Sudan mulls invitation to consultative meeting with some opposition groups
February 21, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government is considering whether to attend a “strategic consultative meeting” that seeks to end war and achieve democratic reforms in Sudan with some opposition and armed forces next month, said the government spokesperson.
Several days ago, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) and the Sudanese ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said that the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) had extended an invitation for a meeting to discuss issue of peace and constitutional reforms in Addis Ababa between 16 to 18 March.
In statement to the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) Sunday, Information minister and government spokesperson Ahmed al-Balal Osman said that his government had received the invitation and is studying the matter before to take a decision .
Osman further said it is agreed that the “government will participate if the meeting was about (peace) negotiations but if it is for the national dialogue, the 7+7 mechanism will take part in it, stressing” that the government’s position and its agenda for the negotiations remain unchanged.
On Wednesday, the NCP had issued a statement welcoming the invitation but withdrew it several hours later. Sources said, the statement had not been approved by presidential aide and government chief negotiator Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid who is also the NCP deputy chairman.
Hamid in a press conference Thursday referred to the SPLM-N’s statement about the meeting saying the armed group is not willing to discuss peace. The rebel group had called to mobilize the Sudanese street to bring the government to accept a comprehensive and inclusive peace.
In October 2015 President Omer al-Bashir who is also the chairman of the dialogue committee directed the 7+7 committee to meet with the signatories of Addis Ababa agreement on the national dialogue on 5 September 2014.
Sudan Tribune has learnt that the invitation was extended to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), National Umma Party (NUP) and Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM).
The three forces didn’t yet issue a formal decision on their participation but they are discussing some points about the nature of the meeting and its purpose with the mediation.
The NUP which is a political opposition party does not see why to be involved in discussions about security arrangements. Also some rebel groups want their political partners being involved in the meeting.