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Sudan Appeal forces agree on a new position

October 2 - 2016 ADDIS ABABA
Representatives of the 20 opposition groups that signed the Sudan Appeal document in 2014 meet in Paris, April 2016 (RD)
Representatives of the 20 opposition groups that signed the Sudan Appeal document in 2014 meet in Paris, April 2016 (RD)

Last week, the Sudanese opposition forces allied under the Sudan Appeal agreed on their position regarding negotiations with the government and a preparatory National Dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa.

Representatives of the allied opposition, consisting of the main armed movements and a number of opposition parties and civil society organisations, discussed “the way forward” during a series of meetings and workshops in Addis Ababa between 25 and 30 September.

The new document includes the vision and objectives of the opposition coalition, their principles concerning the National Dialogue, and procedures for creating a good negotiation climate to reach an agreement for cessation of hostilities and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected in the war-torn regions of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.

The Sudan Appeal Leadership Council said in a statement on Friday that the document represents the basis for the work of the Sudan Appeal forces and their negotiating delegation.

The Leadership Council “will directly call for an alternative national dialogue in which the forces of change will participate”. The ruling party and its allies will not be invited, as “the only goal of the government-led National Dialogue is to reinstate the crisis regime, appease the international community, buy time, divide the opposition and diffuse the public opinion”.

The Council decided to form “a leadership mechanism to coordinate its activities with the forces of change and any other forces willing to join the Sudan Appeal”. It warned the other opposition forces for “plans of the regime to tear the opposition apart”.

The Sudan Appeal, a two-page political communiqué calling for regime change and democracy, was signed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of the main rebel movements), the National Umma Party (NUP), the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), and the Civil Society Initiative in the Ethiopian capital on 3 December 2014. Other Sudanese parties and civil society groups joined them in the following year.

The peace talks between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and the Justice and Equality Moment (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) on Darfur collapsed on 14 August.

Both sides accused the other of obstructing the peace talks in Addis Ababa, brokered by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). While the introduction of new issues by the JEM and SLM-MM caused the talks on Darfur to collapse, the provision of humanitarian aid to war victims in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan led to a deadlock in the government-SPLM-N negotiations.

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