Sudanese Opposition Shows Conditional Acceptance of Preparatory Meeting

Published June 30th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Sudan's opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) accepted Friday a proposal by President Omar Bashir to convene a forum of all the country's political forces provided the meeting is limited to the government and NDA and held outside Sudan. 

NDA official Ali Ahmed Sayyed said the forum plan, which Bashir proposed Thursday, was "a positive step" but fell short of NDA demands for more political freedoms, a halt to the civil war and calling off presidential and legislative elections set for next October. 

Bashir proposed the forum to precede a national dialogue conference sponsored by Egypt and Libya in a month's time. 

"The NDA accepts a preliminary meeting with the government to agree on a transitional period, an interim government, cessation of fighting and on the agenda, participants, venue and date of the national dialogue," Sayyed said. 

He said the NDA would not mind participation by other parties and national personalities in the national dialogue conference. 

Sayyed also said the forum plan was originally an opposition idea. 

"The government at that time had rejected a preliminary encounter," Sayyed said. 

Sayyed also said the NDA would not agree to Khartoum as a preliminary venue for the meeting because the opposition "is not confident of the government." 

The government said it hoped to go through with the forum during a ceremony Thursday night celebrating the 11th anniversary of Bashir's seizure of power. 

Presidential legal and political adviser Abdel Basit Sabdarat was Friday quoted by Akhbar Al Youm Daily as saying the government would "immediately embark on contacts with the political forces on convening the preparatory national forum." - KHARTOUM (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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