The speech by President Al Bashir on Saturday has been received with mixed feelings by the Sudanese opposition forces and the Darfuri displaced.
In his address to the general convention of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum on Saturday, Al Bashir said that the general elections will take place as scheduled, in April 2015, and hinted at the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle before the elections.
Concerning the planned peace negotiations in Addis Ababa in October, under auspices of the AU High-Level implementation Panel (AUHIP), Al Bashir rejected the presence of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of the main rebel movements), saying that the Darfur rebel movements should join the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, being the “only Darfur peace platform”.
As for the peace talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) about the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, the president said that the protocol on the Two Areas in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement is still valid, and that the peace talks should be restricted to a renewed cessation of hostilities.
Hussein Abu El Sharati, the spokesman for the Association of Darfur Displaced and Refugees told Radio Dabanga that the contents of Al Bashir’s speech “are not of any value to us”.
“What is important is that the Sudanese share a unified vision about the future of the country.” Abu El Sharati therefore demanded from the Sudanese armed movements, the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), civil society organisations, and all Sudanese to unify their opinions, and prepare themselves well before entering into negotiations with the Sudanese government.
Farouk Abu Eisa, the chairman of the NCF described the speech of Al Bashir “a huge setback for the so-called national dialogue, and the mediation efforts by the African Union and the international community. Abu Eisa called on the members of the NCF to join the National Dialogue, and form a strong coalition in order to topple the Khartoum regime.
According to Osama Tawfig, member of the Reform Now Movement’s Political Bureau, considered al Bashir’s speech as destructive. “His words demolished the National Dialogue process, and the Addis Ababa principle’s agreement on the dialogue. The president robbed the opposition forces of their political rights.”
“The president’s address to the NCP convention on Saturday was frustrating and inappropriate.” Kamal Omar, Political Secretary of Hassan El Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP) commented to Radio Dabanga. He described the speech as “backward in addressing the reality”. Omar stressed that the PCP will not take part in any election, organised by the ruling NCP.
Columnist and political analyst Dr Khaled El Tijani stated that the president's speech was a surprise to the political scene in Sudan. “It was entirely different from what we expected. We thought he would announce practical steps on the basis of the Addis Ababa principles agreement on the National Dialogue.” El Tijani noted that Al Bashir’s remarks on the peace talks also contradict what has been agreed on with Thabo Mbeki, the chairman of the AUHIP team. “It seems that the Sudanese president is killing his own National Dialogue.”
File photo: Farouk Abu Eisa (The Niles)