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Sudan downplays upcoming opposition meeting in Paris

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March 11, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has downplayed the upcoming meeting of the opposition groups in France saying the latter is only “revolving around itself”.

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Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed al-Balal Osman speaks during a press conference in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on June 9, 2013. ( Photo AFP/ASHRAF SHAZLY)

Sudanese political and armed opposition groups will hold a three-day meeting in Paris from 13 to 16 March to discuss a joint position on the African Union-mediated political process as the mediators plan to reshape a roadmap agreement signed by the parties in 2016.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) has quoted Sudan’s Information Minister and government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman as saying the opposition should make peace a strategic choice.

He added the doors of the government are open for whoever wants to join the peace process and the national dialogue, stressing the opposition would otherwise be “spinning around itself”.

Since 2014, the opposition groups used to meet in France to coordinate their positions over the African Union-led peace process. This time, however, Khartoum asked Paris to press the armed groups to join the peace process.

During the three-day meeting, the opposition groups have to formulate a joint position on a proposition by the mediation to review the roadmap deal of 2016.

In a related development, Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, the speaker of the National Assembly and the French Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann discussed ways to develop bilateral relations.

Following the meeting, the French diplomat told reporters that the meeting discussed, among others, the establishment of a Sudanese-French friendship association and announced a visit of a French delegation to Khartoum.

Earlier this week, Blatmann met with the First Vice President Bakri Hassan Saleh and State Minister For Foreign Affairs Hamid Mumtaz.

(ST)

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