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Sudan rebels, Umma reject ‘fake participation in National Dialogue’

March 24 - 2016 ADDIS ABABA
JEM leader, Dr Jibril Ibrahim (R) and El Sadig El Mahdi, president of the Umma Party, attend the AU consultative meeting in Addis Ababa, 20 march 2016 (SPLM-N)
JEM leader, Dr Jibril Ibrahim (R) and El Sadig El Mahdi, president of the Umma Party, attend the AU consultative meeting in Addis Ababa, 20 march 2016 (SPLM-N)

Dr Jibril Ibrahim, the head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), says the roadmap proposed by AU mediator Thabo Mbeki in Addis Ababa on Sunday is like a ticket for a direct flight to the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, in order to give legitimacy to the National Dialogue dominated by Sudan’s ruling party.

The National Dialogue, initiated by President Omar Al Bashir in early 2014, was launched in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on 10 October last year to study solutions to the political, social, economic, and financial crises in the country.

The JEM, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and the National Umma Party (NUP) maintain that they will not participate in a dialogue dominated by the ruling party. The government categorically refuses to hold the National Dialogue abroad, and has repeatedly invited the opposition groups to Khartoum to join the process on Sudanese territory.

The AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) arranged a consultative meeting between Khartoum and the allied opposition in Addis Ababa this weekend. Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki presented the warring parties the text of a roadmap regarding the accords to be agreed on to achieve peace in the country and the opposition’s participation in the National Dialogue. The government delegation signed the document. Mbeki signed as well. The opposition groups refused, accusing the AU mediator of siding with Khartoum.

“If the AU mediation wants to broker a real dialogue and peace negotiations, it should call for a preparatory conference that is binding to all stakeholders.”

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, to be broadcast today, Dr Ibrahim said that “although the roadmap was developed to stop the wars, it was deceptive, as poison in the milk.

“The paper arrangement does not necessarily mean a cessation of hostilities and the delivery of aid to the affected populations, but it grants us a few days to meet with the 7+7 National Dialogue Coordination Committee,” he explained. “We will then take part in the final session of the so-called National Dialogue Conference in the Friendship Hall, and that will be the end of the story.”

Impasse

The rebel leader said that a solution for the impasse requires “the Khartoum regime and the mediation to return to the correct procedure, by calling for an inclusive preparatory National Dialogue meeting in the Ethiopian capital, for all Sudanese political forces. By doing so, the agreement signed by the same regime will be implemented, in accordance with Resolution 539 of the AU Peace and Security Council.

“If we would sign this roadmap, we will return to Khartoum with nothing to offer the people who have been displaced for decades.”

“If the AU mediation wants to broker a real dialogue and peace negotiations, it should call for a preparatory conference that is binding to all stakeholders,” Ibrahim stressed.

“In such a preparatory conference, we will be able to agree on the prerequisites for a balanced dialogue, with convincing guarantees and doable outputs. This will create an environment conducive for a dialogue, after which we will participate in the National Dialogue.

“We are ready for the pre-Dialogue meeting, to stop the wars, and negotiate political solutions to restore the rights of the Sudanese,” said the rebel leader. “If we would sign this roadmap, however, we will return to Khartoum with nothing to offer the people who have been displaced for decades.”


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