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Reactions to Al Bashir’s speech on Sudanese Independence Day

January 4 - 2016 KHARTOUM
President Omar Al Bashir addresses top officials of his ruling National Congress Party during a meeting in Khartoum (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)
President Omar Al Bashir addresses top officials of his ruling National Congress Party during a meeting in Khartoum (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

Extensive reactions have been aroused to President Omar Al Bashir’s speech on Thursday, on the occasion of Sudan’s Independence Day.

The president announced the extension of both a unilateral ceasefire and the National Dialogue for one month. He categorically rejected a preparatory National Dialogue meeting with the opposition forces abroad.

The Deputy Head of the Sudanese Congress Party, Dr El Fateh El Sayed commented by saying that the extension of the ceasefire “is only done for buying time. Khartoum did not keep the first cease-fire anyhow.

“The ceasefire is a step forwards but Sudan needs a comprehensive dialogue to discuss the root causes of the problem that caused the rebels to take up their arms,” he said in an interview with Radio Dabanga to be broadcast today.

The opposition leader described the ongoing Dialogue as a failure. “The process is non-feasible and non-productive. Those currently involved in the Dialogue do not have solutions to the major issues of the country.

“Also we wonder if Al Bashir really thinks that the opposition will join the Dialogue as it has been extended for another month?”

Failure

Yousef Hussein, the spokesman for the Communist Party of Sudan called the extension of the National Dialogue “an acknowledgement of its failure.

“The Sudanese president called for a National Dialogue two years ago. Wouldn’t this time be more than enough to establish a serious and fruitful dialogue that leads to the dismantling of the totalitarian regime and the resolution of the chronic crises in Sudan?

According to the Communist spokesman, Khartoum set up this Dialogue to divert the attention from its multiple crises and to distract the opposition. “Al Bashir’s government intended to buy time to extend its social bases by a synthetic political unification called the National Dialogue,” Hussein told Radio Dabanga in an interview to be broadcast in Milafat Sudania today.

“The most important steps towards the resolution of this totalitarian regime will be the ending of the fighting, the cancellation of freedom-restricting laws, and the release of the political detainees and prisoners. As this will not happen, the only option left is a popular uprising,” he stated.

Transitional government

The forces involved in the Dialogue, the Popular Congress Party (PCP), led by Dr Hassan El Turabi, considers the National Dialogue “the only option to avoid disintegration of the country”.

In an interview with the Qatari Al-Sharq newspaper on Saturday, El Turabi said that the Dialogue discussed the party’s proposal of a two-year transitional government headed by Omar Al Bashir, with a council of ministers having full executive powers, and the current legislative institutions implementing the Dialogue outputs. This two-year period is to be followed by general elections.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) however, responded on Sunday by saying that the proposal for a transitional government is the reflection of the PCP only.


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