January 11, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese former Prime minister disclosed today that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) removed recommendations he made at the ‘People of Sudan’ initiative from the final draft.
The Umma party led by Sadiq al-Mahdi told the daily pro-government Akhbar Alyoum that the initiative has been “weakened” in its format despite prior understanding on resolving the Darfur crisis.
The ‘People of Sudan initiative’ was launched in October aimed primarily at setting out a national vision towards the end of the Darfur conflict where more than 300,000 people were killed since 2003.
The initiative came three months after the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested an arrest warrant for president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
The ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder.
Khartoum is hoping that the UN Security Council (UNSC) will freeze the ICC move if it shows seriousness in resolving the Darfur crisis through this initiative.
Al-Mahdi who took part in the ‘People of Sudan initiative’ said that he had confrontation with the former president Abdel-Rahman Siwar Al-Dahab, who is part of the committee, over the omitting his party’s recommendations.
Al-Dahab promised him to re-include his proposals but they never appeared in the final draft.
“There are dominant minds within the NCP that don’t want us to effectively take part. The initiative had three factions in it making it impossible to reach a consensus” Al-Mahdi said.
Furthermore the former prime minister said he supports the ICC but criticized the prosecutor for including the genocide crimes in his counts against Al-Bashir.
Al-Mahdi’s statements come a month after he acknowledged the failure of the “National Reconciliation Agreement” he signed with the NCP.
The Umma party chief has faced stiff opposition within his party for participating in the ‘People of Sudan initiative’ and signing the “National Reconciliation Agreement”.
Al-Mahdi was ousted as prime minister in a bloodless military coup in 1989 by Al-Bashir and has been one of the most outspoken critics of the government ever since. However lately he has taken a more favorable position towards the government saying the latter became more accepting of other political parties.