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Sudan Call urges opposition unity, renews commitment to African roadmap

Sudan Call leaders sign the Roadmap Agreement paving the way for talks with the government on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access on 8 August 2016 (ST Photo)
March 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Leaders of the opposition umbrella “Sudan Call” have called for the unity of opposition forces stressing commitment to the African roadmap for peace and security in Sudan.

On Thursday evening, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) organised a celebration on the occasion of the release of armed movements’ prisoners. The event was addressed by several Sudan Call leaders inside Sudan and abroad.

On 8 March, the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir pardoned 259 prisoners from Darfur armed groups.

In his address before the celebration, NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi pointed to unnamed organs casting doubts on the unity of the Sudan Call and spreading rumours that some coalition parties could sign bilateral agreements with the regime.

He stressed that Sudan Call forces are united and there is “no room for bilateral solutions”, saying actions of the alliance are not taken arbitrarily but according to an agreed upon plan.

Al-Mahdi said the Sudan Call would either achieve peace and stability through the Roadmap Agreement or the popular uprising, pointing they would adopt what he described as “soft attack” by mobilising the masses and gaining international support to achieve their goals.

He described policies implemented by the regime as “harmful and failed”, saying it is destroying the country and giving no hope for a bright future.

For his part, leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) Minni Minnawi, called on the opposition forces to apply internal democratic reforms in order to become a “true national opposition”.

He urged the opposition forces to put further pressure on the regime to achieve peace, saying the calls to lay down arms is nothing but an attempt to “strip the oppressed of his weapon” which could lead to ominous consequences.

Minnawi added the release of his movement prisoners was the first step of its kind since 15 years, pointing the government had executed some prisoners.

“These crimes are not time-barred and won’t be covered up by the release of prisoners,” he said.

The leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim, for his part, said they support a comprehensive and just peace that reinstates the rights and removes the injustice.

He underscored commitment to the African Roadmap, saying they seek to implement it without delay.

“We will continue to adhere to all options and on top of them is the popular uprising until the regime abandons its security solutions,” he said.

Ibrahim further demanded the opposition forces to overcome the narrow organisational differences in order to achieve the “structural change project”.

The government and Sudan Call signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.

However, the parties failed to sign a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian agreements that are seen crucial before to move forward in the roadmap implementation process.

Last January, al-Mahdi called on the United Nations to pass a resolution requiring the Sudanese government to implement the confidence-building measures included in the Roadmap.

The Sudan Call, which was established in Addis Ababa on 3 December 2014, includes the NUP and rebel umbrella of Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), and the Civil Society Initiative (CSI).

Sudan Call internal groups include the Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP), Sudanese Baath Party (SBP), Center Alliance Party (CAP), Sudanese National Party (SNP) and Sudanese National Alliance (SNA).

(ST)