NUP’s Mahdi in Addis Ababa for talks on unity of Sudan’s opposition forces

Dr Mariam Almahdi Vice President of the National Umma Party
Dr Mariam Almahdi Vice President of the National Umma Party

November 29, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi arrived in Addis Ababa Saturday to participate in meeting between the opposition and rebel groups in Addis Ababa as the government renews calls for his return to Sudan.

Al-Mahdi and the NUP secretary general, Sara Nugdallah, were received this morning by a delegation representing the Sudanese Revolutionary Front including, Minni Minnawi. the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) deputy chairman, Tom Hajo.

 NUP vice-president Merriam al-Mahdi told Sudan Tribune that al-Mahdi who is based in Cairo since last August after the signing of the Paris Declaration would hold meetings with the opposition and rebel groups on the sidelines of the African Union brokered talks.

 Merriam al-Mahdi disclosed that “there is a significant progress in the ongoing dialogue between the national forces” present in the Ethiopian capital.

 All the opposition forces are unanimous that Sudan’s problem lies in the “continuation of sterile policies” of NCP regime, she further said.

 Meriam al-Mahdi who has been in Addis Ababa for since last week said that the signing of a political deal between the NCF, NUP and the SRF is imminent, as the parties are expected to engage in discussions after the arrival of Sadiq al-Mahdi.

 Many Sudanese political leading figures, including Farouk Abu Issa, leader of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) are present these days in the Ethiopian capital where the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) organises talks between the government and rebel groups to end the armed conflicts in South Kordofan, Blue Nile states and Darfur region.

 The NUP, SRF and the NCF are engaged since several months in a series of consultations aiming to develop Paris Declaration and to gather all the opposition groups on one political platform for peace and democracy in Sudan.

 Last October, NUP president Sadiq al-Mahdi and NCF leader Farouk Abu Issa issued a statement from Cairo saying they agreed to speed up efforts to unify the opposition forces in order to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and democratic transformation in Sudan.

 Last May, al-Mahdi was arrested after accusing the government militiamen of committing war crimes in Darfur. Following his release in June, he approved the party’s decisions to suspend its participation in the national dialogue and demanded involvement of rebels.

 In August 2014, he signed the Paris Declaration with the rebel groups. Accordingly, the SRF factions accepted to participate in the national dialogue, and demanded a comprehensive humanitarian cessation of hostilities, implementation of confidence building measures and postponement of elections.

 The Sudanese president, last October, said the deal between al-Mahdi and the SRF was “brokered by a Zionist mediator”.

 Previously Bashir warned that the NUP would face justice if he returned to Sudan.

 However on Thursday, the political secretary of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Mustafa Osman Ismail called on al-Mahdi to return to Sudan saying the government is ready to admit any wrongdoing against him if investigations prove he “wasn’t involved in conspiracy against Sudan”

 Ismail further said that the government is ready to recognise the Paris Declaration if it is reviewed, pointing that some of its “unjust” dispositions blame the government for the political violence in the country and ignore the actions of the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) particularly its attack on South Kordofan’s Abu Karshola in April 2013.

 The NCP political secretary, who is also tasked with the dialogue with NUP, further announced the readiness of the ruling party to postpone the elections, and the formation of a national unity government followed by the constitutional conference if al-Mahdi return to Sudan and participates in the national dialogue.

 Commenting on the NCP call for al-Mahdi to return to Sudan, Merriam al-Mahdi said that the political secretary of the ruling party had welcomed the Paris Declaration but she was personally jailed for four weeks without charges for participating in the meeting with the rebels in Paris.

 She further underlined the accusations that al-Bashir addressed against the leader of the party adding that the NCP leaders now realise the futility of their previous statements now they speak about his return and pledge to reconsider their claims and accusations.

 “What NCP political secretary is saying “is actually dangerous as far as amazing. Is this a deal (they propose) after they told him that he could not return to Sudan before to denounce Paris Declaration?” she said.

 The NUP deputy chairman deplored the “serious deterioration” in the behaviour of the NCP leadership, stressing that it reflects the disarray the ruling party is experiencing.

Sudan Tribune