Sudan Appeal 'agrees on roadmap position' in Paris
Sudan's armed and civil opposition forces want to meet with the African Union chief mediator in Ethiopia in the coming weeks to discuss the possibility of the Sudan Appeal forces signing a peace roadmap with the Sudanese government.
The Sudan Appeal forces met in Paris this week to address the issues of restructuring their alliance and of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) roadmap, an agreement which the panel proposed to the Sudanese government and the Sudanese opposition. The government delegation agreed to the roadmap, yet the opposition groups have so far declined because they desire an adjusted version.
The members of the Sudan Appeal - the SRF, an alliance of the main rebel movements, the Umma Party, the NCF coalition of opposition parties, and the Civil Society Initiative - announced their plan at the conclusion of four days of meetings in the French capital. A special envoy of chief AU mediator Mbeki participated and handed over a letter by the mediators, expressing the panel's desire to discuss the opposition's concerns and to pave the way to signing the roadmap.
'The Sudan Appeal has reached a position on the peace roadmap.'
The Sudan Appeal has responded with a letter signed by El Sadig El Mahdi, the head of the Umma Party, requesting a meeting with Thabo Mbeki. He said that the main achievement in Paris is that the members agreed on a position regarding the roadmap.
“We have certain points to this agreement which we hope to speak with Mr. Mbeki about,” El Mahdi told Radio Dabanga. “But positive outcomes from this meeting will enable us to sign the roadmap and open the door to an encounter between us and the government's delegation.”
Dr Amin Mekki Medani, the chairman of the civil society initiative, earlier said that they were not subject to any pressure during the meetings to get the Sudan Appeal to sign the AUHIP roadmap. SCP chairman Omer El Digair also claimed that the approval of the roadmap was not on the table in Paris.
Jibril Ibrahim Mohamed, the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), told Radio Dabanga that the opposition has proposed re-arranging the roadmap agreement, rather than re-formulating it. “We have proposed our supplements in the form of a letter to the mediators.”
He pointed to a misunderstanding concerning the signing of the roadmap. “People assume that after the signing we will go to Khartoum to participate in the National Dialogue. But the roadmap would only clarify the steps that must be taken on the track of the peace process: the cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid into conflict areas.”
The leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement faction SLM-MM, Minni Arko Minawi, told Radio Dabanga that the delegations hopefully will move forward to a peaceful two-track: a track on the humanitarian and political aspects in Darfur and Sudan's conflict areas, and a track towards a comprehensive National Dialogue to discuss all other issues Sudan faces.
“I see a glimmer of light in the upcoming days through communication with the AU mediation and opposition parties, that might shape more convergence between the mediators and the Sudan Appeal.”
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