26 January 2013

Sudanese Opposition Leader Says 'New Dawn' Charter Full of Mistakes

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

Khartoum — The leader of the Umma National Party (UNP), Sadiq Al-Mahdi has reiterated his criticism to a political agreement agreed by the opposition and rebels earlier this month saying it is "full of mistakes".

Representatives of the forces of opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF), the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) signed the New Dawn charter in Kampala on 5 January, acknowledging toppling the regime through a combination of peaceful and armed struggle.

The UNP and Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi announced their reservations. The Umma calls for a comprehensive national process including the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the rebel groups besides the opposition parties, while the Islamist opposition party reiterated its commitment to an Islamic state in Sudan.

During a visit to the White Nile state last Friday, Al-Mahdi reaffirmed his opposition to the use of arms to topple the regime pointing out that his party calls for regime reform not regime change.

"We are not against the future of Sudan, and there is no room for the self-determination, but we are for a Sudan of equality in power and wealth (sharing)", further said the religious leader of Al-Ansar brotherhood, in his Friday sermon at the mosque of Al-Emarrabie town in the White Nile.

The opposition NCF parties including the UNP announced last week however they will continue to negotiate with the rebel groups on the political charter, stressing they aim to preserve Sudan's territorial integrity and to reach a consensus on national issues.

The ruling NCP and Sudanese government attacked the opposition parties for negotiating the charter with the rebel groups. Some officials threatened to ban them saying they encourage the use of arms to topple the regime.

The Sudanese officials further rejected the reservations the opposition announced describing it as "a tactical position".

Al-Mahdi stressed that his party will continue to dialogue with all the parties and warned that the government's stubbornness would lead to protests against the regime in the street.

The opposition leader underscored the good relations between the White Nile state and its neighbouring states in South Sudan. He warned that the state will be heavily affected in case of war between the two countries.

He called Khartoum and Juba to adopt new policies in resolving their problems, affirming Khartoum's inability to resolve the outstanding issues with the South, because of the many differences. He also pointed out to how foreign interventions have contributed to raising the dispute.

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