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Sudanese opposition parties brief EU on National Dialogue

February 9 - 2015 KHARTOUM
Members of the 7+7 National Dialogue mechanism, August 2014 (Ashorooq TV)
Members of the 7+7 National Dialogue mechanism, August 2014 (Ashorooq TV)

The Delegation of the European Union to Sudan reported that leaders of Sudanese opposition parties conveyed their concern about the challenges in the National Dialogue, and the continuing setback to political freedoms to Ambassador Tomas Ulicny, Head of the EU Delegation.

The leaders of the Reform Now Party, the Working People Forces Alliance, the Arab Nasserist Socialist Party, the Sudanese Democratic Solidarity Party, and the Eastern Sudan Democratic Forum, told Ambassador Ulicny that they are willing “to participate in a meaningful national dialogue based on the agreed 7+7 Roadmap of August and the Addis Ababa Agreement of 4 September 2014”.

They called for the establishment of a conducive environment, an agreement on the general elections within the national dialogue, and the release of all political detainees, the EU stated in a press release today.

The EU Ambassador recalled the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 20 October last year, saying that a “peaceful national dialogue is an all-Sudanese internal process that will benefit all the Sudanese if it succeeds”. 

“An inclusive, comprehensive and transparent national dialogue process should be accompanied by a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access to civilians in the conflict areas,” Ambassador Ulicny stressed.

Council conclusions on Sudan 

On 20 October 2014, the EU Foreign Ministers called on the Sudanese stakeholders to demonstrate the leadership needed to put Sudan on the path of peace, prosperity and justice.

“The EU supports current efforts to create a comprehensive platform for the facilitation of the National Dialogue that will integrate the different peace and dialogue processes for Sudan's regional conflicts,” the press version of the Council conclusions on Sudan reads.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council expressed its concern about the ongoing armed conflicts in the country, stating that there can be no military solution to conflicts in Sudan.

“A peaceful national dialogue is an all-Sudanese internal process that will benefit all the Sudanese if it succeeds.”

The EU therefore supports the African Union Peace and Security Council's repeated call for a holistic approach to Sudan's multiple challenges and the need to tackle comprehensively the political, economic and social causes of persisting conflict.

The Council considered the initiated National Dialogue process “currently the best opportunity to make progress towards this goal, and to pave the way towards internal peace, reconciliation and democratic governance”, and called on “all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change, and to seize this opportunity for a political solution to Sudan's challenges through dialogue and negotiation without delay”.

The EU therefore expressed its “full support to the work of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and commends its chairman President Mbeki on his recent efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue process on a broad basis” and urged “all international stakeholders to rally behind the AUHIP to reinforce its role and strengthen its voice”.

Freedoms

On 27 January 2014, President Omar Al Bashir called for a broad National Dialogue in a speech addressed to the Sudanese nation. In April, he issued a number of decrees allowing greater freedom for political parties and vowed to release all political detainees not implicated in criminal acts. Yet, in reality the political and press freedoms were increasingly curbed.

A committee was formed from seven pro-government and seven opposition parties who joined the National Dialogue, the so-called 7+7 mechanism. It presented a roadmap for the process in August. According to the roadmap, there will be a National Dialogue conference in which participants will strive to arrive at decisions by consensus. The AU and the Arab League will be allowed to observe the conference, which President Omar Al Bashir is expected to chair.

Sudan Vision Daily reported today that the opposition parties in the 7+7 mechanism decided to replace the members of the Reform Now Party, the Working People Forces Alliance, and the Arab Nasserist Socialist Party, after they had announced their boycotting of the upcoming elections. They will be replaced by members of the National Alliance party, the Darfur Forum Party, and the People’s National Party.


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