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Sudanese opposition parties differ over formation of new alliance

KHARTOUM, Apr 24, 2005 (Sudan Tribune) During a meeting held in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Friday 22 April, a sharp dispute broke out between the armed opposition factions of the Beja and Free Lions, Justice and Equality Movement, JEM, and the Sudan Liberation Movement on one hand and the leader of the Ummah Party reformist wing, Mubarak al-Fadl al-Mahdi on the other hand.

Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi

According to the independent Al-Khartoum daily newspaper, the reason for the dispute was the call by Mubarak on the armed factions to form an alternative wide-based opposition front to replace the National Democratic Alliance, (NDA). Mubarak al-Fadl left for Cairo immediately after the meeting.

The source pointed out that the armed factions affirmed their support for the NDA and its leadership and denounced Mubarak’s proposal as an insult to the NDA and his attempts to infiltrate it during his term in power. The source also pointed out the lack of trust between Mubarak and all political powers.

In the same regard, Al-Khartoum has learnt that during a seminar held yesterday evening in London, the leader of JEM, Khalil Ibrahim, said the reason for the movement not joining the NDA was not because of fundamental difference between the two, adding that he considered the NDA a good framework for encompassing all Sudanese political forces.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has sacked Mubarak al-Mahdi, one of his top aides on Thursday October 7, 2004. Al- Mahdi had been at odds with the powerful First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha over meetings with the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). "Al-Mahdi said the dealings with the SPLM were in his capacity as head of the Umma breakaway party.

Mubarak al-Mahdi, a former secretary general of the NDA from 1995 to 2000, broke away from the opposition alliance after difference with the SPLM.

Mubarak split with former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi’s opposition Umma party about two years ago. He is a cousin to Sadiq al-Mahdi, the last elected leader of Sudan.