Sudan Opposition Islamists Open to Dialogue with Garang

KHARTOUM, 20 (AFP) -- The party of Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi said that despite its opposition to Khartoum, it was willing to open a dialogue with former southern rebels taking part in the new national unity government.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) of former southern rebel leader John Garang proposed the creation of a forum to discuss national issues, said Beshir Adam Rahman, political secretary of Turabi's Popular Congress Party.

"We have given our approval to this proposal which the SPLM said they would discuss with other parties," he told AFP, underlining both parties had ties dating back to the 1960s.

Turabi was freed from jail on June 30, 15 months after his arrest over an alleged coup plot, and immediately lashed out at the lack of freedom in his country, stating clearly he would not join the national unity government.

Garang is now Sudan's first vice president but Rahman stressed his party's relationship with the SPLM "will not be affected by the fact that one of us is taking part in the government", adding: "We will not form an opposition in the south."

Rahman said the two sides had agreed on the formation of a joint committee aimed at enhancing relations between their parties and added that delegates have already been named.

At a later news conference, Garang said he was committed to the peace deal and his partnership with the ruling National Congress but was also prepared for alliances with other parties.


Posted in: Governance
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