Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir has expressed optimism over the prospects for national reconciliation, after receiving a message from Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, who heads the umbrella opposition group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Mirghani's message was "a good sign of an approaching national reconciliation," said Beshir, in a statement carried Sunday by the independent Al-Rai al-Aam daily.
Beshir said the message "contained positive elements for pushing forward current efforts for reaching a peaceful settlement" to the political crisis in Sudan.
The NDA said earlier this month it had received a proposal from Beshir for a pan-Sudanese conference to seek solutions to all Sudanese issues.
At the time it said Mirghani, who lives in Egypt, appreciated the message as a "goodwill" gesture and would give it full consideration.
Several of Sudan's opposition politicians went into exile in the years succeeding Beshir's coup in 1989, and the country has been ravaged by civil war in the south for 17 years.
Al-Rai al-Aam quoted Beshir Sunday as renewing his appeal to the opposition to return home, and pledging that all Sudanese political forces would be consulted as a political charter is drafted for future roles in Sudan.
He said his government had met all demands contained in a memorandum by the opposition to Egypt and Libya, which are sponsoring a bid for reconciliation between the Khartoum government and the opposition grouped in the NDA.
Egypt and Libya launched an initiative in 1999 for a national conference to bring together the government and northern opposition groups, as well as the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to end the civil war.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian-Libyan delegation arrived in Sudan late Saturday to brief the Sudanese government on proposals by the NDA for the planned reconciliation conference.
The delegation is jointly led by Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Mustafa al-Feqi and Libyan Foreign Ministry official Jumaa al-Fezzani.
Feqi is also leading the Egyptian side of negotiations that opened in Khartoum Sunday on longstanding disagreements between Egypt and Sudan - KHARTOUM (AFP)
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