AU mediator Mbeki meets opposition forces in Sudan’s capital

A delegation of the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties) met with former South Africa president, Thabo Mbeki, in Khartoum on Monday, and discussed the topic of the National Dialogue, launched by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to bring about peace in Sudan. Later that day, Mbeki met with representatives of the National Umma Party (NUP).

The AU’s chief mediator for Sudan arrived in Khartoum on Saturday, in his new function of chairman of a High Committee recently set up by the AU to support the National Dialogue process in the country.

Dr Babikr Abu El Hassan, the official spokesman for the NCF, told Radio Dabanga from Khartoum that the meeting with Mbeki addressed the issues of the dialogue and the peace processes. The NCF delegation stressed to Mbeki that the NCF conditions for a national dialogue have not been met, such as the ending of the civil wars, the delivery of humanitarian aid, the release of all political detainees, and the restoration of civic freedoms.

“We told Mbeki that if the government does not want to meet our conditions, the dialogue does not have any meaning to us. He responded by saying that he understands our position, and will study it.”

The AU chief mediator also met with representatives of the National Umma Party (NUP) on Monday, and received a copy of the Paris Declaration.

“He promised to study its contents, and respond later”, Maj. Gen. Fadlallah Burma Nasir, NUP Co-Vice President, told Radio Dabanga from Omdurman. Nasir explained that the NUP stressed the need for “an alternative, comprehensive, and real dialogue, in which the crises in the country will be seriously tackled, and solutions are found that can be accepted by all the Sudanese”.

Mbeki, who on Sunday met with government officials, and the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan El Turabi, urged the government to release the political detainees, and offer guarantees for the rebel movements to encourage them to join the National Dialogue.

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