Sudan's Opposition Alliance Sticks to Its Conditions for National Dialogue

Khartoum — Sudan's opposition umbrella organization National Consensus Forces (NCF) has called on the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to accept conditions set by the opposition for engaging in the national dialogue.

But the NCP stipulated setting a timetable with the agreement of the NCF to apply those conditions

The NCF rejected the ruling party's proposal for setting a timetable and maintained its position that the NCP must agree to its conditions prior to engaging the dialogue.

The NCF wants the NCP dominated government to declare a comprehensive one-month ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile besides issuing a general amnesty and allowing public freedoms and releasing all political detainees.

The NCF chairman, Farouq Abu Issa, disclosed in a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday that he met with the former vice president, Ali Osman Taha, last Friday, saying the latter told him that the NCP wishes to accelerate dialogue with the NCF.

Abu Issa underscored that he told Taha they are sticking to their position that the government should apply NCF's conditions prior to engaging in the dialogue.

He noted that Taha acknowledged relevance of the NCF conditions but said it has to be implemented through a timetable agreed upon between the NCP and the NCF, saying he affirmed to Taha the necessity of accepting conditions before engaging the dialogue.

Abu Issa said that Taha stressed that NCP's old guard are still active and influential, noting he is a member of a committee responsible for dialogue with the opposition comprised of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, 2nd Vice president, Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, and presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour.

Last December, Bashir removed what is viewed as the old guard in major government reshuffle.

The reshuffle saw the departure of Taha, as well as advisor to the president, Nafie Ali Nafie. Taha lost his post to the president's close confidante and minister of presidential affairs, General Bakri Hassan, while senior member of the NCP Ibrahim Ghandour was awarded the post of presidential assitant.

The NCF chairman further said he told Taha that they seek to engage in an open and transparent dialogue which leads to dismantling the regime and establishing a transitional national government that doesn't exclude any party, pointing that Taha considered NCF's conditions a move to weed out the NCP.

He noted they don't want to remove the NCP but seek to engage all political parties including the ruling party in the political process according to its real political weight, saying he informed Taha that he would convey his message to the NCF forces.

Abu Issa said he asked the former vice president to convey a message to president Bashir demanding him to declare a comprehensive ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile for one month.

"I told him that we are able to convince the rebel groups to take part in the dialogue", he said

Meanwhile, the NCF held the Sudanese government responsible for recent military escalation in Darfur which led to the death of dozens of people and displacement of thousands others, reiterating its call for the government to declare immediate ceasefire and open safe corridors to deliver assistance for the affected population.

It stressed the need for resolving Darfur crisis within the framework of the comprehensive solution warning that it jeopardizes Sudan's unity and sovereignty.

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