Sudanese president calls on opposition for dialogue
Sudan, Politics, 12/21/1999
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has confirmed his adherence to the Egyptian-Libyan initiative for reconciliation in Sudan.
In a statement to the Egyptian daily al-Ahram issued on Monday, the Sudanese President said he is trying to maintain reconciliation but, "The leader of the rebels in southern Sudan, John Garang, obstructs the reconciliation efforts." Al-Bashir also called on parties of the northern opposition who are abroad to take part in the authority after they merge in a broad national front.
He added, "We call for setting up a broad national front including main political forces and those with whom we have reached an accord on a certain program." He added when such an accord is made we will agree about participation in the authority (government) and the form of such a participation.
This is the first time since al-Bashir assumed power in 1989 that he has proposed an offer to merge the northern opposition, which includes two main parties, namely the Nation's Party (Ummah), led by former Prime Minister al-Sadeq al-Mahdi and the Democratic Unionist Party led by Muhammad Othman al-Merghani. The two leaders are living in Cairo.
Also, an armed opposition exists in the south represented by the Sudan People's Liberation Army led by John Garang since 1983.
Al-Bashir added, "We welcome all leaders who are abroad. And we cannot for the time being talk about their political role in detail because this will be left for negotiations."
Al-Bashir's proposal was made to the northern opposition, just one week after imposing a three-month state of emergency in the country and dissolving the National Council (parliament), chaired over by Turabi. He did not define the position of the ruling National Congress Party in his initiative. It is the party of the great majority in the dissolved parliament and this party is led by Hassan Turabi.
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