Sudan will join AUHIP meeting 'only if Al Bashir is invited'
The Sudanese government will only participate in a consultative meeting with the main opposition forces in Addis Ababa on 16-18 March, if President Omar Al Bashir is invited as well.
In mid-February, the High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) invited the Sudanese government, the National Umma Party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and the Darfuri Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-AW) for a consultative strategic meeting in Addis Ababa on 16-18 March, in a bid to break the deadlocks between the warring parties.
Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told reporters in Khartoum that there is no need to start a new dialogue with those opposed to the current National Dialogue. He said that the Sudanese government would only accept the AUHIP invitation if Al Bashir would be invited as well, in his position as head of the Dialogue's 7+7 Coordination Committee.
Osman told the semi-official Sudanese Media Centre two weeks ago that the government would not participate in the AUHIP meeting. He warned not to confuse the National Dialogue and the bilateral peace negotiations between the government and the armed movements, and stressed that the National Dialogue deliberations include “all sectors”.
Last November, both the peace negotiations tracks between Khartoum and the JEM and SLM-MM on Darfur, and with the SPLM-N on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) reached a deadlock over the security arrangements and the provision of humanitarian aid.
The Sudanese government insists on tackling the armed conflicts in Darfur, and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) as two separate negotiation tracks. The political, social, financial, and economic crises are to be solved through a broad National Dialogue, proposed by President Al Bashir in January 2014 and launched in October 2015.
The rebels, however, are convinced that only a ‘holistic approach’ can solve the various wars and crises in the country, preferably by a peaceful regime change.
In February, the AUHIP opted for a broad consultative meeting after alternative informal sessions in Paris, Berlin, and Addis Ababa had failed as well.
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