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Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 15:16 GMT
Sudan power sharing talks
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
President Bashir is seeking political allies
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is reported to be considering some form of power sharing with ex-prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi who recently returned from a four year exile.

A local independent newspaper, Al-Ayam quoted President Bashir as saying: "We are ready to go along with Sadiq al-Mahdi till the end of the road. I mean he will fully participate in power".

Former Sudanese prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi
Mahdi was toppled by President Bashir in 1986
Mr Bashir was reported as saying that negotiations between the ruling National Congress (NC) and Mr Mahdi's Umma Party were underway and that the two sides should be able to reach a power sharing agreement by the end of elections next month.

However, according to the official news agency, he has denied that any agreement already exists.

Mr Mahdi who was democratically elected prime minister in 1986 was overthrown three years later in a coup led by Mr Bashir.

Mr Mahdi fled Sudan in 1996 but returned to Khartoum on 23 November. However his party is boycotting the elections.

Government reshuffle

President Bashir said Mr Mahdi's return "practically proved that the door is open to all opponents to come back home as there is no need for them to stay abroad and to carry arms".

Fighting
Muslims in the north have fought Christians in the south
The ruling party's secretary general, Ibrahim Ahmed Omar told the press on Thursday that a government reshuffle would be made in a month's time, after the general elections scheduled for 11 December.

On return from exile, Mr Mahdi urged people to work together to solve Sudan's problems peacefully.

He said he had come back to work with all parties for a return to democracy and an end to the 17-year civil war.

Mr Mahdi promised to reactivate his Umma party, which last year left an opposition alliance and began the process of reconciliation with the government.

That has already led to the return of dozens of Umma party activists and hundreds of former fighters.

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See also:

06 May 00 | Africa
Analysis: Power struggle in Sudan
26 Nov 99 | Africa
Sudan peace deal struck
17 Jan 00 | Africa
Sudan's decades of war
19 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Sudan
24 Nov 00 | Africa
Sudan celebrations continue
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