Sudan's Beshir Calls for National Forum of Political Forces
Sudanese President Omar Beshir has proposed convening a national forum of all Sudanese political forces and national leaders in the Sudanese capital in a month's time.
General Beshir, who was speaking at a ceremony on the lawns of the Republican Palace Thursday marking the 11th anniversary of his seizure of power, said his government had accepted a peace and reconciliation initiative sponsored by Egypt and Libya for "national reconstruction by all Sudanese, northerners and southerners, proponents and opponents".
"We have exerted all efforts for creating an atmosphere conducive to a national dialogue conference which we have proposed to discuss peace, rule, democracy, development and foreign relations and we were hoping that conference be held last October or March," Beshir said in his televised speech.
"In order to push the joint (Egyptian-Libyan) initiative forward, I call for a national forum to be held in Khartoum in a month's time with the participation of representatives of all political forces and national personalities," said Beshir.
He added that this forum would prepare for a national dialogue conference and be held in consultation with the different Sudanese political forces inside and outside Sudan.
"For our part, we will offer everything that enables the forum to fulfill its mission, in an atmosphere of freedom and independence," he pledged.
General Beshir said the achievement of peace in south Sudan "will be our top concern", pledging his government would pursue this goal through the joint Egyptian-Libyan bid and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) initiative and through peace agreements reached with south Sudanese factions.
"We will work for reaching a just solution that meets the aspirations of the people of south Sudan to guarantee them fair participation in power and fair share of wealth...we will muster all national resources and petroleum proceeds as well as international contributions for the development programme of the south," Beshir said.
He said a fund would be set up for the development and reconstruction of the areas affected by the civil war, to be financed from the petroleum proceeds and resources to be made available by the federal government as well as regional and international agencies.
Speaking of his government's foreign policy, Beshir said: "We will continue developing our ties with all neighbors, without exception, on the basis of the African and Arab fraternity, removing causes of dispute and resolviong problems through mutual respect and non-interference in others' affairs."
He said his government would cooperate "in an open mind" for creation of "a fair" international order in which relations would be based on "justice and fairness that guarantee global progress, peace and stability."
"From this platform I appeal to the big and rich powers to make equal opportunities of progress to all peoples and nations a part of their concern and to work, in a spirit free of hegemonious tendencies, for the achievement of peace and domestic stability in all nations and communities," said Beshir.
The President has declared cuts in the prices of petroleum products, which he said he would announce while opening Khartoum refinery on Friday, as well as exemptions and decreases in customs duties and taxes on some imports, including textiles, butane ovens, cultural and sports materials and industrial items.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawe, who arrived here Thursday, and delegates from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Djiboute and Central Africa were present at the ceremony -- KHARTOUM (AFP)
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