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KHARTOUM - 8 Mar 2013

‘New Dawn’ signatories will not cut ties to SRF

The National Consensus Forces, a group of Sudanese opposition parties, have promised not to cut their ties with the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which has taken up arms against the government in Blue Nile, Darfur and North and South Kordofan.

“We will not stop our relationship with SRF – even if it costs our lives,” said Kamal Omar, the secretary-general of the popular congress party (PCP) and the official spokesman of the National Consensus Forces.

Opposition politicians and rebel leaders signed a ‘New Dawn’ charter in January in the Ugandan capital, affirming the common goal of toppling the regime while disagreeing about the best means to achive that end.

One of their number, Al-Wasat Islamic party leader Youssef al-Koda, was arrested on arrival at Khartoum airport last month, but many of the other signatories have gone untouched. PCP and Umma parties have distanced themselves from some clauses of the charter while not reneging on the document altogether.   

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj in an interview earlier this week, Kamal Omar condemned the arrest of al-Koda and expressed solidarity with SRF. “The only solution to the problem of Sudanese, is if the people of Sudan rise against the government in Khartoum,” he said.

Omar said that the political opposition and the armed opposition share the same vision for the liberation of the people of Sudan from the dictatorial regime in Khartoum. “We consider SRF as part of us with the same vision,” he said.

His position lends the insurgents moral support of a mainstream opposition party and signals that Islamist party leaders continue to be able to defy their erstwhile allies in government with near impunity.

A sit-in protest last week was organized to condemn illegal detentions and lobby for the release of ‘New Dawn’ signtatories, namely al-Koda. “We condemned the arrest of the members of the opposition in strong terms,” said Omar. “The sit-in protest is a step to pressure the regime, and we will organize more protests.”

No constitution-making during war

The opposition spokesman further criticized the constitutional review process, which divides the opposition into secular and Islamist camps. He said that it’s immaterial to speak of a constitution before halting the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

He accused the ruling National Congress Party of making their own constitution but not for the people of Sudan. “The current constitution is only for one group but not for all the Sudanese people,” he said.

The politician rejected separatism for any other part of the country, as happened to South Sudan, accusing NCP of creating a bad relationship between citizens of the two Sudans. He said NCP is responsible for the split of South Sudan due to their bad policies that marginalized the South Sudanese people.

Referring also to the areas now in revolt, parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, he described these as national issues requiring all forces to unite together.

“The issues of Blue Nile and South Kordofan are our concerns too,” he said, explaining that if SPLM-N goes to negotiations with Khartoum then it will be dealing with issues concerning all the people.

In final remarks, the PCP figure pleaded for the general public to join protests that will lead to a popular uprising to overthrow the regime. He said the opposition are working toward this.