October 26, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Several members of the 7 +7 national dialogue mechanism appeared unhappy after President Omer Hassan al-Bashir instructed them to prepare for meeting signatories of the Addis Ababa agreement signed in September 2014.
Bashir’s directive effectively means that the 7+7 would meet with the National Umma Party (NUP) of al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the rebel umbrella known as the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). These same parties are also the ones who sealed the Paris Declaration last year.
Up until last week, officials from the Sudanese government and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) were emphatically asserting that the dialogue mechanism will not sit with party abroad as long as they have representatives inside the country.
But opposition forces that are part of the 7+7 mechanism held reservations on the change of heart agreed for during a meeting in Johannesburg last week between foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki.
A member of the mechanism (7 +7) who spoke to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday on condition of anonymity described the move as “discriminatory” and of “preferential” nature .
“The government will go to Addis Ababa to meet with the rebels to agree on procedural matters only without opening the door for a new roadmap,” the member said.
The member warned that distinction between political parties in favor of al-Mahdi without the other signatories will make the dialogue lose its purpose. He emphasized that dialogue is based on universal participation and equality between the parties.
He stressed that the 7 +7 committee will not meet opposition parties outside Sudan, saying that the reasons that prevented them from participating in the dialogue no longer exist after allowing political freedoms.