The meeting of Sudanese political leaders and civilian representatives in Addis Ababa concluded on the evening of October 26 after three days of discussions. While negotiations between warring factions have resumed in Jeddah, civilians remain excluded after six months of conflict. Civil society is making efforts to establish its presence and unity to exert pressure on the military with a credible alternative political project.
Civil figures in attendance have recognized the necessity of uniting and coordinating their efforts to avoid losing the democratic space opened up by the revolution. They have decided to form a temporary structure, with a leadership body led by former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdock.
This body consists of around sixty individuals, primarily from non-partisan associations, to prepare for a much larger gathering in November.
“Their goal is to invite up to 1,000 participants,” explains Siddig El Mahdi, a member of the preparatory committee. These participants would represent all regions of Sudan, women, youth, and various Sudanese communities. The purpose of this meeting is to unite the voices of Sudanese civilians and rally the international community to call on the military to cease hostilities.
The committee’s top priority is to assist Sudanese citizens on the ground. Dr. Alaaeldin Awad, of the Coordination of Democratic Civil Forces, emphasizes, “The Jeddah declaration signed by both sides states that there should be a national committee for humanitarian aid distribution. This is what we lack, as there has been significant corruption in humanitarian aid since the beginning of the conflict.”
Members of this committee are tasked with developing a political vision and institutional structures to be ready when the conflict ends. They have also reaffirmed the importance of political parties to try to restore the credibility they have lost in their struggle against the military.
However, the absentees, particularly the majority of resistance committees, find this union insufficient. These crucial bodies of the democratic revolution have distanced themselves from this coalition in a joint statement. Nevertheless, those present in Addis Ababa are convinced that only unity will enable civilians to finally have an impact on negotiations to end the conflict. They hope for a robust ceasefire agreement following the Jeddah negotiations, allowing civil society to regain its place and restore a democratic transition.