14 January 2013

Sudan Accuse U.S. and EU of Standing Behind 'New Dawn' Charter

Photo: Ammar Abd Rabbo/IRIN
The charter aims to topple the government of president Omar Al-Bashir (file photo).

Khartoum — The Sudanese presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie accused both the United States and the European Union (EU) of providing the funding and support to the "New Dawn" charter signed by opposition parties this month in Uganda.

The accord endorsed by most major Sudanese opposition parties along with rebel groups fighting Khartoum in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile calls for toppling the government dominated by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

But later some of the opposition parties including the National Umma Party (NUP), Popular Congress Party (PCP) and Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) appeared to have distanced themselves from the agreement.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir threatened last week that opposition parties that are signatories to the charter could face a political ban.

At a press conference alongside presidency state minister Amin Hassan Omer, presidential assistant Nafie condemned the armed movements which formed the umbrella coalition known as Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

Nafie said that these groups are out to change the identity of Sudan describing them as agents to foreign powers. He also claimed that SRF plotted to assassinate political figures in Khartoum.

In fiery remarks Nafie pointed fingers at the U.S. embassy in Kampala and EU of sponsoring the charter in an attempt to control Sudan, obscure its identity and turn it into a secular state that is governed by people from the marginalized areas.

"This charter is the first document put out to be signed by people from all over Sudan that calls for changing the identity of Sudan and its direction to where no one knows [to where] except [Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) Secretary General Yasser] Arman," Nafie said.

He described the opposition parties as "weak, frail and agents [to the West]" as it agreed to be led by SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar.

Nafie also asserted that SCP was the main driver behind the charter and that they sought to bring along the larger opposition parties with it to give it political cover. He called on these parties to state its clear position on the charter away from "shy" statements.

"These parties came under direct pressure from Arman because the U.S. Embassy told them that not signing the document will [mean] suspending [Washington's] support" the Sudanese official said.

He also said that the call for the establishment of a federal system is a step towards having South Kordofan and the Blue Nile States annexed by South Sudan. Nafie went on to say that dismantling the military institution to have it replaced it by SRF.

Nafie urged opposition parties to join the constitution drafting process but expressed skepticism that they will do so as they are only interested in overthrowing the regime.

Some opposition parties later expressed reservations on the charter clauses relating to relation of religion and the state, the means by which the regime can be changed and issue of transitional period. Others suggested that they were rushed into signing it.

But many observers say that the almost immediate reneging on the part of some "New Dawn" signatories highlights the inherent weakness in the Sudanese opposition.

Mubarak al-Fadil who in 2011 disbanded his party and rejoined the NUP said in a statement last week that the provisions included in the 'New Dawn' were negotiated and agreed to by the participants.

"I say to the leaders of the parties whose representatives stamped this document with the authorization, consent and full coordination that this document is open for improvement [in line] with resolution of the closing meeting," he said in a statement titled 'The Final Opportunity Document, Background and Secrets'.

"So do not waste time and use these minutiae details to escape from the national responsibility. Our people are dying in the thousands every day and our country is burning and disintegrating not only through the civil war but by Ingaz policies that have brought poverty, hunger and disease," he added.

"You [opposition leaders] should seize this last chance and be in front of the ranks to lead the popular revolution to overthrow the regime or step aside to give way to those who are capable the of leadership and sacrifice as there is no struggle without sacrifice," Al-Fadil wrote.

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