Sudanese opposition calls on EU Parliament to support new peace process

(STRASBOURG) – The Sudanese opposition forces called on the European Union (EU) Parliament to support the establishment of a new process for peace and democratic reforms in Sudan.

EU MP Marie-Christine Vergiat and former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi (C) surrounded by Malik Agar and Gribil Ibrahim from the right, Abdel Wahid al-Nur and al-Tom Hajo during the press conference at the European Parliament on 9 June 2015 (ST photo)

An important delegation of the Sudanese opposition groups led by the former prime minister and leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi, and the chairman of the rebel umbrella Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Malik Agar was received at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In a parliamentary hearing entitled “Sudan recent elections and peace perspectives”, the opposition leaders briefed the EU legislators on the humanitarian and human rights situations but focused their interventions on what the European legislators can do in support of the African Union-led efforts for peace and democratic transition in Sudan.

Mahdi and Agar who spoke on behalf of the opposition Sudan Call forces said the national dialogue process launched in January 2014 was not seriously prepared and was used by the government to buy time before to organize single-party elections aiming to maintaining the current status quo.

The former prime minister stressed that “Sudan now is a failed state”. He pointed to the armed conflicts, displacements of civilians and the popular rejection of the regime illustrated by the boycott of April elections. He further referred to the government involvement in the conflicts in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Libya and its links with the terrorist group of Daesh saying that Khartoum regime is a factor of regional instability.

“We want the EU parliament to support the people of Sudan who has suffered for 26 years and to back our initiative for comprehensive and just peace and democratization. We hope to get a response to this appeal and the EU parliament issue a strong resolution in support of the people of Sudan in their search for (peace and democracy),” he further said.

Speaking after al-Mahdi, the SRF leader went in his speech to provide further details about the resolution they hope to see the EU lawmakers adopted in support of a new “meaningful peace process”.

Agar pointed to the need to protect civilians through stopping war and guaranteeing humanitarian access to the needy in the war affected areas. Also, he underscored the need to create a conducive environment and guarantee basic freedoms before the national dialogue.

“Sudan’s peace process and national dialogue will need a new, clear mandate for the mediation. The new mandate will need to include specific goals, a timeframe for moving the process forward in a meaningful manner and preventing the Government’s attempts to delay the process, and benchmarks for a truly comprehensive national dialogue process,” he further said.

After the rejection of the Sudanese government to participate in a national dialogue preparatory meeting called by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on 30-31 March, the Sudan Call forces requested the African Union to create a new mechanism involving the UN and main international partners.

Agar called for “smart sanctions” on the Sudanese government and to stipulate some conditions related to the humanitarian access, peace and democratic reforms before increasing engagement with Sudan, providing debt relief, and funding as it is pledged by the EU governments in the Khartoum Process on combating human trafficking , or training Sudanese military and police.

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR & UNAMID

In a press conference at the EU parliament, SFR vice-president for foreign affairs and leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim called to re-establish a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Sudan to monitor the human rights situation in Sudan.

In his speech, Agar also mentioned this request.

Ibrahim who briefing reporters on behalf of the opposition groups, further said the EU should exert efforts to maintain the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), as the Sudanese government demands as exit strategy for the joint operation which is dedicated to protect civilians in Darfur.

“Despite its shortcomings, UNAMID protects the civilian population in Darfur from the ongoing government and government-sponsored militia attacks,” said Agar who included the matter in his speech before the EU lawmakers.

The hearing was organised by the French Marie-Christine Vergiat, Ana Gomes of Portugal and the Slovenian Ivo Vajgl. Also intervened in the meeting the German Joachim Zeller, the Italian Elena VALENCIANO, the Swedish Bodil Ceballos and the French Barbara SPINELLI.

Vergiat who chairs the EU MPs group on Sudan welcomed the Sudanese guests and regretted the travel ban imposed on the leader of the opposition alliance Farouk Abu Issa, and human rights prominent activist Amin Mekki Mandani.

She further mentioned the absence of the NUP deputy-president Merriam al-Mahdi who was also prevented from travelling to Paris by the Sudanese security agents.

The French MP who is a member of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) further vowed to support the ongoing efforts to bring peace and stability in Sudan and the neighbouring countries.

Several EU MPs congratulated the opposition for achieving unity and encouraged them to have a unified stance on issues of peace and democracy in Sudan.

European lawmakers organized dinner for the visiting delegation which included some representatives of civil society groups who succeeded to reach Strasbourg despite the travel ban.

This is the third time that the EU legislators receive the Sudanese opposition groups. The two previous meetings took place in November 2013 and July 2014.

(ST) Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article55287

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