Sudan’s ruling party refuses to attend Addis pre-dialogue meeting
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) will not participate in the preparatory National Dialogue meeting with the opposition forces in Addis Ababa that was supposed to begin on Sunday.
The head of the party’s Political Bureau, NCP, Mustafa Osman, announced in a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday, that the NCP would not attend any meeting on the National dialogue abroad before the election due to begin on 13 April, is held.
He also criticised the mediation team, the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), for not extending invitations to the parties of the 7+7 National Dialogue Committee.
The opposition Sudan Appeal signatories, consisting of 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 affiliated civil society organisations, insisted on a pre-dialogue meeting before the election would take place.
A transitional government should be formed first, which should prepare for an election based on democratic principles.
Yasir Arman, Secretary-General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and SRF Foreign Relations Officer told Radio Dabanga from Addis Ababa that the opposition forces hold the NCP responsible for foiling the meeting.
He said that upon the news of the NCP’s refusal to participate, the AUHIP had immediately cancelled the arrangements for the arrival of the other opposition leaders.
“SRF president, Malik Agar, and NUP’s National Dialogue consultant, Salah Manaa, had already arrived at the Ethiopian capital on Friday. They are in constant contact with the other leaders of the SRF and the NUP, headed by El Sadig El Mahdi,” Arman stated.
“Members of the AUHIP team presented us the proposed subjects of a meeting with the chairman, Thabo Mbeki, immediately upon his arrival.
“We also contacted a number of regional and international stakeholders, telling them that the Sudanese ruling party is thwarting all attempts to reach a comprehensive solution for the crises in the country. We met with the US envoy and members of the German delegation, who had arrived already, and emphasised to them that the allied opposition forces keep to their standpoint regarding the start of a preparatory National Dialogue meeting before the holding of any election.”
The rebel leader further stressed that the Sudan Appeal forces “all expressed their commitment to the alternative set out in the Berlin Declaration”, signed in the German capital on 27 February, “which is a popular uprising, in order to build a democratic Sudan, based on equal citizenship.”
After the necessary consultations, the opposition will issue a statement to the Sudanese people in this regard, he added.
‘Clear AUHIP statement expected’
Dr Maryam El Sadig, Co-Vice-President of the NUP, told Radio Dabanga from Omdurman that the NCP’s refusal to attend the AUHIP meeting “again proves the ruling party’s lack of seriousness concerning the dialogue, which was proposed by the President himself early last year”.
The NUP leader said that the NCP decision not to participate in the pre-dialogue meeting “was expected, as they only wanted to buy time to hold the election in April, to legitimise the NCP’s extension of its dictatorship, and to cover the indictments of Al Bashir by the International Criminal Court.”
She added that the opposition expects a “clear and straight-forward statement” from the AUHIP team on the NCP refusal.
The Sudan Appeal, a political communiqué calling for regime-change, was signed by the SRF, NUP, NCF, and the Civil Society Initiative (CSI) in the Ethiopian capital on 3 December last year. In the two-page document, the allied opposition forces call for the ending of the civil wars in the country, the dismantling of the one-party system, and the rebuilding of Sudan based on democratic principles and equal citizenship.
The signatories agreed that if a peaceful regime-change cannot be achieved by a broad national dialogue, it should be enforced by an intifada.
NCF leader Faroug Abu Eisa, and CSI chairman Dr Amin Mekki Madani were detained by security officers in Khartoum, a day after their return from Addis Ababa. They are currently tried for charges of instigating violence against the state and violating the Constitution.
During the last week of February, the Sudan Appeal signatories met in the German capital, where they agreed on a joint position paper that became known as the Berlin Declaration, on the contents, place and time of a preparatory National Dialogue meeting that, they stressed, should be facilitated by the AUHIP.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga on 11 March, Arman said that “in the event Al Bashir elects himself in the April election, we will take the necessary steps to declare him an illegitimate and non-recognised president, with the support of the international and African communities”.
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