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El Mahdi: ‘Sudan should follow South Africa’s model of inclusive dialogue’

March 18 - 2018 PARIS
El Sadig El Mahdi, president of the National Umma Party
El Sadig El Mahdi, president of the National Umma Party

El Sadig El Mahdi, the president of Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP), has proposed a dialogue between the government and the opposition to bring about changes in the country ‘similar to what had happened in South Africa’.

In an interview with France 24, El Mahdi said the international community wants a democratic system in Sudan so it has to pressure the government to release the detainees and grant freedoms.

El Mahdi was speaking in Paris during a series of meetings of the Sudan Call (also referred to as Sudan Appeal) Forces – a coalition of Sudanese opposition movements – have been holding a series of consultative meetings in the French capital.

He explained that the opposition believes that there should be a dialogue with the government under the AU road map. The road map was laid-out in cooperation with the African Union’s High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) under the chairmanship of former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

In the interview, El Mahdi said that dialogue proposed by the Sudan Call Forces has its conditions of freedoms, human rights and being inclusive, similar to what had happened in South Africa’s transition to democracy.

He said: “If the regime insists on its position, we will mobilise people, go out to the streets and strike to change it”.

The end of the apartheid regime in South Africa was catalysed by a campaign of mass action by the opposition movements during which the public took to the streets. It forced the regime’s hand to release Nelson Mandela in 1990 and enter into inclusive dialogue which resulted in a multi-party democracy.

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