Dubai Al-Bayan Online in Arabic on 2 August carries a 1,000-word interview with Hatim al-Sirr Sakanju, leading figure and former presidential candidate of the [opposition] Sudanese Democratic Unionist Party, DUP, who describes the situation of the country as "sad and miserable," holding President Umar Hasan al-Bashir's regime responsible for "the tense political situation." Al-Sirr also says that "the Khartoum delegation in Addis Ababa only represents the National Congress Party, NCP."
Asked about his assessment of the current situation in Sudan, Al-Sirr says that "this is one of the rare times when there is a consensus among all Sudanese parties on diagnosing the situation in Sudan. All of them realize the magnitude of the disaster." Al-Sirr adds that "the situation in Sudan is sad and miserable, and the way to get out of it is by eliminating its first cause, which is not only the NCP figures, but also their way of thinking and working mechanism."
Asked about his suggestions to get out of the severe crisis the country is suffering, Al-Sirr says: "The Sudanese need to work relentlessly to ensure that no mistakes are committed again and come to terms with themselves and their environment, and to rationalize expenditures."
Commenting on the protest movement that sparked in several Sudanese cities, Al-Sirr notes that "people were fed up with the deteriorating situation, so they staged peaceful demonstrations. The government should have been more careful and dealt with the demonstrators in a civilized manner, provided solutions, and heard them, but it chose the path of violence and torture."
Asked whether the DUP has initiated contacts to solve the situation in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kurdufan, Al-Sirr says that few weeks ago he met with leaders of armed movements in Darfur and Yasir Arman, secretary general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North Sector, SPLM-N, "in order to reach common visions that contribute to solve the crisis in Sudan and stop the war." Al-Sirr goes on saying: "However, we will not reach comprehensive peace in Sudan due to the lack of real political will of the ruling party," adding that "the NCP will not allow a settlement that may reduce its influence or redistribute power and wealth fairly."
Asked about his view on the negotiations that are now under way in Addis Ababa between Khartoum and Juba, Al-Sirr notes that "any peace negotiations are a step in the right direction." In this regard, Al-Sirr says: "However, they need national consensus and unanimity. Therefore, we demand the involvement of everyone in the dialogue to take advantage of their expertise and knowledge."
Expressing further his views on this matter, Al-Sirr says: "The negotiating delegation present in Addis Ababa cannot claim that it represents all Sudanese," adding that "it is the delegation of the NCP alone."
Commenting on the possibility of a visit by Head of the DUP Uthman al-Mirghani to Juba, Al-Sirr says that it will be "the culmination of the historic agreement between [Ahmad Ali] al-Mirghani and John Garang in November 1988." Al-Sirr concludes by saying: "Al-Mirghani's visit to Juba will only succeed if the NCP abandons its old habits of ruining what others do. But I doubt very much that the Islamists give others the opportunity to serve the nation or the Sudanese citizens."