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Al-Mahdi praises Hamdok-Hilu agreement on religion and politics in Sudan

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Hamdok and al-Hilu shake hands after signing the Joint Agreement on the peace talks on 3 September 2020 (ST photo)September 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sadiq al-Mahdi leader of the National Umma Party Saturday praised the agreement signed by the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok with the leader of the SPLM-N Abdel Aziz al-Hilu on the relation between religion and the state.

Hamdok and Hilu on 3 September agreed to hold informal discussions between the two parties before the formal talks on the demand of al-Hilu to separate religion and politics.

"The mechanism agreed between Hamdok and al-Hilu is sound because it provided for holding informal workshops to discuss controversial issues," al-Mahdi said in a media forum on Saturday.

In the "preliminary agreement" which should be endorsed by the parties to the transitional period, Hamdok has accepted the SPLM-N request to include the issue of religion in the peace talks.

In statements to Sudan Tribune, Mohamed Youssef al-Mustafa in return said they abandoned their claim about the secular state but want only to discuss the relationship between religion and the state.

Al-Mahdi further said that the issue of religion and the state needs everyone’s confidence and warned that any step other than that will lead to sedition.

"It is good that the agreement provides to control it with workshops and mechanisms to include all the absentees so that the agreement is national," he said.

"Any impromptu talk about the relationship between religion and the state will lead to polarization and sedition," he stressed.

The Hamdok-Hilu agreement was welcome by the Sudanese Congress Party and the Democratic Unionist Party of Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo welcomed the joint agreement saying it "preserves national unity, equality of all Sudanese citizens and freedom of religion or belief".

(ST)

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