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El Mahdi calls Sudan’s National Dialogue ‘a missed opportunity’

June 26 - 2017 OMDURMAN
El Sadig El Mahdi addresses his supporters, 26 January 2017 (RD)
El Sadig El Mahdi addresses his supporters, 26 January 2017 (RD)

According to the president of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sudan’s ruling party should have taken the recommendations of the National Dialogue seriously.

The government has missed the chance to end the wars and reform the country, the president of the largest opposition party, El Sadig El Mahdi, said in this Eid El Fitr sermon at the El Moulid Square in Omdurman on Sunday. "It is a missed opportunity."

He pointed to the recommendations of the National Dialogue committees that were included in a National Document in October this year, but have not all been implemented so far. Opposition parties alleged that Sudan’s ruling party has “adjusted the dialogue’s outcomes to its own benefit”.

El Mahdi referred in his speech to the “negative developments” after the signing of the AU Roadmap by the forces of Sudan Call [Sudan Appeal]. “The rift within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and the intervention by neighbouring countries west and south of Sudan have made the matter more complicated.”

“The split in the SPLM-N may harm the roadmap dialogue, and widely opens the door to polarisation of the parties’ positions,” he said. “Therefore, we need to put all our efforts into achieving a reasonable and just outcome of such a dialogue”.

In March 2016, the AU mediation team between Khartoum and the Sudanese rebel movements presented a roadmap for reaching a peaceful solution for the political crisis in the country. The Sudanese government immediately signed the roadmap. The armed and political opposition, allied by the December 2014 Sudan Call, a two-page document calling for democracy and regime-change, agreed to sign the document four months later.

The rift within the SPLM-N surfaced in March when Deputy-Chairman Abdelaziz El Hilu resigned from his position in March. He accused Secretary-General Yasir Arman, the movement’s chief negotiator, of disregarding the issue of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in the peace talks. Early this month, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council temporarily tasked El Hilu with the leadership of the movement after relieving Arman and Chairman Malik Agar and Arman from their posts. The Blue Nile Liberation Council partially agreed to this decision.

National reconciliation

On Thursday, President Omar Al Bashir renewed his calls on the political and armed opposition to join the national reconciliation process.

In a speech to the Sudanese on the occasion of Eid El Fitr, Al Bashir stated that “All the problems of the nation cannot be resolved except through dialogue”.

“We renew our call to the remaining arms-holders and those political forces who are still hesitant to join the national reconciliation efforts based on the National Document,” he said.

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