Sudan: Bashir Agrees to Form a Transitional Government, Says Opposition Official

Khartoum — An opposition party revealed that president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir agreed to form a transitional government to implement a national political program saying it must not last for more than two years.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has called on political parties to participate in national dialogue aimed at stimulating a reform plan announced earlier this year (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudan's opposition Popular Congress Party's (PCP) secretary of foreign relations, Bashir Adam Rahma said, in an interview with the Qatari Al-Watan newspaper on Sunday, that Bashir accepted this transitional government which will administrate the country during the national dialogue process.

Rahma said the recent political roundtable meeting Bashir organised with political forces was meant to discuss formation of the Higher Commission for the National Dialogue (HCND) which will manage the process.

However several political forces brought up the issue of the transitional government although it was not part of the meeting's agenda, he underscored.

"The transitional government will be discussed when presenting the paper regarding the interim period. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) agreed to form a transitional government after it is being approved by the dialogue's general conference".

The PCP official added the transitional government would last for a maximum of two years, noting it would adopt a program to stop the war, address the issue of refugee return, and reform the civil service and foreign relations.

The interim government will hold the general elections and form a constituent assembly to draft the constitution and prepare the country for a new democratic era, the said in order to explain what was outlined in the meeting.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, held a political roundtable in Khartoum with the participation of 83 political parties. The move came within the framework of a call he made last January for a comprehensive national dialogue.

The opposition official was keen to explain that besides the HCND, there will be different commissions to prepare draft papers but only the General Conference will approve it.

The HCND, which is headed by president Omer Al-Bashir, is composed of 14 members 7 from the opposition and 7 representing the government parties. Its membership would be increased to 21 if the other opposition parties and rebel groups join the process.

Rahma further said the political parties which took part in the meeting agreed to Bashir's chairing of the higher commission, indicating that the general conference can be rotated between the political forces participation in the process.

"It is preferable that Bashir chairs the higher commission (HCND) in order to be legally bound to implement the outcome of the dialogue because he is the person who controls power and the state," he added.

The PCP official said differences which may arise among political parties will be referred to an expert committee comprised of neutral and independent persons.

He said they received information that Bashir and several senior government officials believe that dialogue is the only option for solving Sudan's problems, pointing that "angry" factions within the NCP stand against dialogue and democratic transformation.

Rahma didn't rule out that rebel groups could agree to take part in the dialogue inside Sudan if the government takes several measures including creating an environment conducive for dialogue, declaring ceasefire, issuing general amnesty for convicts, and allowing humanitarian aid to affected population in the war areas.

He added such measures must be guaranteed by the African Union (AU) and the international community, saying they received positive signals that the European Union (EU), AU, and the United States will support the comprehensive national dialogue.

"We don't want foreign intervention during the deliberations but we will invite them to monitor and facilitate the dialogue process," he added.

Rahma predicted that dialogue will form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) similar to that of South Africa and Morocco, saying we need to agree on those sensitive issues.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) refused to engage in the national dialogue, saying the government didn't respond to its conditions.

The NCF wants the NCP-dominated government to declare a comprehensive ceasefire in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In addition it has called for the issuing of a general amnesty, allowing public freedoms and the release of all political detainees.

The two major opposition forces, National Umma Party (NUP) led by Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan Al-Turabi, however have so far accepted to take part in the national dialogue process.

The rebel alliance of the Susan Revolutionary Forces (SRF), also rejected Bashir's call for dialogue and demanded the government to hold direct talks with them to negotiate a cessation of hostilities and open humanitarian access to civilians in the rebel areas.

The SRF also says that a conference attended by all political forces should be held outside Sudan and brokered by the United Nations (UN) and the AU in order to agree on the national dialogue mechanisms.

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