Sudanese President Says he will Share Power with Opposition Leader
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said he is ready to give a share in power to former prime minister Sadeq al-Mahdi, leader of the opposition Umma Party, a newspaper reported Thursday.
"We are ready to go along with Sadeq al-Mahdi till the end of the road. I mean he will fully participate in power," Beshir was quoted by the independent Al-Ayam daily as saying.
Ruling National Congress (NC) party Secretary General Ibrahim Ahmed Omar told reporters Thursday that a government reshuffle would be made in a month's time, after presidential and legislative elections due on December 11-20.
Beshir said negotiations between the NC and the Umma Party are under way and that the two sides would be able to reach agreement on power-sharing by the end of the elections.
Democratically elected prime minister in 1985, Mahdi was overthrown four years later in a coup that brought the military and Islamists to power under the leadership of Bashir.
Bashir said Mahdi's return "practically proved that the door is open to all opponents to come back home as there is no need for them to stay abroad and to carry arms" against his government.
In 1995, the Umma and other northern groups took up arms against Khartoum under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an umbrella for the southern and northern opposition. Khartoum has been fighting southern rebels since 1983.
Mahdi fled from Khartoum in December 1996 for fear of arrest, pronouncing "a lack of freedom and democracy" in Sudan. He traveled first to Eritrea before settling in Egypt.
But in November 1999, Madhi struck a reconciliation deal with Bashir, then in March he bolted from the NDA.
Madhi announced his return home earlier this month, but at the same time his party announced that it would boycott the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Umma officials said that ending the country's 17-year civil war was the first priority – KHARTOUM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)