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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan’s JPF chairman discusses return of NUP leader with presidential assistant

July 15, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of the Just Peace Forum (JPF), al-Tayeb Mustafa, on Wednesday said he discussed with the presidential assistant, Ibrahim Mahmoud, the return of the opposition National Umma Party’s leader, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, from his voluntary exile.

NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 November 2014 (ST)
NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 November 2014 (ST)
The NUP leader left the country in August 2014 after a month in jail over remarks he made against the government militia known as the Rapid Support Force (RSF).

Since then he has remained abroad based in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The Sudanese president vowed to arrest him after the signing of Paris Declaration with the Sudanese rebel groups in Paris on 8 August 2014.

Mustafa, who heads the dialogue committee tasked with contacting political parties refusing to join the government-led national dialogue process, met on Wednesday with Mahmoud at the presidential palace.

He said the meeting discussed several issues pertaining to the national dialogue including the roadmap approved by the dialogue coordination body known as 7+7, the Addis Ababa agreement signed with the Paris Declaration forces and the need to engage the opposition forces in the dialogue.

Mustafa told the official news agency SUNA that the meeting also discussed efforts made by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to create a conducive climate for holding the dialogue within the framework of the agreements approved by the 7+7 committee.

He pointed out that the presidential assistant promised to consider the demands of the political parties which refused to join the dialogue in order to allow them participate in the process.

The JPF chairman added the meeting discusses the return of the NUP leader to the country, saying the presidential assistant emphasized that al-Mahdi is welcome to return to the country at anytime.

He further said that Mahmoud pointed to ongoing government contacts with the NUP regarding the return of al-Mahdi.

Bashir launched the national dialogue initiative in January 2014 in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues related to peace and constitutional reforms.

But the initiative faced serious setbacks after the government refusal to create suitable atmosphere by releasing political prisoners, ensuring freedoms, and postponement of elections.

The NUP, which was part of the internal process, withdrew from the process in protest of al-Mahdi’s arrest last May.

Recently al-Mahdi said he intends to gather opposition forces and civil society groups in a new coalition called Future Forces. The new formation will be committed to the “Sudan Call” declaration signed with the rebel umbrella Sudanese Revolutionary Forces and the left groups of the National Consensus Forces.