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Opposition, rebel forces sign joint declaration for peace and democracy in Sudan

December 3, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - Sudanese political and armed opposition forces on Wednesday signed the “Sudan Call” for the end of war, dismantlement of the one-party state, achievement of a comprehensive peace and democratic transition in the country.

Sadiq al Mahdi, Farouk Abu Issa and Minni Minnawi join hands after the signing of the Sudan Call in Addis Ababa on 3 December 2014 (ST)

Announced from the Ethiopian capital where the government and rebel groups discuss ways to end the armed conflicts in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the agreement was signed by the head of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) Farouk Abu Issa, deputy chairman of the rebel Sudanese Alliance Forces (SRF) Minni Minnawi, leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al Mahdi and head of the Alliance of the Sudanese Civil Society Organisations Amin Maki Madani.

The deal is the first agreement gathering all the political, rebel and civil society forces in Sudan since the 30 June 1989 coup d’Etat of General al-Bashir. The political and military opposition failed in January 2013 to finalise a similar project called the New Dawn.

According to the Sudan Call, the signatories agreed to join their efforts to “dismantle the one-party state regime and to build a state of equal citizenship rights, through the daily mass struggle and the popular uprising.

The two-page agreement which avoided any reference to the armed struggle further stresses that the parties want to secure the rights of the Sudanese people for freedom from totalitarism, violence, and poverty, and to move towards a well-established democracy, a just peace and balanced development”.

Also, they committed themselves to end war and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace, including cessation of hostilities in Darfur and the Two Areas, to disband militias and to finalise the security arrangements.

The text which in many points reminds the ongoing negotiations between the government and rebel groups pledges to deal with the urgent humanitarian situation and reaffirms the specificity of the war affected regions.

The all opposition agreement includes the principles of the Paris Declaration and call for a genuine and comprehensive national dialogue and provides the need to implement a series of confidence building measures and to postpone the electoral process announced for next year.

They also endorse the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council n° 456 which call for one process with two tracks, to hold an all-parties preparatory conference befor the national dialogue and demands Khartoum to create a conducive environment before to engage in the internal process.

Recently the president Omer al-Bashir warned the opposition again against and deal with the rebel groups and vowed to prosecute the NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi for signing the Paris Declaration with the rebel alliance.

The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)’s brokered talks between the government and rebel groups are expected to resume on Thursday as the mediation adjourned the process due to the travel of the chief mediator to Germany.

The discussions on a framework agreement with the SPLM-N are stalled over the preparatory national conference and ways to link the tracks. While the talks with Darfur groups is deadlocked over the rebels’ demand to include four issues related to the region in the negotiations of the cessation of hostilities.

In a speech after the signing ceremony, al-Mahdi said they will hand over to the AUHIP mediators a memo including their position over the national dialogue. He also said the signatories will form a coordination body between them.

(ST)