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Al-Bashir warns Sudan’s political opposition against alliance with armed groups

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Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir (AFP Photo/ASHRAF SHAZLY)
March 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir alluded to legal action against the political parties affiliated with the "Sudan Call" alliance for breaching the laws governing political action which prohibit alliance with rebels bearing arms against the state.

The threat comes after al-Mahdi participation in a meeting of the Sudan Call alliance in Paris where he was elected as the chairperson of the opposition umbrella which includes armed groups in Darfur and Sudan’s Two Areas.

Al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last elected prime minister, and leader of the largest opposition party, National Umma Party (NUP), had been in arrested in May 2015 for one month as he was accused of undermining the constitution after criticizing violent practices by security forces in Darfur.

In an interview with the Al-Sudani newspaper published on Thursday, Bashir slammed the Sudan Call saying it is not a viable alliance. He added that similar experience had failed in the past and "this new alliance will have the same fate".

"The government completely refuses the participation of any political party authorized to work inside the country in an alliance with an armed faction. This is not allowed by the law, it is not possible to combine military activity and political action," he said.

"So we repeat what we said earlier that the law applies to any party enters into an alliance with groups carrying arms," he further stressed.

At the end of their meeting in Paris, the opposition groups stated clearly they have opted for a negotiated settlement to achieve political change in Sudan. This statement triggered the rejection of the outcome of the meeting in the social media by some activists.

In 2014, al-Bashir had warned the opposition parties against any rapprochement with the rebel alliance Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), saying it is "a red line". At the time, he was reacting to al-Mahdi pledge to coordinate with the rebels in order to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan.

"Whoever wants to deal or sign agreements with the rebels has to know that the SRF has some areas in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile, states Darfur, Israel and Kampala. We will not accept that some speak (with them) in Khartoum and our sons are fighting and dying in South Kordofan," he said.

Al-Mahdi, since last February, is residing in Cairo.

It is not clear when he would return to Sudan, as he has to meet soon with the African Union mediation soon to discuss a peace roadmap agreement signed in August 2016.

(ST)

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