Sudanese govt. 'willing to meet rebels in Addis Ababa'
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ibrahim Ghandour has confirmed that the Sudanese government is prepared to meet the armed movements in the capital of Ethiopia under the auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).
The Sudanese government received an invitation from the AU mediation team for resumption of the peace negotiations on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile on 2 November.
Ghandour said in a press statement on Tuesday that he will discuss the meeting with AUHIP chairman Thabo Mbeki in the coming days.
Last December, the AUHIP suspended a renewed round of peace talks between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) for an indefinite period of time. The negotiations reached a deadlock as the rebels adhered to a comprehensive peace agreement for the entire country, that would lead to democratic transformation, while the government insisted on restricting the talks to a cessation of hostilities and the security arrangements.
Early this year, the allied opposition forces proposed a meeting with the Sudanese government, to be held abroad, preferably in Addis Ababa, brokered by the AUHIP, to prepare for a broad constitutional national dialogue, in which the armed conflicts in Sudan would be discussed too in order to reach a comprehensive solution for the country's crises. The AUHIP invited Khartoum to participate in such a meeting planned for 29 March, but the government delegation declined to attend at the last moment.
Members of the National Dialogue's '7+7' Steering Committee have expressed their willingness to meet the rebel movements abroad for a meeting about how to arrange for their participation in the process.
Dr Safwat Fanous, professor of political science at the University of Khartoum, told Sudan News Agency (Suna) on Tuesday that the absence ofmost of the opposition forces from the National Dialogue will affect the outcomes of the Committees' discussions.
Fanous called the Steering Committee's willingness to attend a preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa with the armed movements a positive step. According to the scholar, it confirms that “the 7+7 mechanism desires a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue as much as possible”. He hoped that the Steering Committee will be able to persuade the rebel leaders to join the National Dialogue in Khartoum “in order to reach solutions for all the country’s problems”.
The committees of the National Dialogue, launched in Khartoum on 10 October and boycotted by most of the opposition forces, started meeting to discuss the relevant subjects in Khartoum.
The pro-government Sudan Vision Daily reported on Monday that all members of the Dialogue Committee of Freedoms and Basic Rights agreed “after a heated discussion” that the “freedoms-restricting-laws” as well as the other laws should be amended. The committee's chairman, Dr Ali Shumo, said that each party will be given the opportunity to present a paper on the intended amendments.
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