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March 2011 - Posts

Sudan says JEM rebels do not want peace in Darfur

March 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese government contested the seriousness of the participation of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the Doha talks saying they just want to give the impression they are part of the peace process.

The Justice and Equality Movement is in Doha to mislead the international community and give the impression they are participating in the peace process, said the government chief negotiator Amin Hassan Omer in a radio talk show aired on Friday.

The rebel group in May 2010 suspended its participation in the Doha peace talks to protest attacks by the Sudanese army on its positions in Darfur despite the signing of a truce in February of last year.

The group however returned to Doha and agreed to resume peace talks with the government in December. After what, the mediators submitted to the two parties a draft agreement for a cessation of hostilities.

The government however showed indifference to the return of the rebel and decided to withdraw its negotiating team as the talks with the rebel Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) were deadlocked over Darfur administrative status and a post of vice-president.

Amin hinted at the implication of JEM fighters in the Libyan crisis saying the rebel group is just waiting the outcome of the fight between the forces loyal to Gaddafi and the insurgency. However the rebel group strongly denied its participation in the defense of the crumbling regime.

The Sudanese official further denounced a recent agreement on political coordination between JEM and LJM saying the former aim to drag the talks back to square one.

He added they warned LJM that the signing of the recent agreement with JEM is a violation of a ceasefire agreement they signed in March 2010 because the latter did not yet sign similar agreement with the government.

The mediation received last week the responses of the three parties on the four chapters it suggest their adoption before to resume talks on the pending issues: the administrative status of Darfur; the scope of the powers of the Darfur Regional Authority and its link with other levels of Government; the participation of rebel groups in the various institutions of power, permanent ceasefire and final security arrangements; and the Mechanisms and guarantees for the implementation of the peace agreement.

Next April, a meeting for all the stakeholders will be organized by the mediation to "enable the establishment of a broad base ownership for the outcomes, in order to achieve a final and comprehensive peace agreement for Darfur".

Amin said his government is committed to the Doha process and will not withdraw from the forum. He however emphasized that government would not abandon its internal plan to bring peace in Darfur.

He also said the solution of Darfur crisis in not in the hands of the rebel groups. The solution of the crisis “is not in their pockets, and we tell them keep your keys in your pockets, but we can use other keys”

Sudan denies granting permission for military planes operating over Libya

March 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan has not received any request by any party to allow military planes in its airspace to enforce the No-Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya, foreign ministry spokesperson said today.

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A French Air Force pilot of a Mirage 2000 jet fighter, with a monkey toy in his cockpit, prepares for a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, on Corsica Island, Saturday, March 26, 2011 (AP)

Khalid Moussa spokesperson for the ministry said he is not aware of such a request.

"Sudan received neither secret, not official request from the UN [to grant this permission]," Moussa told Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti

"Sudan makes decisions proceeding from its national interests," he added.

Also the spokesman of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel Khalid Sa’ad Al-Sawarmi told the pro-government Akhir-Lahza newspaper that he has nothing to confirm these claims.

On Thursday diplomats at the United Nations told Reuters that Khartoum has been quietly cooperating with a coalition of Western states that are patrolling the skies in Libya pursuant to UN Security Council resolution (UNSC) 1973 adopted earlier this month.

However, the decision does not oblige states to cooperate with the enforcement of the NFZ and makes it optional. Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia have reportedly declined to participate. Only Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have publicly announced they dispatched fighter jets to join the coalition dominated by Western countries.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, neither confirmed nor denied that Khartoum had granted permission to coalition air forces.

"I cannot give you concrete information on this," he told Reuters, adding he did not believe "a final decision had been made" by his government.

Sudan has endorsed an Arab League resolution calling on the UNSC to establish a NFZ over Libya. The African Union (AU) however, in a statement this month rejected any form of military intervention.

Western warplanes have flown more than 300 sorties over Libya and more than 162 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired in the United Nations-mandated mission.

A popular uprising in Libya against leader Muammar Gaddafi started mid-February that quickly turned into an armed rebellion where opposition managed to overrun government forces in the East and control major cities including Benghazi.

Gaddafi’s forces reportedly unleashed its air force against the opposition in the cities they controlled resulting in large civilian death toll and injuries. Furthermore, eyewitnesses said that African mercenaries were used by the Libyan regime who are implementing a ’shoot-to-kill’ policy.

Khartoum may not have want its involvement made public for fear of alienating its Islamic base which is resentful of any association with the West particularly in the military arena even if they view the Gaddafi regime unfavorably. Reports of close cooperation between Sudan and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in places like Somalia and Iraq has already drawn criticism among the government supporters.

Libya borders Sudan and its western region of Darfur in which conflict between the Sudanese government and ethnic rebels killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.7 million since it erupted in 2003, according to UN figures.

Relations between the two countries have seen ups and downs particularly over the Darfur conflict. At one point Libya was accused of Sudan of aiding the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack on Libya in May 2008.

However, it was Gaddafi that pushed the AU to grant Bashir immunity from arrest in the continent despite an arrest warrant against him issued by the International Criminal, Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes.

Libya is currently hosting JEM leader Ibrahim Khalil after being refused entry by the Chadian authorities last year where he was based. Sudan has sought without success to have Libya expel him.

Bashir orders 5,000 cows as gift from Sudan to Egypt ahead of PM visit

March 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir granted Egypt 5.000 cows as a gift ahead of the visit on Sunday by the Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

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Cows are seen before they are slaughtered at an abattoir near Khartoum March 26, 2011 (Reuters)

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Khalid Moussa as saying that this was pledged during Bashir’s visit to Cairo earlier this month. Bashir was the first Arab ruler to visit Egypt following the removal of president Hosni Mubarak through a popular uprising that started in late January.

"During his last trip to Egypt (at the beginning of March), President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would give the Egyptians 5,000 cows as a present," Moussa told Agence France Presse (AFP).

"We will start sending the cows on Monday. There will be a ceremony beforehand at Al-Kadaru in north Khartoum," he added.

The London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat cited observers who said that this gift by Bashir was as celebration to the end of Mubarak’s era who ruled Egypt since 1981.

The government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website today launched a fierce attack on Mubarak’s regime saying it practiced blackmailing against Khartoum since the failed attempt on Egyptian president’s life in Addis Ababa in 1995 blamed on Islamists backed by Sudan.

It also said that the Cairo under Mubarak occupied the disputed Halayeb triangle on the borders, pushed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to impose sanctions on Sudan and hosted opposition groups in the 90’s that were seeking to topple Bashir’s government.

The Egyptian PM will be accompanied by the ministers of agriculture, electricity, irrigation and international cooperation. He is expected to visit Khartoum and Juba.

Talks will likely focus on the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) which would strip Egypt of its veto right over all upstream projects including irrigation and hydropower. Sudan has stood firmly in rejecting any amendment to the original treaty.

Egypt held dominant right on Nile water following powers granted by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain. Its subsequent 1959 deal with Sudan gave the two downstream countries more than 90 percent control of Nile waters.

The NBI signed in May 2010 by Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia will curb that right. Other affected countries, including Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were given one year to ink the deal.

Kenya signed shortly after the ceremony and Burundi signed earlier this month, the last possible day for signature.

Egypt says the river’s waters feed a farming sector accounting for a third of all jobs. Cairo fears a reduction in its water flow will bring closer the date on which population growth will outstrip water resources, now thought possible as early as 2017.

Under the original deal, Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters of water a year, the lion’s share of the Nile’s total flow of around 84 billion cubic meters.

Al -Bashir phones the Syrian President

Khartoum, March. 27 (SUNA) President of the Republic Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir , Sunday evening made a phone call with the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Bashar al-Assad, where they takled the Sudanese Syrian relations and a number of issues of common concern

 

President Al- Bashir was assured during the contact on the situations in Syria and he expressed his wishes that the security and stability prevail in Syria

 

Meanwhile ,the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Bashar al-Assad, expressed his commitment on the strong relations between the two countries

Sudan, Egypt signs eight documents on joint cooperation

Khartoum, March 27 (SUNA) - Sudan and Egypt have signed eight manuscripts on joint cooperation in various domains in the presence of Vice President, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Isam Sharaf

 

The documents, signed by the concerned ministers in the two sides included memos of understanding in the fields of the marine safety the executive program of the Social Development Fund in Egypt and Zakat Chamber in Sudan, exhibits, investment executive program on environment protection and cooperation on media

 

The minutes of the agreement of the Supreme Committee was signed by Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Vice-President of the Republic, and Dr. Isam Sharaf, Egyptian Prime Minister

 

The Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abu Al-Naja expressed, in the joint press conference with the Minister of International cooperation Dr. Al-Degair at the conclusion of the talks, appreciation over the positive outcomes of the talks, pointing out that that will affirm the strong political will of the two leaderships in the two countries to consolidate further the bilateral relations as to serve the interests of the two sister peoples

 

She said that the Egyptian Premier visit to Sudan came in a historical stage in the region, indicating that the two sides realized very important strides in the completion of partnership and integration between the two countries

 

Dr. Al-Degair reviewed the outcomes of the talks, referring to the distinguished relations of the two countries, affirming that the coming phase will witness reactivation of the fields of joint cooperation as well as implementation of all the joint agreements signed by the two countries

First Sudanese relief plane took off to Libya via Marsa Matrooh area

 Khartoum, March 26 (SUNA)- The first shipment of relief destined for Libya left Khartoum evening Saturday in the first flight of the air bridge organized by the Sudanese people to help Libyans in need of relief and medical supplies.

 

Chairman of the Higher Committee for supporting the Libyan people, Ibrahim Abdul Haleem, told the Sudan news agency that the air embargo imposed on Libya necessitates that the relief be transported via land through Marsa Matrooh land port .

 

He said the plane is carrying some 35 tones of relief to be distributed to t he Libyan people. Ibrahim has commended the role played by various organizations and public institutions to extend assistance to their Libyan people.

 

Sudan Diplomatic Mission to Cairo Warmly Welcomes Visit of Egypt Prime Minister to Sudan

Khartoum, March 25 (SUNA)- The Sudanese diplomatic mission to Cairo has greatly welcomed the decision of the Egyptian Prime Minister, Dr. Isam Sharaf, to launch his first abroad visit to Sudan next Sunday to complete the talks which he commenced during the visit paid by the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, to Cairo in early current March

 

The visit of President Al-Bashir was the first one paid by an Arab head of state after the Revolution of 25 January

 

In a statement it issued Friday, the Sudanese diplomatic mission in Cairo expressed its pleasure on the visit that the Egyptian Prime Minister and the accompanying high-level delegation will pay to Sudan

 

The diplomatic mission described the Egyptian Premier's visit to Sudan as coming in a critical turning point that necessitates consultation and coordination between the two sister countries

 

The statement pointed out that the eternal and historic ties between the two nations of the Nile Valley is a reality which was proven by the facts and events that happened in different stages of the history of the two countries and the solidarity shared between the two peoples which appeared clearly even during the most critical circumstances and difficult stances

 

The statement, which was signed by Ambassador Gen. Abdul-Rahman Siral-Khatim, reiterated the pledge of Sudan mission to Egypt to push ahead the strategic partnership between Sudan and Egypt toward reaching the stage of complete unity in fulfillment to aspiration of the two peoples of the Nile Valley and realizing the mutual interest

South Sudan cabinet approves ‘Sovereignty Symbols’ for emerging nation

March 23, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s cabinet has approved some of the proposed sovereignty symbols for the region, including the name of the would-be independent state, its flag, national anthem and its new currency, after long deliberations.

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The SPLA Music Band practicing the South Sudan National Anthem in Juba (Photo: Lomayat)

In an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday chaired by the region’s Vice President, Riek Machar Teny, the cabinet confirmed that the Republic of South Sudan, abbreviated as RoSS, would be the name of the country when it becomes independent in July. The name was initially approved last month during a meeting with participation of leaders from various political parties which included members of the executive.

The current flag of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), which was borrowed from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) since 2005, was also approved by the cabinet to remain the flag for the independent country.

South Sudan gained a high degree of autonomy from Khartoum in a 2005 peace deal, which also granted the region to right to self determination in a referendum. The vote, which took place in January saw an overwhelmingly result in favour of secession from the north.

The cabinet also approved the proposed national anthem in its current form, without amendments after it received approval last week by the Southern Sudan 2011 Taskforce - a group set up to prepare the region for independence.

Minister of information and official spokesman of the government, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the cabinet would now refer the issues to the parliament for further deliberations and final endorsement.

The cabinet also approved the name of the new country’s currency, which is to be called the South Sudan Pound. Discussions on its design were deferred for next meeting when a sample design can be made available to the cabinet for reference by the minister of finance and economic planning, David Deng Athorbei.

Citizens who spoke to Sudan Tribune expressed their reactions on the proposed features in the design of the new currency.

While it was suggested by members of the committee working on the design of the currency that the face of the first chairman of the SPLM, the late John Garang de Mabior, should appear on the face of the note of the currency, others from the public say it should instead be the current President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who will become the first President of the Republic of South Sudan 9 July 2011 that should have his face featuring on the currency.

Some others argued that the first politicians and leaders in South Sudan who initiated the southern struggle in 1947 should instead be the ones deserving the honour of appearing on the currency.

However, the majority of citizens in the public who spoke to Sudan Tribune said they rejected using the faces of individual leaders, whether past or present and preferred only historical or cultural symbols to be printed on both sides of the notes of the proposed currency.

“Why go for faces of individual leaders in the nation’s currency?” asked a student of the University of Juba, who wanted to remain anonymous.

“Historical symbols, cultural heritages and sources of our livelihood plus our beautiful rivers, mountains and forests are the common symbols that unite us as the people of South Sudan and should be the only ones featuring in the currency,” argued Thomas Laku, who works as an official in the government.

“Faces of individual leaders are not stable choices also because they would every time be subjected to replacements with new faces, depending on who comes to power and wants his or her face inserted in the currency,” he further argued.

The future of the Sudanese Pound, and what will happen in the transition before the new currency comes into circulation, is one of the issues that still need to be resolved in negotiations between Juba and Khartoum ahead of the South’s independence in July.

Sudanese president issues veiled threat to SPLM

March 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese presidentOmer Hassan Al-Bashir dismissed allegations made by the Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) that he and his National Congress Party (NCP) are aiding the renegade militias in the South to destabilize the semi-autonomous government there.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (AFP)

South Sudan will join the league of nations officially next July after its citizens voted almost unanimously to become an independent state in a referendum held last January inline with a requirement of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the North and South to end more than two decades of civil war.

But violence has erupted in different parts of the South since the vote’s results were announced and endorsed by the ex-foes stoking fears that the new state will not be sustainable and a source of regional instability.

Last week, the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum produced documents attributed to the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) detailing orders to arm rebels in the South.

Amum said that the plan for aiding Southern militias was under the direct supervision of president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.

But the Sudanese leader on Tuesday denied the allegations saying that the NCP signed the CPA when it had the upper hand on the battlefield and is committed to implementing its terms for the sake pf peace.

Speaking at the military academy in Omdurman, Bashir said that the government in the North will not start any war and subtly warned the SPLM against seeking a military confrontation.

"Whoever initiates war, will be the first to suffer," Bashir was quoted as saying, adding that war will use up all the resources that should be devoted to development.

The Sudanese president described the South’s claims as "lies" and urged the SPLM to stop repeating them. He accused unnamed officials in the SPLM of having external agendas.

The SPLM has announced last week that it will suspend the post-referendum talks with the NCP but reversed its decision later following mediation by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

But one of the contentious issues is the fate of the border region of Abyei which has witnessed one of the fiercest clashes recently that led to mass displacement.

The oil-rich area was supposed to hold its own referendum last January on whether it wants to join the North or South. However, disagreements between the SPLM and NCP on eligibility for voting stalled the process.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discussed the situation in Abyei on Monday after hearing from NCP and SPLM representatives.

Amum said he complained to the UNSC that the northern government in Khartoum is funding militias to destabilize Southern Sudan before it secedes. He disclosed that he asked council members to consider deploying a new peacekeeping force at the border between the two sides.

This request was previously made by SPLM chairman, and South Sudan president, Salva Kiir but was met with lack of enthusiasm given the long borders and the rejection by the NCP.

The Sudanese ambassador to the UN Dafalla Al-Haj Osman refuted the SPLM’s position saying that the south always blames the north for its problems.

"Whenever there are problems in the south, they blame the north for that," he said, insisting that the south’s own opposing groups are responsible for the recent violence.

Sudan’s NCP says its "cyber-Jihadists" ready to "crush" online oppositionists

March 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in north Sudan has stepped up rhetoric against internet-enabled dissent, warning youth groups calling for regime change online that the party’s “cyber-Jihadists” are ready to “crush” them.

In a meeting with members of the NCP’s “cyber-battalion” in Khartoum on Tuesday, the party’s vice-president in Khartoum State Mandur Al-Mahdi warned opposition and youth groups engaged in organizing anti-government campaigns through social networking-websites such as Facebook and Twitter against the consequences of their action, saying that his party would “crush” whoever stands in its way.

The ruling NCP, which seized power in Sudan in a military coup in 1989, has recently been facing a surge of dissent inspired by popular uprisings in Tunisia and neighboring Egypt as well as worsening economic conditions in the country following the secession of the oil-producing region of South Sudan in a referendum earlier this year.

The ruling party reacted violently to few attempts by youth and opposition groups to stage street protests in the recent past, using its security apparatus to detain and intimidate a large number of activists.

This week the NCP accused students loyal to rebel groups from Sudan’s war-battered region of Darfur as well as certain political figures of being behind small anti-government protests on Monday – the second since youth groups staged anti-government protests on 30 January.

Al-Mahdi accused those whom he termed as “residues of communism” and members of his party’s splinter group the Popular Congress Party of wooing support from “others” against their fellow countrymen.

He added that their attempts to topple the government via the internet would be crushed by the NCP’s “cyber-Jihadists” who are currently leading “online defense operations.”

In the run-up to anti-government protests in 30 January, a number of NCP supporters posted messages on Facebook-based pages of anti-government groups warning people against responding to calls for protests and accusing anti-government activists of executing “foreign agendas.”

Recent attempts to stage anti-government protests in north Sudan in a manner similar to the ones that toppled deeply-entrenched governments in neighboring countries have failed to take on a mass appeal and revealed a lack of organization among youth groups and mainstream opposition parties, some of which are currently engaged in power-sharing talks with the NCP.

Rebel movements agree to coordinate positions for peace in Darfur

March 23, 2011 (DOHA) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) agreed today in Doha to fully coordinate their positions in the Doha peace process for peace in Darfur and to prepare ways for their merger in the future.

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Azhary Shatta for LJM (L) and Ahmed Hussein Adam for JEM hold up a copy of the coordination agreement signed Tuesday 22 March in Doha (ST)

The peace negotiations between the two movements and the Sudanese government are deadlocked due to the disagreement over the administrative status of Darfur. Khartoum infuriated the rebels recently when it announced a referendum on the future of the region transgressing the framework agreements, which provide to discuss it with them.

Today’s agreement is seen a step forwards full unity of the two groups after their first rapprochement announced on 29 January when they committed themselves to work hand in hand for the first time in the Doha peace forum.

"We have agreed to unify our efforts, join our ranks and have full coordination between us; in the hope to reach a full unity in the very foreseeable future, and aiming at including all the resistance forces concerned in such unity," reads the agreement signed today by Ahmed Hussein Adam, a leading JEM figure recently appointed adviser for external relations and Azhary Mohamed Shatta LJM Chairman adviser.

The parties, who called upon the other rebel groups in Darfur to unite and denounce fragmentation, further said they will continue their discussion on the coordination along issues related to negotiations, media, politics and the field.

They also said they will set up "the appropriate committees and mechanisms" to achieve the declared goals.

The two groups stressed that a negotiated solution is the best choice to end the conflict. They further emphasized they are committed to the "Doha Forum as the sole venue for the negotiation process".

Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune that a joint delegation from the two signatories formally handed a copy of the agreement to the mediation today after the press conference held in Doha to announce the agreement.

He also stressed that peace remains a strategic option for JEM, adding "We are not here to obstruct the process but to create the needed conditions for a just and lasting peace. This is a message of hope for Darfur people who suffer since long years ago".

Khartoum was very critical of the return of JEM rebels to the negotiating table in Doha, saying they are not serious to reach an agreement to end the conflict and want only to hamper the talks with LJM.

Last week the mediation submitted four chapters to the government and the two rebel groups asking them to adopt it before to resume talks on the pending protocols. JEM despite the fact that these chapters were negotiated by the government and LJM gave its approval to many points and formulated some observations to others.

Divisions among Darfur rebels is one of the reasons hampering the settlement of the conflict. International community and Darfur civil society groups called on the different armed movements to unite for the interest of the region.

The two rebel groups reaffirmed today in their press conference held in Doha today that this alliance is strategic and will not only limited to the peace in Darfur but because they want Darfur people to be in the "driving seat" to determine the future of the Sudan.

In a parallel move, the Justice and the Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Minni Minawi issued a joint statement asserting to work for the unity of the resistance forces in Darfur.

They also called for the unity of all the political forces in the country to rid the country of Bashir’s government.

Ahmed Hussein said they are also consulting with the SLM led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur to gather all the rebel movements around one political platform.

Sudan ex-foes agree to resumption of talks, set deadline for resolution of Abyei impasse

March 19, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The leaders of Sudan’s north-south halves agreed on Thursday to resume suspended talks on post-secession arrangements and break the deadlock over the contested central area of Abyei ahead of the south’s official debut as the world’s newest nation in July this year.

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Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) meets First Vice President and southern president Salva Kiir in Khartoum January 27, 2011 (Reuters Pictures)

The oil-producing south Sudan voted almost unanimously in a referendum earlier this year to secede from the north with which it fought nearly half a century of intermittent civil wars which ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

Sudan president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and the south’s leader Salva Kiir Mayardit met on Thursday in Khartoum in an attempt to defuse rising tension between the two sides after the south on March 12 suspended talks with the north following an attack by militias it accuses the north of arming in the oil-producing state of Upper Nile.

The breakdown of north-south talks sparked international concern and stoked fears that the two sides might be on a collision course after the relatively peaceful conduct of south Sudan referendum. The talks aim to reach a settlement on a wide-array of issues including shares of oil resources, citizenship, sovereign debts and the status of Abyei region.

South Sudan army the SPLA clashed more than three times over the past week with armed militias it accuses the north-based government of supplying with arms. The south disclosed documents containing orders from Khartoum for the supply of arms to southern insurgents, but the north strongly denied the allegations and claimed that the documents are fabricated.

Thabo Mbeki, the former South African President leading the AU’s High-level panel on Sudan which is moderating north-south talks, told reporters in Khartoum on Thursday that Kiir and Al-Bashir reached an agreement to resume post-secession talks.

“It was agreed with the presidents that all of the outstanding negotiations will now proceed,” Mbeki said.

According to Mbeki, a joint military team representing the south and the north’s armies would investigate the veracity of the south-leaked documents alleging Khartoum’s support to rebel groups, and take action against whoever is involved in attempts to destabilize the south.

"If there’s any truth to any of those allegations, then necessary actions will be taken against whoever it is who could have been involved in any action which is intended to destabilize the government of South Sudan," Mbeki said.

The two sides set a deadline to break the deadlock over the status of the contested oil-producing region of Abyei before the end of March, and agreed to respect the monitoring of Abyei by UN peacekeepers who complained of restrictions on access to conflict-affected zones.

The turbulent region of Abyei also witnessed clashes this month between south Sudan police and members of the north-linked nomadic Arab tribe of Misseriya.

Abyei was supposed to hold a referendum to determine its status but the plebiscite was stalled due to disagreement between north and south Sudan over who is eligible to vote.

Algerian President Receives Message from President Al-Bashir

Algiers, March. 16 (SUNA)- The Algerian President, Abdul-Aziz Boutafliqa, has received a message from the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, conveyed to him by the visiting Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Abdul-Halim Ismail Al-Muta'afi

 

In a press statement after the meeting, Dr. Al-Muta'afi said that he acquainted President Boutafliqa on the situation in Sudan

 

He said that he conveyed the thanks of President Al-Bashir to President Boutafliqa over the continuous support of Algeria to Sudan

 

Al-Muta'afi said that he conveyed to President Boutafliqa the desire of Sudan to boost its cooperation with Algeria in the economic field, especially in the field of food

Dr. Nafie Calls on South Sudan Government to Stop its False Allegations against National Congress

Kosti, March 16 (SUNA)- Assistant of the President of the Republic and Deputy Chairman of the National Congress for the Party's Affairs, Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie, has called on Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM0 to halt its false allegations against the National Congress

 

Addressing a mass rally of Sufi sects at Al-Dabasi area in the White Nile, Dr. Nafie said that the National Congress looks forward for establishing good relations with the state of south Sudan

 

He said that the National Congress is keen to establish good relations with all the political and foreign forces on the bases of the lofty values that are derived from Islam

 

Dr. Nafie stressed that Sudan foreign policy depends on the nation's dignity, prestige, respect of human rights and rejection to hegemony and tyranny

 

He lauded the unique role being played by the Sufi sects in supporting the Islamic Sharia and the programmes of the National Congress in this regard. Meanwhile, the Wali (governor) of the White Nile State, Yousif Ahmed Al-Shanbali, commended the role of the Sufi sects in expanding and reviving the Quaran teachings all over the country

Mbeki appeals for resumption of negotiations between Sudan’s peace partners

March 15, 2011 (JUBA/KHARTOUM) — Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president and Chairman of the African Union (AU) High-Level Panel on Sudan has appealed to the leadership of the South Sudan to resume negotiations on post-referendum arrangements with its peace partner in the north, after last week’s suspension.

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President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir (L) and chair of African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, Thabo Mbeki (AFP)

Pagan Amum, secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Saturday announced his party has suspended all talks and contacts with the National Congress Party (NCP), accusing the latter of working to destabilize the emerging independent state of South Sudan.

Pagan said there was evidence indicating that the NCP has been supporting various militia groups in the South with the intention of carrying out a genocide in the region; a charge denied by the NCP officials.

His remarks followed waves of clashes that have rocked the south in the past few months raising fears in the region, ahead of the 9 July 2011 declaration of the region’s long-awaited independence.

The former South African president told reporters he remains optimistic that the two parties, who were signatory to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 will get back to the negotiation table and reach a consensus before the official declaration of the independence of Republic of South Sudan next July.

Addressing a press conference in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, soon after a consultative meeting he held with Salva Kiir, the South Sudan leader, Mbeki said his panel will convene another meeting as a "matter of urgency" with president of the Khartoum-based Republic of the Sudan, Hassan Al-Bashir to find ways of reviving talks between the two parties.

Mbeki’s intervention comes less than a day after the SPLM unveiled confidential documents detailing NCP’s alleged plot to overthrow the southern government by supporting, arming, training and financing militias opposed to the semi-autonomous region.

The documents, which spanned from 2008-2010 included confidential information involving the northern military high command, its army’s logistical department, intelligence units and the defence ministry.

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AU Panel chairman, Thabo Mbeki, shaking hands with South Sudan Vice President, Riek Machar, Juba, March 15, 2011 (ST)

During his meeting with the vice-president, Riek Machar, on Tuesday in Juba, Mbeki stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations in order to avoid any deterioration of the situation.

He further discussed with Machar issues that needed immediate attention and resolutions included the North-South borders, security as well as citizenship, and briefed the Vice President on the status of the negotiations prior to their suspension by the SPLM Secretary General.

Mbeki said the situation in Abyei also needed intervention from the Presidency.

Machar also briefed the AU envoy on the disengagement process between north and South Sudan, which will formally end with formation of two independent states on 9 July 2011.

Khartoum-based NCP party has consistently denied the SPLM’s accusations. In a statement issued on Monday, Ibrahim Gandoor, NCP’s political secretary said that, confronted by a large armed opposition, the SPLM was seeking a scapegoat for what is a southern problem.

However, the northern Sudan ruling party released on Tuesday a strong statement denouncing what it termed "fabricated documents" aiming to ignite hatred between the two peace partners and to provoke a return to war.

The NCP statement, focused mainly on the telephone tapping, said Pagan had already used a document he presented yesterday in the past to accuse Khartoum of monitoring telephone conversations between the SPLM leadership members.

The communiqué went to say that the ruling party does not use the national emblem (Falcon) in its official papers, as it was the case in yesterday document, stressing that there is no "Political Affairs Secretary" in the NCP as it was written in the document produced by Pagan but a "Political Relations Secretary".

The NCP accused the SPLM Secretary General saying "he and his group" used to promote "lies and fabrications" to exacerbate relations between the two ruling parties and expressed hopes that "the SPLM leadership would be aware of this point".

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