18 July 2014

Sudan: Umma Party Calls to Increase Opposition Representation in Dialogue Mechanism

Khartoum — The secretary-general of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sarah Nugd Allah, on Friday called to increase the representation of the opposition parties and civil society groups in the mechanism of the national dialogue.

The call comes as the leader of the largest opposition party, Sadiq al-Mahdi, last week, set two conditions to resume its participation in the mechanism.

Mahdi proposed to limit the participation in the mechanism to the six historical parties in Sudan and to agree on a neutral personality to chair it instead of president Omer al-Bashir. Further, he said the peace talks with the rebels should involve the opposition forces participating in the dialogue.

In a talk show at the official Radio Omdurman, Nugd-Allah disclosed that her party proposed to increase the representation of the opposition from 7 to 10 members in order to include civil society groups stressing that the government parties should keep its 7 seats.

"7 members are sufficient to represent the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the parties participating in the federal government," she said.

The current quorum of the national dialogue mechanism is 7 members for the government and an equal number from the opposition. This body, which is chaired by president Bashir, is supposed to coordinate the activities of different committees set to prepare proposals on the agreed agenda.

Nugd-Allah reiterate that the NUP believes that a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue can only bring peace and achieve democratic transition in Sudan.

She further said that there are 3 steps implement this holistic approach. First, to engage in a dialogue among the opposition parties to come out with one position paper on all the national issues, secondly to hold a preparatory conference including, the government, the opposition and the rebel groups, thirdly to organise an inclusive constitutional conference.

The Reform Now Party (RNP), led by the former presidential adviser, Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Atabani, last week decided to resume its participation in the dialogue mechanism after a short suspension to protest the detention of al-Mahdi.

Last Wednesday a leading member of the Alliance of People's Working Forces (APWF) Hashim Ahmad Abu al-Qasim , who represents his party in the mechanism of national dialogue unveiled that the NUP representative in the dialogue coordination body, Youssef Hassan, continues to participate in its meetings despite their decision to boycott it.

The NUP did not deny this information.

In a separate statement on Friday, Abu al-Qasim said the dialogue parties will hold a meeting next Monday to discuss a draft national charter before to hand it over to president al-Bashir.

He added this draft charter provides to conclude the dialogue process within 3 months time frame, and includes new proposals such as external relations, freedoms and justice, and the interim period.

He further stressed that the role of the international community should be limited to monitoring the process and providing assistance in a way to not affect it.

In a Ramadan breakfast organised this week for the foreign diplomatic missions in Khartoum, the NUP leader al-Mahdi urged the international community to continue to play a role in order to achieve peace in Sudan.

The former prime minister last week said international observers should participate in the peace talks with the rebel groups in a process brokered by the African Union.

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