November 26, 2014
(KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has called upon the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadig al-Mahdi, to return to the country to play his anticipated political role in resolving national issues.
On 8 August, the NUP and the rebel umbrella of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) signed the Paris Declaration after the former suspended its participation in the government-led national dialogue initiative following the arrest of al-Mahdi, who was detained for one month.
The Paris declaration was welcomed inside the country and abroad as it provides that the “end of the war is the right approach to any credible national dialogue and serious constitutional” process and call to ensure freedoms in the country.
However, the NCP refused to recognise the agreement and considered it an attempt by the SRF to seize power by force.
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir said the deal was “brokered by a Zionist mediator”, noting the SRF leaders sought to find someone who can promote their project and help them implement it.
“We had information that the SRF was looking for a national figure to help them carry out their project and they found al-Sadiq al-Mahdi,” he added.
Since the signing of Paris Declaration, the 79-year-old opponent was advised to not return to Khartoum. His daughter and NUP deputy leader, Merriam al-Mahdi, was jailed for a month before her release.
On Wednesday, the NCP political secretary, Hamid Mumtaz, discussed with the presidential assistant and son of al-Mahdi, Abdel-Rahman al-Sadig al-Mahdi, the recent political development and the national dialogue process.
In press statements following the meeting Mumtaz urged al-Mahdi to return to Sudan particularly as he continued to call for upholding the value of dialogue as a primary means for achieving the peaceful transfer of power.
He called upon political parties to achieve political consensus and support the national dialogue process in order to arrive at political stability and sustainable development.
Mumtaz revealed his party is making extensive efforts to convince the political forces which refused to participate in the dialogue to engage in it, saying they intend to work towards converging views with the NUP in order to arrive at a joint vision to resolve the country’s issues.
He expressed his party’s readiness to work with all parties to push forward the national dialogue, pointing they will develop a plan based on a new political vision to deal with all political forces particularly those who refused to join the national dialogue.
Meanwhile, the director of the information department at the Sudanese army, Maj. Gen.Mohamed Ageeb, in a symposium organized by the Armed Forces newspaper on Wednesday, described the SRF rebels as “outlaws”, saying the army’s suspicions towards the Paris Declaration are legitimate.
He further described taking up of arms against the state as “political bankruptcy” and threat to national security.
The NUP deputy chairman, Siddig Ismail, for his part, said al-Mahdi will return to the country soon, pointing he is ready to bear consequences of his signing of the Paris Declaration.
Ismail, who spoke at the same symposium, pointed that al-Mahdi’s presence abroad has nothing to do with the government’s threats regarding the Paris Declaration, saying the NUP institutions decided that al-Mahdi stay abroad to promote the Paris Declaration regionally and internationally.
He described the NCP’s refusal of the Paris Declaration as “political jealousy”, saying that al-Mahdi has arrived in Addis Ababa to push forward dialogue and help reaching common grounds among all parties.
Ismail demanded president Bashir to form a neutral investigation committee with the approval of the NUP to look into the documents of Paris Declaration, saying if the committee proved the government’s claims we would be ready to bear the legal consequences.
“However, if the [government claims about Paris Declaration] were untrue, the president should apologise to us and to the Sudanese people and should hold accountable those who created this national crisis,” he added.