بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Speech of Sayed Al- Sadig Al- Mahdi
Umma Party president
To the NDA Leadership Council Meeting
Asmara – Eritrea 10 March 2000
Friday 10th March 2000
Brothers, President and members of National Democratic Alliance, Leadership Council
Brothers, Secretary-General and members of The NDA inside the Sudan.
Brothers representatives of the Peoples Front for Democracy and justice
Gentlemen, representatives of the two states of the joint initiative, Egypt and Libya.
Gentlemen, representatives of IGAD and IGAD partners.
Gentlemen, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corp.
First I would like to express my warm welcome to this joint meeting of the two tributaries of the alliance to consult and exchange views on the Sudanese National Question, the reactivation of the NDA, the instrument of the Sudanese people for the realization of their legitimate aspirations. I believe our people had devised for each stage its appropriate tool. Before the June 1998 Coup, the different Sudanese, political, trade unionists and military forces had called for and concluded the defense of Democracy Charter. That Charter had been aborted by the coup perpetrators. The country had been suffering from civil war, and there had been an imminent peace project, which enjoyed the support of all parties of the conflict. Therefore, it was only natural that the forces of peace and democracy have to come together in a broad alliance against the totalitarian and Islamisist agenda imposed by the new regime on the country.
The struggle of the NDA has passed through three stages: –
- Stage one since the coup until 1995, which witnessed the persistence and confrontation of the regime, and the integration of the civil, confrontation, political struggle and armed resistance.
- The second stage, starting in 1995 which accomplished the unification of the armed resistance and enabled the formation of a broad National, regional, and international front, against the regime’s ideological and expansionist agenda. During the two first stages we were able to challenge the regime with an intellectual campaign, which defeated and laid bare its ideological allegations, and we conducted the political mobilization that led to its isolation on the popular level, and the diplomatic initiatives. The regime was then isolated regionally and internationally, and launched military campaigns that contained and exhausted it. Before these successes the regime backed from the political one-sidedness and military aggressions and tried to shift on to a new way of addressing others, and so it wrote for itself a constitution, and concluded peace agreement from within, borrowing some of the principles of the opposition. Then it moved on to a new address in which it portrayed its relinquishment of its regional expansionist agenda, and its terrorist plans on the international level.
However, the success of our intellectual and political address, and the failure of the regime’s ideological orientation as well as the developments which occurred on the regional arena; all led to the creation of a new reality which opened the door widely for the realization of our peoples legitimate aspirations in just peace and democracy through the political and diplomatic methods. The opportunity for a comprehensive political solution has two legitimate fathers i.e., the failure of the totalitarian Islamisist agenda, and the success of the democratic, peaceful, and just agenda.
The regime, while engaged in its Jihad program had been acting and dealing with the peace negotiations as public relations forums. In a later stage, the regime appealed to the IGAD states, which had been as neighbors and friends mediating for the attainment of peace in the Sudan. And as usual, the regime employed the IGAD forum for its own purposes of public relations and manoevers and when the inner nature of the regime was revealed to the IGADs states they then put an end for the futile and sterile negotiations tactics by proposing the commitment of the two parties of the conflict, to the Declaration of the six Principles in 1994.
The NDA accepted the IGAD initiative and the Declaration of Principles and at a later stage demanded the broadening of that initiative for the realization of the following: –
- Participation of all the parties to the conflict.
- Expanding its agenda.
- Participation of Sudan neighbors in North Africa.
However, new circumstances impeded the broadening of the IGAD. Therefore, a need for a more comprehensive initiative has emerged. Egypt and Libya have a legitimate concern for peace and stability in the Sudan. This legitimate concern has been the main motive for the joint initiative, initiating from the Tripoli Declaration in August 1999. The Tripoli declaration does not demolish but rather compliments the IGADs initiative. Therefore, it stipulated the co-ordination between the two initiatives. The IGADs States did not reject but welcomed the regional initiatives with similar objectives, as was underlined the Declaration of the IGADs summit on 26 November 1999.
During the last two months, some changes had occurred in the Sudanese arena on the way to comprehensive political solution.
The regime demonstrated a limited response with the national demands, which were embodied in the joint Egyptian – Libyan Initiative such as lifting the ban on political parties activity, and on free movement and release of political detainees and return of the confiscated properties.
Nevertheless, there had been indications to the contrary, for last February; the regime forces bombarded an elementary school in the township of (kadwa) in the Nuba Mountains, killing a number of pupils. In a similar manner, the security forces employed violent means to suppress students and practiced with them repressive means including torture and expulsion. We condemned such practices and reported them to Mr. Leonardo Franco, the representative and the Special Rapporteur of the U.N. human rights commission, when we met him in Geneva last week.
There are factors in the Sudanese political arena, which accelerate and push in the direction of the realization of the people’s demands and which create a new favorable reality.
Substituting the regime constitution with a democratic one accepted by the people became a necessity after the retreat of the constitution of the regime:
- The agreements of peace from within collapsed and this made the looking forward for a comprehensive and just peace agreement a necessary measure.
- Accountability, which is a popular demand, became the request of the two wings of the regime because each of them is holding the other responsible for the irregularities committed.
Also, the International community is monitoring all violations regarding the human rights situation worldwide.
The Sudan is not the first country to seize the opportunity of transformation from war to peace through dialogue.
This had been realized in many countries, in Mozambique, Angola and Sirraleone and others. We are not also the first countries where the opportunity of transformation from one party system to democratic pluralism is imminent. This had been accomplished in Argentine, Nicaragua, and the country of East Europe, in Niger, Zambia, Benin, and others.
In both cases we have useful lessons to learn from the experiences of the biggest two African countries in terms of population and wealth wise that is, Nigeria, and South Africa.
We have a golden opportunity for establishing a broad national, regional, and international alliance in support of the Sudanese people’s aspirations.
The internal situation in the Sudan and the region surrounding it and the world at large are replete with new developments.
This new development might be a healthy being or otherwise disfigured: –
- Fighting between yesterday allies may lead to more schisms with the outcome of the inevitable Balkanization of the Sudan or a military coup – de-tat with an agenda inconsistent with the peoples legitimate objectives, or external initiatives motivated by rejecting the continuation of Sudan humanitarian tragedy, which reached, especially in the south, a degree of total and unprecedented deterioration.
I say external initiatives which attempt to introduce harmful solutions to the country, NDA is required nationally, humanely, and internationally to take clear and firm resolutions on three levels:
Firstly, declaring the peace and democracy agenda as a basis for the comprehensive political solution and these are:
- A peace agreement based on the Asmara resolutions of 1995.
- A real democratic transformation, which guarantees fundamental freedoms and the international human rights criteria.
- A transitional period administered by an all party government whose tasks are :-
- The dismantling of the one party state and structuring the homeland state.
- Accountability on irregularities and investigating facts finding on violations and redressing injustices.
- Conducting a referendum.
- Convening the constitutional conference, which adopts the new constitution including the outcome of the referendum.
- Conducting free general elections.
Secondly, the negotiation modalities materializing these objectives are the conference or the all party meeting on which we agreed on in the Tripoli Declaration with the addition of three amendments which are:
- Limiting the agenda of the meeting to the question of divergence and disregard issues of convergence.
- The meeting to be convened in an Arab state with African chairmanship or vice versa.
- Our neighbors in North Africa and in the Horn of Africa and our friends in the IGAD Partners forum have a substantial presence as observers, monitors, and witnesses.
Thirdly, Reform of the NDA to achieve the following:
- Overcoming the stage of the NDA Inside and outside.
- Expanding the NDA to include all the opposition forces.
- Activating the NDA
Until details are agreed upon there should be consent on a simple mechanism to carry on the implementation of this resolution.
For the coming period, the Umma party decided on terminating the exceptional circumstances and the return of its cadres for the political struggle from within. Thus, we appeal to all the political forces to undertake the task of activating the popular political action inside Sudan. We also address the regime to continue with the necessity of creating conducive climate for the comprehensive political solution by putting an end to the irregularities and guaranteeing freedoms.
This decision of our party does not, of course, apply to Umma Liberation Army whose position would be arranged according to the outcome of the all-party meeting and the details of the comprehensive political solution.
The Umma Liberation Army did well and constituted an impetus to the struggle.
I here pray for its martyrs and I hope for the quick recovery of its wounded, and also pray for the souls of all the martyrs of the armed resistance as they faithfully participated in incarnating the resistance of our people.
Regarding the amendments of (Al Tawali) Law, what concern us, is the confirmation of lifting the ban on the activities of the political parties. As to the regime’s legal procedures, these are matters, which concern the regime alone, because the differences between the regime and us relate to the constitution and the other items of the comprehensive political solution agenda.
Agreement or disagreement will be on the constitution first and then come the laws.
The negotiation is now going on between the regime and a number of the factions of the NDA on bilateral basis.
This situation should be overcome by accelerating the work towards the mechanism of comprehensive negotiation, to overcome the swamps with a Jonglei Canal.
The trend for the comprehensive political solution is an overwhelming popular Sudanese trend, which enjoys a regional and international support, and the human tragedies surrounding the Sudanese people makes it imperative to probe it.
This overwhelming trend can ensure the realization of the people goals either through negotiation or through popular political and diplomatic irresistible pressures.
Spiritually, there are some breezes in time, which one should be exposed to, as secularly there are waves of tide, which the skillful navigator should mount.
Brothers, sincerely I hope we would work side by side to spare the Sudan awaited new born child in order to come out as a healthy being Finally I extend my sincere gratitude to our brothers in Eritrea, Government and people as they shared with us bread and who are still our best brethren.
They played a positive role in what we reached regarding the Asmara resolution of 1995, and we expect that they would continue their positive stands on the side of the Sudanese people until we achieve just peace and democratic change, and work together for a new dawn in the Nile Basin, achieves integration, development, security and co-operation in all fields.
Peace upon you