London, Asharq Al-Awsat—In response to new austerity measures announced by the Khartoum government, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has called for peaceful protests to topple Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir.
In exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman said that the new measures announced by the ruling National Congress Party to increase the price of fuel are just the tip of the iceberg, adding that Sudan is facing a comprehensive structural and administrative crisis and that the ruling party continually attempts to resolve government crises at the expense of the poor.
“The only solution is to change the ruling regime, and we say that Sudan is a failed state because it lost one-third of its population and one-third of its territory merely to preserve the rule of the National Congress Party,” Arman said in reference to the 2011 secession of South Sudan. He added that the Khartoum regime had purposefully chosen secession over citizenship and war over peace.
Arman said: “The regime carried out genocide in more than one region of the country,” adding, “After Bashir’s party got rid of the old south by way of secession, it incited more wars in the new south.”
The SPLM-N secretary-general told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ruling National Congress Party spends more than 70 percent of its annual budget on war, security and suppression, in contrast to just 2 percent on health and education services. He added that this approach had led to a budget deficit that demanded an end to war and corruption.
“For this to happen, we need regime change. . . . There can be no solution unless all those harmed by the regime take to the streets,” he said, claiming that the government’s recently announced elimination of fuel subsidies will to hit Sudan’s marginalized and poverty-stricken hardest.
Yasir Arman also claimed that the Khartoum government had recently attempted to pursue talks with the SPLM-N via three foreign countries, but refused to name the intermediaries.
“Over the past thirty days, three countries contacted us on behalf of the Khartoum regime, and that is all that we can reveal at this point,” Arman said. Sudanese media reports confirmed that the Khartoum government had contacted the SPLM-N in order to explore ways of resuming peace talks over the disputed Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
He added that the SPLM-N is sticking to its previous position that any ceasefire must come within the context of UN Security Council Resolution 2046.
Arman told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Our position is clear; we are working to overthrow the [Bashir] regime as if it could happen tomorrow, while we are working for a comprehensive peaceful solution as though we will live forever.”