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Khartoum fights AU over venue national dialogue in media campaign

September 8 - 2015 KHARTOUM
A national dialogue meeting of the national assembly in Khartoum, Sudan (Suna-sd)
A national dialogue meeting of the national assembly in Khartoum, Sudan (Suna-sd)

A diplomatic row between the African Union and the Sudanese government emerged over the venue where a dialogue with the opposition and rebels took place last month, as Sudan accused Uganda of supporting the rebels. Several newspapers reported that the Sudanese government still insists that the national dialogue with the opposition should not be held outside the country.

Sudan Tribune, an English newspaper, said that the Sudanese presidential assistant has accused Uganda of orchestrating a meeting in Addis Ababa last month between the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the Sudanese rebel groups.

Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid, who is also the deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), said Uganda had organised a meeting between the AU and the rebels, describing the move as a violation of the AU charter. The AU High Level Panel (AUHIP) is led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, to mediate between the Sudanese parties.

The Sudanese government has announced a major media campaign to promote the national dialogue to be held inside the country during the next three months. All media in Sudan are censored by the national government. The State Minister of Information, Yasir Yousif, said his Ministry would implement the presidential decree number 158 which gives all political parties participating in the dialogue opportunities to appear on the state-owned media.

Sudanese opposition leaders and rebel movements held a meeting with AUPSC on 24 August 24, on the eve of a session during which the 15-member body heard a report by Thabo Mbeki on his efforts to facilitate the dialogue process in Sudan.

At the conclusion of that session, the Council called for a preparatory meeting of the national dialogue on the issues related to the process and procedures between the government and the opposition groups in Addis Ababa.

President Omar Al Bashir during a visit in China last week said that Sudan will “rip up” any external resolution that seeks intervention in the country's national dialogue. He said he will not tolerate any interventions from outside the country, be it the African Union or the United Nations.

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