‘Our demands to be approved’: Sudan Appeal press conference
A public discussion in Sudan about the renewed position of the Sudan Appeal towards the proposed peace roadmap sparked in Sudan, as its representatives have held the first press conference after their meetings in Paris last week.
Yesterday in Khartoum, Umma Party leader El Sadig El Mahdi and SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman disclosed new information on the steps to be taken before the Sudan Appeal opposition signs the peace roadmap that has been proposed by the African Union and signed by the Sudanese government.
The Sudan Appeal members, a mixed group of rebel movements, opposition and civil society parties, express their willingness to sign the file following months of rejecting it.
Initially the mediators of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and creators of the roadmap refused to add a supplemental document the Sudan Appeal has proposed. They demand that the delegations must discuss a ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian relief to the affected population in conflict areas, basic freedoms, and the release of political prisoners. The opposition wants these cases to be addressed prior to participation in Sudan’s National Dialogue.
NCP rules out meeting
During the press conference on Monday the Sudan Appeal representatives said that chief mediator Thabo Mbeki has promised that his panel will issue a statement in connection with the signing of the roadmap, and that it passes the opposition’s demands.
Press at the Sudan Appeal conference in Khartoum on 25 July (RD)
Following the press conference, Sudan’s National Congress Party ruled out that any preparatory meeting will take place between the government and Sudan Appeal forces, neither in Sudan nor abroad.
Spokesman for the ruling party and State Minister of Media, Yasir Yousef, stressed that the roadmap is clear on this subject: “There will be a meeting between the dialogue mechanism, the Darfur rebel movements, the SPLM-N, and the National Umma Party.
“How can there be a preparatory meeting if the National Dialogue has already started?,” Yousef told reporters on Monday. The spokesman urged the parties to sign the roadmap to finally complete the preparatory peace negotiations and participate in the National Dialogue.
Yousef added that the schedule of the National Dialogue will be determined at the general assembly’s meeting early August.
AUHIP has yet to make a statement after the announcement.
‘Mbeki found our demands positive and objective’ - SCP leader
According to the President of the Sudanese Congress Party, Omar El Digair, claimed that Mbeki finds the opposition’s demands “positive, objective, and that they can be part of the agenda points that are expected to be handled” in preparatory meetings with the National Dialogue’s Committee.
Yasir Arman, the Secretary-General of the rebel SPLM-North told Radio Dabanga that they are willing to negotiate a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian reasons. “We would not object to a cessation of hostilities for a year so as to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians.”
However, the SPLM-N will not accept a ceasefire that would give Khartoum control over the humanitarian operation in conflict areas, Arman said.
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