Sudan rebels meet with AU panel, UN Special Envoy in Addis Ababa
The entire leadership of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) met with the chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, and the UN Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, in Addis Ababa on Monday.
The consultative meeting between the rebels and mediator Mbeki on Monday was the first of its kind. AUHIP in the past refused to meet the SRF, an alliance of main Sudanese rebel movements, saying that its mediation mandate is limited to the conflict in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
Also present at the meeting were Unamid head and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the UN Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, AUHIP Executive Director, Abdoul Mohammed, a number of international envoys and observers, and the president of the National Umma Party (NUP), Imam El Sadig El Mahdi. On Friday, El Mahdi had briefed AUHIP on the contents of the Paris Declaration, signed by the SRF and the NUP on 8 August in the French capital.
The SRF delegation consisted of its chairman, Malik Agar, his deputies Jibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Abdel Wahed El Nur, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW), Minni Arko Minawi, head of SLM-MM, El Tom Hajo of the Democratic Unionist Party, and Nasreldin Hadi El Mahdi of the NUP, next to Yasir Arman, SLM-N Secretary-General of the People’s Movement, Abdel Aziz Adam El Hilu, commander of the joint SRF forces, Ali Trajo of SLM-MM, Ahmed Adam Bakhit, JEM deputy chairman, and Zeinab Kabashi, chairwoman of the eastern Sudanese United Popular Front.
Both AUHIP and the SRF did not issue a statement so far. After the meeting of El Mahdi with Mbeki’s panel in Addis Ababa on Friday, the NUP said in a statement released on Saturday, that the AUHIP members “have understood the view of the NUP about the National Dialogue and the unification of the opposition forces in order to hold a comprehensive national dialogue based on the Paris Declaration”.
UN Special Envoy
The leaders of the SRF on Monday also met with the UN Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios. They briefed him about the Paris Declaration that proposes a comprehensive solution for the crises in the country, and the vision of the SRF about a “new, democratic, and secure Sudan”.
El Tom Hajo, co-vice president of the SRF, described to Radio Dabanga the meetings as fruitful. “In the four-hour meeting with AUHIP, we were able to explain in detail SRF’s proposed roadmap to solve the various crises in Sudan, and the contents of the Paris Declaration.”
Hajo added that a delegation of the 7+7 National Dialogue committee, led by Ghazi Salaheldin El Atabani, leader of the Reform Now Party (RNP), and Ahmed Saad Omar, Minister at the Presidency, will arrive to Addis Ababa on Tuesday to meet with the SRF leadership.
Mbeki visited Khartoum two weeks ago in his new function as chairman of a High Commission, recently set up by the AU to support the National Dialogue process in Sudan. The country’s opposition forces are opposed to the National Dialogue process, launched by the ruling National Congress Party early this year, and described it as “a dialogue between the government and its supporters, belonging to parties that that were originally part of the government”.
According to the SRF a national dialogue can only take place after the stoppage of the civil wars and the restoration of freedoms in the country.
News photo: SRF leadership meeting with the AUHIP panel in Addis Ababa, 1 September 2014 (Radio Dabanga)
Photo’s below: SRF leadership at the meeting with the AUHIP panel, and at the meeting with UN Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, later on Monday.
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AU mediator Mbeki meets opposition forces in Sudan’s capital (19 August 2014)
Paris Declaration welcomed by Sudan opposition, rejected by regime (11 August 2014)