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SRF rejects al-Mahdi proposal for peace conference inside Sudan

JEm leader Gibril Ihrahim speaks in a meeting held in Paris on 26 November 2017 (ST Photo)
September 24, 2019 (CAIRO) - Gibril Ibrahim, Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Secretary-General, on Sunday rejected a proposal by Umma Party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi to hold a peace conference inside Sudan and engage political parties in tackling issues that led to the war.

Last week, Mahdi sent a resignation letter to the Sudan Call alliance leaders and at the same time called to hold a "just comprehensive peace conference", inside the country with the participation of all armed groups including those that have concluded previous agreements and displaced persons and refugees as well as parties to tribal conflicts, the Forces for Freedom and Change and other forces involved in the revolution.

In statements to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday, Gibril explained that the issue of achieving peace in the country is not as simple as calling for "a general conference to bring together all the people of Sudan."

He pointed out that the process is intertwined with military issues that need to be addressed by the warring parties, as well as the issues of war-affected areas need to sit down with the government to resolve it.

"There are general issues that can be addressed at a general conference, including freedoms, identity, human rights, the relationship between religion and the state," he said.

"But the specificity of the war-affected areas, the problems of displaced persons and refugees have domestic and international laws and different considerations. Also, armies and their future are not addressed in a general conference," he added.

"Any talk that all issues can be dealt with at a general conference is a minor understanding that we do not support," he stressed.

The Sudan Call alliance will hold a meeting on 27 September to discuss al-Mahdi’s resignation and his proposal for the internal peace process.

Peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and the armed forces are due to begin on 14 October. While the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al Hilu says the venue of the process will be in Juba, the SRF factions speak about holding the talks in Abu Dhabi pointing to a previous commitment with the UAE leaders.

The SPLM-N al-Hilu say they will hold separate talks even the discussions on peace between the SRF and the Sudanese government are convened in South Sudan.

SRF attached to its alliances

In another context, Gibril denied any trend by the SRF to break away from the Sudan Call alliance or the Forces for Freedom and change (FFC).

He further stressed that the armed opposition groups were an active partner in the formation of these alliances and "we do not see a reason to leave them."

"We are remaining, but we want our voice to be heard in the Sudan Call and the FFC corridors. We do not see that the issues of the Revolutionary Front can be expressed by any third party," he said.

"We want significant changes in the way these two alliances are managed," he added.

The SRF holds a meeting nowadays in Cairo to prepare for the upcoming peace talks. They among other discussing the venue of the peace between the alliance and the transitional government.

Mohamed Zakaria, SRF spokesman told Sudan Tribune that the meeting selected Minnawi as a deputy leader and Eltom Hajo as the speaker of the SRF legislative body.

During their meetings in Juba earlier this month, the armed groups picked Hadi Idriss as chairman, Malik Agar deputy chairman and Gibril Ibrahim secretary-general.