Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the opposition National Umma Party in Sudan, said his current diplomatic and political movements regarding the Paris Declaration are international in scope. Mahdi signed the declaration along with the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which encompasses armed movements in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Mahdi has met officials through the Arab League, including officials from the Egyptian government, the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia, to obtain their blessing on the declaration. Mahdi sees this as the only way to a fair and comprehensive peace, as well as stability and a democratic transformation in Sudan.
Mahdi predicted, in a telephone interview with Al-Hayat, that the government of President Omar al-Bashir would renounce its rejection of the Paris Declaration. He called on the regime in Khartoum to release detainees and those convicted for political reasons and to abolish death sentences against leaders of the Revolutionary Front.
Mahdi said that efforts were underway to hold a conference to bring together all Sudanese political forces supporting the Paris Declaration, saying that it was an outcome of a diplomatic, political and media campaign he began in a number of countries to obtain popular support for this declaration.
“I held an extensive meeting in Addis Ababa with our colleagues in the Sudan Revolutionary Front, as well as with all those in charge of mediation on the Sudanese issue,” he said. “This included President Thabo Mbeki, the head of the African Union mediation panel; Haile Menkerios, the UN special envoy to Sudan; Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the head of UNAMID (United Nations Mission in Darfur); and the US and Norway envoys to Sudan. The meeting agreed that the Paris Declaration is the safest and best way to end the war in Sudan and resolve the power crisis.”
He pointed out that the discourses of the Umma Party and the Revolutionary Front were unified based on the Paris Declaration. This was welcomed as the most serious approach to comprehensively addresse the issues of Sudan.
He said, “We will address the Security Council, the parliament of South Africa, the US Congress, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, the European Union Parliament and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) to rally diplomatic support for a national solution in Sudan on the basis of the Paris Declaration. The next phase will be the implementation of these talks so as to make the declaration the basis for the future of Sudan.
“Now we are planning for a conference that brings together all Sudanese political forces supporting the Paris Declaration to agree on a new structure to unify the national vision, aspiring to a fair and comprehensive peace and democratic transformation under a new regime, which does not isolate any party and is not dominated by any given party.”
Answering Al-Hayat’s question regarding the date and place of the conference of the Sudanese political forces supporting the Paris Declaration, he said, “We, the Umma Party, agreed with the Revolutionary Front and we formed a contact group to discuss the details of the time and place of this uniting conference.”
When asked about the cooperation of Sudanese political forces, he saidd that almost all Sudanese political forces, except the National Congress Party led by President Omar al-Bashir and the Popular Congress Party led by Hassan al-Turabi, have supported the Paris Declaration. “Even within the ruling National Congress Party and the Popular Congress Party there are influential members who support the Paris Declaration as a real breakthrough for achieving the national interest,” he said.
Mahdi said, “The latter, according our talks, believe that there is no need for any kind of rejection of this declaration since the problem was the accusation that the Revolutionary Front was seeking to overthrow the regime by force and of demanding self-determination for some areas of Sudan. However, the current national approach agreed upon by everyone is that civil political action is the best way to achieve national goals — [that being] comprehensive peace and democratic transformation. The idea behind the signature of the Paris Declaration between the Umma Party and Revolutionary Front is to seek a unified Sudan, a fair Sudan that eliminated all causes of domination and marginalization.” In this context, Mahdi said, “We believe that all wise men of our nation, regardless of the party they are affiliated with, believe that what happened is a bet on the safe future of the nation.”
Regarding his message to the Sudanese government, which had already announced its rejection of the Paris Declaration, Mahdi said, “We believe that this rejection is not based on objective reasons, but rather it stems from stubbornness. Those who refuse the declaration feel that we are now taking the lead in terms of initiatives. This is why we believe that this rejection will not hold.”
Al-Hayat asked Mahdi about the deputy head of the Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was arrested at the Khartoum airport immediately after her return from Paris and then released on Sept. 9. “I think the arrest of Mariam is somewhat confusing,” he said. “If she was arrested for taking part in the Paris meeting with the Revolutionary Front, then it is worth noting that the government sent a delegation to Addis Ababa to meet with the Revolutionary Front as well. The meeting is not relevant, because they themselves [the Sudanese government officials] are trying to meet with the Revolutionary Front. What is important is the outcome of the meeting.”
He continued: “If the meeting leads to an agreement on joint armed action to achieve political objectives, it is understood that parties will be held liable and accountable. But if the meeting leads to a civilian and political movement under a unified Sudan, this would deserve congratulations and praise. Mariam was arrested for having attended the meeting, while a few days ago a delegation that included Ghazi Salah al-Din and Ahmed Saad Omar was sent to Addis Ababa to meet and hold discussions with the Revolutionary Front.” Mahdi asked, “Is this something available to all, except those with the basic right to have it?”
He said, “The arrest of Mariam is an act of aggression against human rights. The detained chairman of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, Ibrahim Sheikh, and the young men who were all arrested during the events of September 2013, during anti-government protests, must be released. Also, the death sentences against the Revolutionary Front leaders should be repealed in order to set the appropriate conditions for a potential dialogue.”
Mahdi said, “We are now in the process of issuing a letter about a serious dialogue in the coming days. This letter will set forth the ethics to be followed and will determine whether this dialogue is serious. It is clear for the first time that the regime cannot achieve peace and put an end to the power crisis. We now believe that we have provided a road map that sets the solution for the country in terms of peace and governance. We believe that those in power have no other choice: Their only option is to receive these ideas of the Paris Declaration with open ears.”
Summary:- The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party says the Sudanese government must accept the Paris Declaration if it wants peace and reconciliation.
Author:- Mohammad al Makki Ahmad Posted
September 10, 2014
Translator:- Pascale el Khoury
Original Article اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية