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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Sudan peace talks postponed on the request of the opposition alliance

KHARTOUM, Sep 28, 2004 (Al-Ray Al-Amm) — The Egyptian authorities have decided to postpone the talks between the Sudanese government and opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which were due to start today, Tuesday, following a request by the NDA.

According to an Egyptian mediator, the NDA has proposed either 6 or 16 October as new dates for the next round of the talks.

“We have been informed about the postponement,” was the reaction of Abd-al-Basit Sabradat, who is a member of the government negotiating team. However, the Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) quoted the vice-president of the Sudanese negotiating team as saying in Cairo: the talks will be postponed until the second week of October.

For his part, Secretary-General of the ruling party National Congress Ibrahim Ahmad Omar said that the government was informed about the NDA request for a postponement because not all its leadership were in Cairo by yesterday. Omar welcomed, however, Washington’s support for the Cairo talks, saying any support will only lead to a positive outcome.

But Maj-Gen Abdelrahman Saeed, one of the NDA leaders, said, however, that they were only informed about the government delegation’s initiative late last night and therefore could not complete their preparations to attend the second round of the talks.

NDA Vice-Chairman Farouq Abu-Eisa said the talks were postponed for procedural matters by the host country, and that he was expecting them to resume in the first week of October.

For his part, NDA Vice-Chairman Maj-Gen Abdelrahman Saeed attributed the postponement of the talks to problems with flights which prevented a number of the NDA from arriving on time ahead of the talks.

He told Al-Ray Al-Amm that the next round of the talks would deal with existing anti-freedom laws and future democratic reforms, as well as the drawing-up of a transitional period. He went on to say that the previous round of talks had helped in building trust between the two sides.

Meanwhile, there was a meeting between Leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement John Garang and the NDA in which he was briefed on the previous round of talks between the NDA and the government, and in which he briefed the NDA on his talks in Washington and the latest developments in the Naivasha talks.

It was expected that the government delegation, under the chairmanship of Dr Nafi Ali Nafi, minister of the Federal Administration, will be arriving in Cairo aboard a special aircraft. However, following information from an Egyptian mediator that the talks had been postponed either to 6 or 16 October, members of the delegation decided not fly over.