18 February 2013

Sudan: Opposition Leader Explains Why He Is Against Use of Arms to Topple Bashir's Regime

Khartoum — The leader of the main opposition party in Sudan, Sadiq Al-Mahdi said the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) is crumbling but he warned however against calls to topple it by the use of arms.

Sadiq Al-Mahdi, leader of the Umma National Party (UNP) calls to hold a national political conference to settle the ongoing conflicts and to set the basis of a democratic regime. Following what, he suggests to establish an all-party parliament to prepare a new constitution and to form an interim cabinet.

Speaking to the press on Monday Mahdi explained why the opposition political parties disagree with the rebel groups on use of violence to bring down the regime of Omer Al-Bashir.

"Any attempt to change the regime (coup d'état or revolutionary) would give the government, if it fails, a new incentive to speak about defence of the nation, its interests and rights", he said.

He went further to say "if it (the change) succeeds , the other forces (who did not took part in the armed attempt) will be excluded", stressing that historically all those who achieved regime change through force or a coup had never associated others with them.

The UNP and other opposition parties inside the country engaged a dialogue with the rebel groups members of the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF) in order to set out a programme for the future of the country and to end the ongoing armed conflicts.

However, the opposition dismissed a document released from the Ugandan capital Kampala on 5 January "New Dawn Charter" because it calls to use arms to topple the regime and to establish a secular state in Sudan.

The opposition said the charter is a "draft agreement" and called for more talks with the rebels on the other side who formed a committee to dialogue with the political parties and to convince more political and civil society groups to join the deal.

Al-Mahdi criticised SRF forces saying they committed faults in the Kampala agreement and thus gave the regime a strong boost, but the latter has not benefited much from it, given the awareness of the political forces, he added.

Nonetheless, the opposition leader vowed to keep discussions with the armed groups to end the war and reach peaceful settlement. He further rejected the government threats against the political parties if they do not stop their dialogue with the rebels.

The UNP leader urged, on the other hand, to reform the structure of the opposition "National Consensus Forces", to review its programmes and to elect a new "neutral leadership", as he said.

He underlined that its name "National Consensus" does not reflect the reality of the opposition coalition.

The opposition forces that all say opposed to the use of arms to topple the regime, disagree on the separation between religion and politics after the fall of the regime, they also diverge on the dialogue with the regime and other issues.

Al-Mahdi who returned from White Nile state on the border with South Sudan also said he plans to launch an initiative to settle the disputes with the new southern neighbour and accused the ruling NCP of seeking to take advantage from the current crisis with Juba and to mobilise popular support.

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