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Alawiyah al-Mukhtar

Sudan opposition calls for 'peaceful uprising' after talks rejected

The government of Omar Al-Bashir is preparing for elections on April 13 [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 7 April, 2015

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"Sudan Call" group says protest is its only option after regime spurned African Union-mediated talks in Ethiopia ahead of planned elections.
Sudan Call, a coalition of local opposition groups, has said it had no option but to call for a "peaceful intifada" after the government refused to attend African-backed peace talks in Addis Ababa.

The African Union, lead by the former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, had invited government and opposition groups to discuss a framework for dialogue that would end the fighting in the country's west and south.

But the government refused to participate describing the meeting as a trap that would prevent it from holding timely elections scheduled for 13 April.

Sudan Call, which includes a variety of political and militant groups, said the ruling National Congress Party had thwarted hopes for a peaceful settlement.

Its statement called for an escalation of resistance to elections it described as "fraudulent", and was timed to coincide with the 1985 April uprising which toppled the military regime of ex-president Mohammad Jaafar al-Nimeiri.
Political forces have only once choice: a peaceful uprising

Signed by former prime minister and head of the Umma Party, al-Sadik al-Mahdi, as well as the heads of a host of militant and civil society organisations, the statement accused the ruling party of intentionally foiling the meeting in Addis.

"[The initiative] was the last available chance to end the war and achieve a political solution. Therefore, the political forces have only once choice: a peaceful uprising," it said.

The statement called on Sudanese to step up opposition to the elections, and echoed the Arab Spring slogan: "The people want the regime to fall."

Local analysts said the opposition only wanted to improve its bargaining hand, as any popular uprising in Sudan would probably fail given the government's superior military force.

Other powers in the region are also reluctant to see regime change in Sudan for fear extremists could capitalise on a power vacuum as they did in Libya and Syria.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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