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Sudan Call forces withdraw from African roadmap and cancel peace talks

Sudan Call leaders pose at the end of a joint press conference in Paris on 20 March 2019 (ST photo)
March 20, 2019 (PARIS) - The Sudanese opposition alliance Sudan Call has decided to withdraw from the African Union Roadmap for a comprehensive settlement in the east African country and its armed groups stopped any peace talks with Khartoum.

The opposition alliance which is part of the Freedom and Change Declaration forces held a two-day meeting in the French capital to discuss the latest development in Sudan where the protests that erupted in December 2018 continue to occur calling on President Omer al-Bashir to step down.

Wednesday’s decision comes as government officials recently stated several times they are in contact with the opposition leaders particularly Sadiq al-Mahdi leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) and Omer al-Digair of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP). Also, last week they spoke about contacts with Gibril Ibrahim, leader of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"The Sudan Call forces have affirmed their rejection of all the initiatives for dialogue offered by the regime as they are deeply aware that the latter is seeking through these initiatives and slogans to divide the ranks of the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change and to buy time," read the statement.

The opposition repeated they will only accept to discuss with the regime on the procedure of al-Bashir’s stepping down and handover of power to the representatives of the people who will lead the transition period in the framework of the unified position of the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change.

"Therefore, the Sudan call forces signatory of the Roadmap in August 2016, Addis Ababa, decided to withdraw from the (Agreement) considering it as a document of the past and not binding on them," reads the statement which was read by Mariam al-Mahdi during a press conference held in Paris.

In the same vein, JEM and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) which had to resume peace talks with the government in Doha "decided to stop all forms of negotiations" with Khartoum.

They "stressed that the issues of ending the war and building peace occupy an advanced position in the priorities of the transitional period, and that the solutions to their root causes and their effects will be included in the charters of the forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change through clear and detailed formulas that link the cause of peace process with democracy and social justice," stressed the statement.

The JEM and SLM-MM had to meet the government last January but they declined to resume peace talks as the protests continue across the country.

Observers in Khartoum say these decisions will enhance the cohesion of the opposition forces as the issue of negotiations with the regime empoisoned the relations between the National Consensus Forces and the Sudan Call.