August 10, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sadiq Al-Mahdi, leader of the opposition Uma National Party (UNP) warned against attempts to topple the Sudanese regime by military action, urging the rebel groups to resort to peaceful means for political change in the country.
- A Sudanese supporter of the main opposition Uma National Party holds its flag in Khartoum (file/AFP)
Al-Mahdi, called during the past months for a nonviolent action to bring political change in Sudan. He also publically criticised calls by rebel groups who formed an alliance to bring down the regime for armed struggle.
Instead he proposed to hold a national conference to settle the different conflicts in the country and to form a national government flaked with an appointed parliament encompassing representatives all the political forces to endorse a new democratic constitution.
Speaking to the press on Thursday evening at the UNP premises in Omduramn, Al-Mahdi stressed that resorting to violence and arms to overthrow the regime of President Omer Al-Bashir would lead to more divisions and internationalise the Sudanese issues.
He further asserted that his party does not intend to undertake military action against the government adding that the UNP is seeking to convince the rebel movements to adhere to its vision.
He said they accepted his proposals.
UNP leading member Miriam Al-Mahdi was in Kampala last week where she signed an agreement with the Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi over the need to establish a democratic regime in the country. It also reaffirms justice should be achieved for war crimes and calls to enhance bilateral relations with South Sudan.
Miriam during her visit encountered the leaders of different rebel groups there and took part in the celebration of 11th anniversary of SLM-Minni establishment, in order to hold a dialogue with these groups which were angered by UNP’s position against the armed struggle.
Mahdi said the continuation of the current conflicts would lead to acute polarisation, confrontation and tearing the country. "Attempting to overthrow the regime (by force) will lead to fragmentation and open the country for international intervention with big and dangerous surprises", he pointed out.
Sudan witnessed last June and July small student and youth protests against austerity measures the government adopted after the loss of oil revenue following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011.
Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels who say in their charter they will fight the regime everywhere and will attack it in Khartoum announced their support to the protests and vowed to protect it if the violence against protesters continues. The government, on the other hand, accused the rebels of being behind the demonstrations before to attack the capital.
Al-Ansar brotherhood, religious wing of the Uma party, defended on Friday its position to prevent protests from one of its mosques located in Wad Nubawi in Omdurman after the weekly prayer of Friday and called to observe its sanctity .
Also, Adam Ahmed Youssef, Imam of Wad Nubawi mosque, stressed in his Friday sermon that Al-Ansar have taken a stand against the recent events of Nyala, where the police killed eight protester.
He added that the southern boundary of White Nile state has been experiencing many attacks on farmers and herders leading some of them to leave the production areas, and called to provide security there.
Al-Mahdi in his remarks before the press, welcomed the oil deal between Khartoum and Juba reached on 3 August saying it represents a step forward; adding "oil should not have being an issue between the two government because it represents an interest for the people from both sides."
He accused the government of mishandling the negotiations with the South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement –North (SPLM-N) and urged to address the issue taking into account the national interests.
He also called to address the gaps of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement through new talks over the disputed issues. Al-Mahdi was refereeing to SPLM-N fighters issue, as Khartoum demands to disarm them before to hold political talks with the rebels, as at the same time demands Juba to withdraw them southward.
The former prime minister said Washington realised that there will be no stability in South Sudan without a stable Sudan. He however underlined that the some groups in the US Congress seek to sanction the Sudanese regime.
Earlier this month U.S. envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Princeton Lyman said he was opposed to military action to remove Bashir’s regime because it would lead to civil war and would not bring political change in the country.
His statements contrasted with calls by some lawmakers and advocacy groups to arm the Sudanese rebel groups and to enable them to overthrow Khartoum’s regime.