Addis Ababa — Yesterday, the government delegation for the consultative meeting in Addis Ababa held talks with the African Union mediation team. This signals a kick-off for meetings called for by the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to revive the peace process in Sudan.
The roadmap was established in March 2016 by AUHIP head Thabo Mbeki. It lays the steps for accords to be agreed in order to begin negotiations on the armed conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, and on opposition parties to participate in the National Dialogue.
Meetings with the five parties about the roadmap were due to start at 10am today. The parties to the roadmap are the Sudanese government, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Dr Jibril Ibrahim, the Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), and the Sudan Call opposition alliance chaired by El Sadig El Mahdi.
The head of the government delegation, Dr Feisal Ibrahim, said in a press statement after the talks that "the issues of discussion will be confined to the agenda of the mechanism including the issue of the Constitution, elections, and creating the appropriate environment for this to happen."
A delegation from the SPLM-N faction headed by Malik Agar arrived in the Ethiopian capital as part of Sudan Call group to participate. Gen Ismail Gallab, SPLM-N-Agar's secretary-general, used his welcoming speech to encourage participants to take the opportunity to find ways to resolve the worsening national crisis throughout the day.
In his speech, he called on all sides at the Addis Ababa meeting to collaborate, stressing that "the issue of the two regions (South Kordofan and Blue Nile) and Sudan overall cannot be fully resolved unless done so within the framework of the National Dialogue."
He pointed out that the regime's authorisation of electoral law and amendments to the proposed constitution has "damaged the political process."
The SPLM-N faction of the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu has expressed a lack of interest in the outcome of the National Dialogue and the roadmap.
The secretary-general of the movement, Amar Daldoum, said in a statement that the SPLM-N is adhering to its stated position: "The roadmap has died and realities on the ground have transcended it."
He added that "the SPLM-N will not participate in the constitutional dialogue because the outputs of the National Dialogue have defined the features of this Constitution and the 2020 general election."
Daldoum expressed distrust and disrespect of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), a coalition of opposition parties including the National Umma Party, Popular Congress Party, and Sudanese Communist Party.
In addition, he said that "the ruling National Congress Party did not respect equally its partners in the dialogue," so sees little point in joining a discussion when "there is no space for negotiation".
Three possible scenarios
Jamal Idris, head of the Nasserist Party and leading member of the NCF, said that there are three possible political scenarios according to the actors in the arena at a press conference held by the NCF in Khartoum on Saturday afternoon. Either there will be an extension of Al Bashir's presidency, or the opposition movements and political forces will embrace dialogue with the government as a solution for a 'soft-landing process'. Or thirdly, the NCF believe that the crisis can only be resolved by bringing down the regime and dismantling it.
Regarding the role of the international community, Idris said that it must begin to act in line with the principles of democracy and human rights, instead of working on principles of interest and dealing closely with the Sudanese regime.
He pointed out that the Islamic Movement and the NCP have been empowered to a degree which protects them from being ousted and that Al Bashir has now entered the stage of absolute rule by an individual.
He said, "if the regime will not change with elections or dialogue then the only solution is a popular revolution that uproots the regime".
On the subject of the signing of a pre-negotiation agreement with the JEM and the SLM-MM, he pointed out that each of the signatories issued a contradictory statement, which shows the intentions of the regime, its seriousness in dialogue, and seeking to divide the issues without addressing the basic issues and root causes.