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Darfur rebels travel to delayed AUHIP meeting in Addis

August 21 - 2015 ADDIS ABABA / PARIS
Thabo Mbeki speaks in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on 17 November 2014. Present are the Sudanese government's delegation and Yasir Arman, leader of the SPLM-N delegation at the time (file photo)
Thabo Mbeki speaks in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on 17 November 2014. Present are the Sudanese government's delegation and Yasir Arman, leader of the SPLM-N delegation at the time (file photo)

The meeting between the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the armed movements, and the Sudanese opposition has been delayed so all invitees except the rebel SLM-AW are able to travel to Addis Ababa on Friday evening. The delegations of the National Umma Party, headed by El Sadig El Mahdi, and the rebel SPLM-N already arrived in the Ethiopian capital.

A source speaking to Radio Dabanga said that Thabo Mbeki has not arrived in Addis Ababa yet either. He expected the meeting to commence on Saturday around 10am local time, instead of Friday, owing to the late arrivals. The meeting is aimed at discussing alternatives for a solution to Sudan's multiple crises.

The leaders of two of Darfur's main rebel movements, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Arko Minawi (SLM-MM) said that they were travelling from Paris to Addis Ababa on Friday night. They were in Paris for consultations with Abiodun Bashua, the Joint Special Representative of Unamid, last Friday.

Dr Jibril Ibrahim, leader of the JEM, said that he expected the National Consensus Forces (NCF, an alliance of opposition parties) and Sudanese civil society organisations to receive an invitation too. “But they did not reach them formally,” he told Radio Dabanga on Friday.

Apparently the AUHIP did not invite all signatories of the Sudan Appeal, a two-page political communiqué calling for regime-change, which was also signed by the NCF and the Civil Society Initiative, besides the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance and the Umma Party.

“Now it looks like Mbeki tries to divide the Sudanese opposition,” a prominent member of the NCF alliance told Radio Dabanga yesterday.

The SLM-AW, led by Abdelwahid El Nur, has already refused to join the meeting in Addis Ababa. “Because the AU mechanism is calling for negotiations that will end up with the distribution of positions, while the SLM-AW prioritises a comprehensive and just peace,” he told Radio Dabanga.

Umma Party leader present

Already present at the table are a delegation of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), including chairman Malik Agar and secretary-general Yasir Saeed Arman, and the Umma Party delegation led by the chairman and his deputy, El Sadig and Maryam El Mahdi.

El Sadig El Mahdi has not returned to Sudan after signing the anti-government Paris Declaration one year ago, and the Sudan Appeal in December last year. Other signatories were detained upon their return and charged with instigating war against the state. 

The Sudanese government, however, is eager for his return, so he may re-take his seat at Sudan's national dialogue table and restore the lost balance between the number of pro-government and opposition parties. The Umma party suspended its participation in the dialogue over the government's restrictions on freedoms in Sudan, and El Mahdi's detention in May 2014.


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