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Two Sudanese Opposition Parties Seek Peaceful Change in Sudan

  • James Butty

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during joint news conference with opposition Umma Party leader and former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al Mahadi (L) after their meeting at Mahadi's house in Omdurman, August 2013.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir speaks during joint news conference with opposition Umma Party leader and former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al Mahadi (L) after their meeting at Mahadi's house in Omdurman, August 2013.

Two Sudanese opposition parties have decided to combine their efforts for what they call “the liquidation of [an] one-party regime, and the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and full democratic transformation” in Sudan.

Following a two-day meeting in Cairo ending Saturday, the leaders of the National Uma Party and the National Consensus Forces said they will achieve their aim either through “productive dialogue or a peaceful popular uprising.”

Last month, President Omar al-Bashir threatened to arrest Uma Party leader Sadig al-Mahdi upon his return to Sudan if he did not renounce the Paris Declaration signed between the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF) and the Uma Party, which calls for a radical political change in Sudan.

Mariam al-Sadig al-Mahdi, daughter of the opposition leader, and the first woman vice president of the Uma Party, said the opposition wants to change the current government and its policies.

“The opposition groups have been working diligently to unify their different groups because we believe now we should all come together to change the current situation in Sudan in a radical way – change that addresses the way of ruling from totalitarian to real democracy, and from failing state to a successful state that does not pose a threat to its neighbors and to the international community,” she said.

She also said the opposition wants a government that respects the human rights of all Sudanese. Bashir has been promoting a “national dialogue” recently to build what he calls an “inclusive” society.

The National Uma Party suspended its participation in May this year, while the National Consensus Forces refused to join the process. Mariam said the dialogue is not comprehensive and it has been associated with war not peace.

“The dialogue that has been called for by the ruling party, the NCP (National Congress Party), we call the leap dialogue, not the national dialogue. And this leap dialogue has leapt and already broken its neck because this dialogue has not been comprehensive; it has not been associated with peace. Actually, it has been associated with [a] massive assault toward the civilians in different parts of Sudan, and by pledges that there is no way except to end the rebels through force,” Mariam said.

She said the opposition recognizes the Paris Declaration to bring about genuine dialogue and change in Sudan.

“We are fully committed to the dialogue that has been started by the Addis Ababa Agreement under the sponsorship of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The dialogue under the sponsorship of the ruling party has exposed itself as mere talk,” she said.

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