- Opposition Umma Party leader and former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al Mahdi speaks during joint news conference with Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (R) after their meeting at Mahadi’s house in Omdurman August 27, 2013 (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
In a speech by telephone to his supporters in Khartoum on the occasion of Eid al-Adha celebration, al-Mahdi welcomed the two-month ceasefire announced by the President Omer Hassan al-Bashir and called him to accept an inclusive process involving the parties, armed movements and civil society groups.
He said the Sudanese regime wants a “fragmented dialogue” and rejected this approach. “The 7+7 (dialogue coordination) committee for political parties, Doha for (peace talks with) the armed Darfurian groups and (UN) resolution 2046 for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N),” he added.
“In this way the regime declared itself the mayor of dialogue to conclude bilateral agreements allowing to maintain it. This approach is not acceptable, and the regime is isolated nationally, regionally, and internationally,” he further said from Cairo where he resides since August 2014.
After the government refusal to participate in the national dialogue preparatory meeting last April, the Sudanese opposition groups call to abandon the “two tracks one process” approach proposed by African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and to opt for a new political process chaired by the former South African president who will be invested with more powers.
The AUPSC turned a deaf ear to their demand and in a decision endorsed last August only reiterated calls on the Sudanese government to commit itself to the pre-dialogue meeting. But, Khartoum rejected once again this request, saying it was ready to meet rebel groups to only discuss guarantees of their participation in the internal process.
The former prime minister who was overthrown by al-Bashir in a 1989 military coup, stressed that he believes in the national dialogue to bring out the country from its crises and underlined that his party remains a strong political force in the country.
Addressing a direct message to the Sudanese president who is also the chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), al-Mahdi said the NUP party “still has the largest moral, popular and political weight in Sudan”.
“And you are leading a dismantled party, those who abandoned it are more that those who remain there,” he said. “The last April general elections have proven the popular rejection of the regime, while the position of the AUPSC, the 62 resolutions of the UN Security Council and the arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirm the regional and international isolation of the regime” he stressed.
The opposition groups say the dialogue should be chaired by a neutral body not President Omer al-Bashir. They also say there is a need for an atmosphere of freedoms, to stop the war and allow humanitarian access to the civilians in the rebel held areas.