogue meeting with the participation of the Sudanese government to ensure the implementation of its outcome.

In September 2014, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) endorsed a roadmap aiming to facilitate the national dialogue. It provides to hold a national dialogue preparatory meeting in Addis to agree on issues related to the process.

The purpose of the pre-dialogue meeting was to seal a cessation of hostilities agreement, allow humanitarian access to the affected war zones, release political prisoners and detainees ensure press and political freedoms in the country.

However, the Sudanese government rejected the call of the AUSC to hold the pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa, saying he wants the dialogue to be an exclusive Sudanese process.

The statement pointed that al-Mahdi demanded that the proposed dialogue mustn’t be considered as mere extension of the internal government-led dialogue, saying the requirements of the national dialogue must be agreed upon in the preparatory meeting.

The internal dialogue conference was inaugurated in Khartoum on October 10th, 2015 amid large boycott from the major political and armed opposition.

The statement added that the NUP leader also demanded the implementation of the confidence-building measures and offering guarantees for the execution of the dialogue recommendations, saying the dialogue conference must be held inside Sudan and its chairmanship must be determined by mutual agreement.

According to the NUP, Mbeke promised to discuss al-Mahdi’s proposal within the AUHIP before he replies.

It added that al-Mahdi proposed that the “Sudan Call” forces participating in the dialogue should send an official letter demanding a meeting with Mbeki to reach an agreement on those issues, saying the latter accepted al-Mahdi’s suggestion.

“Accordingly, the NUP leader sent a draft letter to his colleagues [in the Sudan Call forces] and it is hoped that they agree on it so that it could be sent to [Mbeki] as soon as possible because all parties recognize the need to hold the national dialogue to stop the war and achieve the desired democracy and realize the legitimate demands of the Sudanese people” read the statement .

The statement pointed that al-Mahdi told Mbeki that the refusal of the “Sudan Call” force to sign the Roadmap doesn’t imply a lack of recognition or appreciation to its objectives and the positive points included in it.

“Al-Mahdi pointed that the absence of a [true] dialogue mechanism would push the Sudanese people to mobilize for a peaceful popular uprising which is considered a proven means [to overthrow the totalitarian regimes] particularly as the momentum is mounting in the political street,” added the statement.

“However, this doesn’t mean to dismiss the national dialogue mechanism” al-Mahdi told Mbeki.

Al-Mahdi further mentioned the increasing demands for a new regime, pointing to the recommendations of the internal dialogue body known as 7+7 and the memorandum recently submitted to the presidency by 52 national figures.

For his part, Mbeki said the Roadmap met the most important demands of the “Sudan Call” force including the comprehensive ceasefire and allowing access to humanitarian relief in war areas besides the recognition of the NUP and the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) as partners in the national dialogue.

“Anyway, the points which haven’t been stipulated in the Roadmap could be discussed between you [Sudan Call] and the representatives of the 7+7 committee,” said Mbeki