Umma Party to Participate in Preparations for Sudan Peace Conference
Sudan's opposition Umma party said Wednesday it would take part in a meeting next month with the government aimed at paving the way for a conference to end a 17-year civil war.
The party issued a statement saying it agreed to participation in the national forum proposed by President Omar Bashir last Thursday "whether it is held inside or outside Sudan".
Sudan's opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which the Umma party split from late last year, on Friday agreed to attend the forum but only under a string of conditions.
The forum was proposed as part of an Egyptian-Libyan plan for peace in Sudan, which is separate from one sponsored by the regional east African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) based in Nairobi.
Umma appeared to make some conditions of its own.
The Umma party statement said that the preparatory meeting should agree on a declaration of principles for a political solution as well as on the agenda, date and venue of the peace conference.
It called for "linking presidential, legislative and provincial elections with reaching a political settlement," implicitly suggesting reconsideration of next October as a date previously declared for those elections.
Umma party secretary general Omar Nour Daim, meanwhile, criticized the NDA position for reaching a settlement, accused of conspiring against Umma and called it a "tool" of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) - KHARTOUM (AFP)
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