The consultation meeting between the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and leaders of the Sudanese armed and civil opposition started in Addis Ababa on Saturday.
AUHIP chairman Thabo Mbeki had invited a number of opposition leaders for a two-day meeting planned to commence on Friday to discuss discussing alternatives for a solution to Sudan's multiple crises.
The Sudanese government told Mbeki early this month that it adheres to its rejection of merging the peace talks on Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) with a broad national dialogue, to be held under the auspices of the AUHIP outside Sudan.
Yet, the invitation was marked by confusion. The National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties) and Sudanese civil society organisations, allied under the Civil Society Initiative did not receive the invitation.
“The start of the meeting was postponed with one day, also because travel requirements such as visas and flight reservations were not arranged in time,” Dr Jibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and co-vice-president of the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance told Radio Dabanga on Friday.
Prominent Sudanese civil society members sent an open letter to the AUHIP on Wednesday, in which they requested the “restructuring and strengthening of the Panel” and the addition of international partners to the mediation team, to address the humanitarian catastrophes in the country, and to support a process that leads the final and comprehensive solution to the multiple crises in Sudan.