Sudan’s ruling party welcomes Berlin Declaration
The National Congress Party (NCP) has formally welcomed the Berlin Declaration signed by the opposition forces in the German capital on 27 February.
After expressing its reservations last week, the Sudanese government issued a statement, saying that “after studying the document, the party’s political sector extends its thanks and appreciation to the German government. [..] The NCP stresses its firm stance on the national dialogue which includes everyone without exception in order to reach a consensus which supports security, stability, and peaceful exchange of power in Sudan.”
The ruling party stated that it “welcomes any meetings or understandings that would lead to everyone’s participation in the national dialogue, like the ones that took place before in Addis Ababa, as long as these meetings have set preconditions that are well prepared for.
“The roadmap approved by the National Dialogue’s General Assembly is the basis for any meetings or understandings aimed at getting all involved in the national dialogue, which has its basis in Sudan.”
The signatories of the Sudan Appeal, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (an alliance of the main rebel movements), the National Umma Party, the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), and the Civil Society Initiative, were invited by the German Foreign Ministry to attend a forum in Berlin, from 24 to 27 February to discuss their stances towards the National Dialogue, as proposed by President Omar Al Bashir in January last year. At the last day, they signed a joint position paper that became known as the Berlin Declaration.
The opposition leaders agreed that a “broad constitutional national dialogue” should be preceded by preparatory meetings with the ruling NCP, under the auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), chaired by former South Africa President, Thabo Mbeki.
They state their support of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) Communiqué of 12 September 2014, according to which a “holistic approach to the challenges facing Sudan” is required.
The preparatory National Dialogue meetings are to discuss the humanitarian crises in Sudan, the ending of the wars in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile, and the resolution of their root causes through the AUHIP formula of “one peace process with two tracks”, as well as the procedures for the National Dialogue process.
In order to create a “conducive environment for the dialogue”, the Sudanese government should postpone the April elections, release all political detainees, set up impartial investigations into the Tabit mass rape and the killing of protesters during the 2013 September demonstrations, abrogate laws restricting basic freedoms, abolish the recent constitutional amendments, and agree on a national transitional government.
After the conference, a senior delegation from the German Foreign Ministry travelled to Khartoum, to brief NCP officials on the outcome.
The NCP ruling party’s position seems to be a change of directions, compared with the reaction to the signing of the Sudan Appeal by the same opposition forces in Addis Ababa on 3 December.
Sudan Appeal signatories Faroug Abu Eisa, head of the NCF and Dr Amin Mekki Madani, chairman of the Civil Society Initiative, were detained by security officers, after their return to Khartoum. They are currently being tried by a special court set up according to the provision of the 2010 Sudanese Terrorism Act, on charges of undermining the constitutional order and instigating war against the state, offences that carry the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The leaders of the SRF, who were sentenced to death in absentia, by a special court in Sinja, eastern Sudan, in March last year, and El Sadig El Mahdi, head of the NUP, remain abroad.
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