The Sudanese armed and civil opposition have confirmed their willingness to continue working with the AU mediation team to achieve a comprehensive peace and democratic transformation in the country. The chairman of the Civil Society Initiative stressed however that the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) needs to be enhanced by the regional and international community.
Leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance and the National Umma Party met with the AU mediation team in Addis Ababa on Saturday and Sunday for consultations about breaking the impasse after the Sudanese government turned down the proposal of merging the peace negotiations with a broad national dialogue.
Representatives of the AU, UN, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) attended the meeting.
Speaking from the Ethiopian capital on Sunday afternoon, Dr Jibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement and co-vice president of the SRF, told Radio Dabanga that AUHIP chairman Thabo Mbeki had briefed them about the outcomes of his meeting with President Al Bashir earlier this month. Khartoum adheres to its rejection of merging the peace talks on Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) with a dialogue on democratic transformation, to be held abroad.
Ibrahim said that the opposition agreed to provide a vision paper, to be submitted to Mbeki that evening.
He added that the opposition had expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the AUHIP and their partners to support the peace processes and confirmed their willingness to continue cooperating with the AU mediation team.
AUHIP to be ‘restructured’
The chairman of the Civil Society Initiative, Dr Amin Mekki Madani, however, told Radio Dabanga from Khartoum that the role of the AU as mediator in its current form has come to an end.
“Mbeki himself confirmed this after the Sudanese government clearly informed him that they do not want any outside interference in the national dialogue. And they will not change their stance,” he said.
Madani stressed the importance of the AU mediation mechanism and demanded from the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council to upgrade the team, by incorporating partners from leading African and European states, and representatives of regional and international bodies, such as the EU, UN, and the Sudan Troika (USA, UK, and Norway).
He pointed to the open letter sent to the AUHIP by 45 Sudanese civil society leaders last Wednesday in which they urged the AU to bolster the mediation team, address the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, and support their efforts to reach a sustainable peace.
“The AUHIP should mobilise its diplomatic and political capacities to seek a re-structuring and strengthening of the Panel,” he cited from the letter. “It should seek to obtain new resolutions endorsing the creation of new AUHIP partners, with a mandate to push for a new comprehensive political process.”