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August 2011 - Posts

JEM Commander in South Kordufan Sentenced to Death

Kadugli, August 28 (SUNA)

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( JEM) in South Kordufan , Brigadier. Al-Tom Hammed Tutu

The General Court in Kadugli chaired by Judge, Hashem Al-Toum has sentenced to death by hanging the Commander of the Justice and Equality Movement( JEM) in South Kordufan , Brigadier. Al-Tom Hammed Tutu.


 Brigadier Tutu who was arrested by the Armed forces following the joint operation with the SPLM in Al-Tesearea confessed that he was defeated by the Armed Forces in South Kordufan .

The rebel Tutu said he was assigned by the JEM to attack Al-Tese area after he moved from Raja, Wau,Gogryal then Bantiu until he arrived to the Nuba Mountains where he met the rebel Abdul Aziz Al- Helo, revealing that he received logistic and material support from the government of South Sudan .

 

Sudan Recognizes Libya's National Transitional Council

Sudan has officially recognized Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legal representative for the Libyan people, the local Al-Ray Al A'm daily reported Wednesday.

 

The statement congratulated the Libyan oppositions on constituting an advanced step that is beyond recognition, Al-Obaid Ahmed Murawih, spokesman of Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying.

"Sudan is working to enter into practical relations with the Libyan National Transitional Council," he added.

Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Monday, reiterating its support for the Libyan people and their revolutionary leadership to surpass the critical phase in Libya's history.

Sudan Welcomes Ethiopian Initiative for Solving Dispute in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile

Khartoum, Aug. 21 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, has declared Sudan welcome to the initiative of the Ethiopian prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, for solution of the dispute in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan and realizing stability at these areas.

 

In a statement to the press after his meeting Sunday evening at the Guest House with the visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister, President Al-Bashir described Zenawi as sincere friend to Sudan and keen to see stability and security prevail in Sudan, saying that Premier Zenawi remained overtly and clearly defending Sudan at the international and regional forums, and even at special meetings with officials on different fields.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, said that he had important talks with President Al-Bashir though which he presented an initiative to end the tension and to solve the dispute in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
He said that this step comes in the context of the confidence of Ethiopia that stability in Sudan is the stability of Ethiopia and that of all the countries at the region.
Premier Zenawi thanked President Al-Bashir for his understanding and welcome to the initiative, a matter which will contribute greatly to the success of his mission.
He said that Ethiopia will remain a friend to Sudan, affirming his keenness to present initiatives conducive to reaching peaceful solutions between Sudan and the State of South Sudan.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister arrived Sunday in Khartoum on a two-day visit.

Washington keep Sudan on the terrorism list

Khartoum, Sudan - The Sudanese government says it is not surprised by the decision of the US to keep the name of the country on the list of countries Washington considers sponsors of international terrorism. The American administration carries out an annual review of the list, which besides the Sudan, includes Iran, Cuba, The Democartic People's Republic of Korea and Syria.

Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Karti - Secretary of State (Clinton)

But despite signals by Washington that Sudan would be delisted, the US kept Khartoum within the ill-famous list. The first signal was that if Sudan signed the 2005 peace agreement Washington would delist it, but although the peace deal had ben signed, Sudan remains on the list.

Similar signals were sent to Khartoum as regards the South Sudan referendum, the independence declaration, the Darfur issue and the south Kordufan conflict.

'We have never placed much hope in America honouring their pledge' of removing Sudan's name from the American list of countries supportive of international terrorism, Presidential Assistant, Dr Nafi Ali Nafie, said upon his return from a marathon meeting with Egyptian politicians.

In 1993, four years after Omar Al Bashir took over in bloodless coup d'état, Washington considered Khartoum a sponsor of terrorism and has since never changed its stance.

'Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1993, Sudan remained a cooperative partner in global counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda (AQ) in 2010. During the past year, the Government of Sudan worked actively to counter AQ operations that posed a potential threat to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudanese officials have indicated that they viewed continued cooperation with the United States as important and recognized the potential benefits of U.S. training and information-sharing,' the US State Department said in a report on the renewal of the list.

The report recognized the efforts exerted by the government of Sudan in limiting taking n steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist groups within Sudan and has worked hard to disrupt foreign fighters’ use of Sudan as a logistics base and transit point for violent extremists going to Iraq.

It also commended Sudan's role in combating money laundering and in countering terrorist finance. It said Sudan was generally responsive to the international community’s concerns on terrorism and was generally supportive of international counterterrorism efforts.

But the report charged that 'nonetheless, elements of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, including al-Qaida-inspired terrorists, remained in Sudan, as gaps remained in the Sudanese government’s knowledge of and ability to identify and capture these individuals as well as prevent them from exploiting the territory for smuggling activities.'

Maintaining the name of Sudan in the list entails a host of economic, technological, military and political sanctions on Khartoum.

However Dr Nafi, the third highest ranking official in Sudan, after the president and vice president, said the decision to renew the sanctions has 'nothing new ... it is expected from the Americans…we have never placed much trust in America honouring its pledges or fulfilling is promises'.

U.S. names ambassadorial nominee to South Sudan

August 18, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The United States. president Barack Obama announced today his intention to nominate a senior official at the State Department to become the country’s first ambassador to South Sudan.

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United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs and ambassadorial nominee to South Sudan (AP)

The world’s newest nation came to light last month after its citizens voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from the Arab-Muslim dominated north. Washington was one of the earliest recognizers of South Sudan.

It was the U.S. brokered peace accord signed in 2005 between North and South Sudan that gave people of Southern Sudan the right of self determination.

The nominee, Susan Page, currently serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs.

The White House in a press release said that Page also served Regional Director for Southern and East Africa at the National Democratic Institute. From 2005 to 2007, she served as the Director of the Rule of Law and Judicial System Advisory Unit at the United Nations Peace Support Mission to the Sudan. From 2002 to 2005, Page was the legal advisor to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Secretariat for Peace in the Sudan.

Page has a doctorate in law from Harvard and has in Rwanda, Botswana and Kenya. Her nomination announced Thursday must be approved by the Senate which is currently in recess.

Bashir to declare Sudan’s new government lineup in late August

August 17, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir will announce a new government makeup that will see the country’s cabinet being halved and security apparatus bifurcated, according to officials from his ruling party.

Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir will announce a new government
Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir speaks after the signing ceremony of a peace accord with Darfur rebel group Liberation Movement and Justice (LJM) in Doha July 14, 2011 (REUTERS PICTURES)

Al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday announced that the new government will be formed in late August before Eid Al-Fitr holiday which follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

This will be Sudan’s first government formation since the country split in two last July when South Sudan declared independence in line with the outcome of the region’s referendum vote on independence held at the start of this year.

In an address to the parliament last month, President Al-Bashir outlined the features of his “second republic,” promising a trenchant policy of reforms and balanced development in a bid to remedy the country’s chronic concentration of wealth and power in the center.

Sudan also said it intends to cut government spending and perks as the country sails into economic uncertainties following the loss of 75 percent of the country’s oil production with the south’s secession.

Al-Haj Adam Yousif, the NCP’s political secretary, revealed that the 33 members of the current cabinet would be reduced to 15 ministers and the National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) would be split to two branches, one for domestic security and one for external security.

Spending on Sudan’s notorious and fairly bloated security watchdog, NISS, costs the country a great chunk of its budget. Sudan’s expenditure on defense is estimated to have risen from US$2.469bn in 2009 by 36.18% in 2010, according to a report produced by Research And Market in 2010.

Yousif said in statements to the independent Arabic daily Al-Ahdath newspaper that his party had formed a committee to craft recommendations for state restructuring and formation of the new government. He further said that the committee had finalised its recommendations and would refer them to Al-Bashir in the upcoming days.

According to Sudan Tribune’s sources, the committee’s report has recommended mergers between some ministries and elimination of others.

Sudan’s current cabinet is composed of 35 portfolios occupied exclusively by NCP members and associates. Opposition parties criticise what they deem as an excessively big government and extravagant expenditure on state officials’ perks.

Furthermore, the NCP’s committee report recommended the creation of three vice-presidents’ positions to be occupied by two individuals from the western region of Darfur and eastern Sudan respectively beside the current vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

The NCP official also said that the president was seeking to form a government that enjoys consensus among the people and political forces.

Al-Bashir’s party has been engaged in talks with the mainstream opposition National Umma Party (NUP), led by former prime minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani in order to reach a power-sharing deal.

But the talks have so far failed to produce results amid reports of disagreements and refusal by the NCP to offer meaningful concessions.

Other opposition groups, most notably the Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi, remain publicly committed to regime-changing agendas and voice opposition to dialogue with the NCP which they accuse of a long list of failures, including the country’s breakup and worsening economic conditions.

Yousif said that incorporation of the DUP and NUP into the government was still under discussion. However, he stressed that his party would not forgo its demand for slashing the cabinet and would not allot any portfolios to the two opposition parties in the new government even if they end up participating in the government.

He further admitted the existence of a gap between the stances of his party and those of the opposition but he added that the dialogue was still ongoing.

Meanwhile, an NCP official told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper said that Al-Bashir does not mind the participation of opposition parties in the cabinet with 30 percent of its seats as well as the establishment of an advisory council that includes representatives of the opposition.

However, the anonymous official said there would be legal difficulties in incorporating opposition parties in the parliament given that the members of the NCP-dominated parliament were elected in the disputed national elections of April 2010.

The NCP official further revealed that his party was facing a great deal of pressure due to the fact that many current ministers would lose their positions in the new cabinet makeup.

There are 77 federal and state ministers in the current government, with a dearth of technocrats and the majority being members of the NCP or parties aligned with the NCP.

Sudan slams ‘repetitive’ UN reports on South Kordofan’s abuses

August 16, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A new UN report has reiterated claims that human rights abuses allegedly committed during the conflict in Sudan’s state of South Kordofan may amount to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” and must therefore be fully investigated.

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U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a joint news conference with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti in Khartoum July 8, 2011 (REUTERS PICTURES)

The Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights released the long awaited report documenting and describing alleged mass atrocities committed in South Kordofan since the conflict there erupted in early June.

South Kordofan’s conflict broke out between Sudan’s army and rebels aligned with South Sudan which gained independence last month. The fighting quickly escalated into heavy aerial bombardment by Khartoum amid reports of attacks targeting the state’s African indigenous population of the Nuba which largely supports the rebels.

The SPLA claimed that Sudan’s army attempted to disarm its fighters though Khartoum on the other hand says it was SPLA units who instigated the fighting after they attacked a police station.

Despite Khartoum’s push for a military solution, it appears that both sides are now deadlocked in a military stalemate.

A UN official last week said that at least 200,000 people in South Kordofan have been killed, injured or forced to flee their homes and land since the fighting erupted.

Entitled “Preliminary report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan from 5 to 30 June 2011”, the new report underscored the gravity of the acts committed by Sudan’s army and its allied paramilitary forces in the region.

According to the report, “serious” violations of human rights law were committed in South Kordofan, including enforced disappearances aerial bombardments, forced displacement, abductions; house-to-house searches; arbitrary arrests and detentions; targeted killings and summary executions.

“If substantiated [the actions] could amount to crimes against humanity, or war crimes for which individual criminal responsibility may be sought,” the report said.

Identical allegations were cited in greater details in a report prepared by the UN Mission in Sudan.

The report, which leaked to the media in mid-July, spoke of “especially egregious” conduct by Sudan’s army and its allied paramilitary group known as the Popular Defense Forces, saying they “have targeted members and supporters of the SPLM/A, most of whom are Nubans and other dark skinned people.”

UNMIS, whose mandate was terminated by Khartoum on 9 July, recommended the establishment of a commission of inquiry or other appropriate investigative authority, including the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the violence in Southern Kordofan and violations of human rights and humanitarian laws and to identify the perpetrators or those who bear the greatest responsibility, with the view to bringing them to justice.

The ICC is already seeking to prosecute Sudanese individuals thought to bear the greater responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide it alleges were committed in the course of Sudan’s brutal counterinsurgency in the western region of Darfur, especially between 2003 and 2004.

The Hague-based court has issued arrests warrants for three Sudanese individuals, including the country’s President Omer Al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir denies any wrongdoing and denigrates the ICC as a tool of a Western conspiracy to dismantle his regime.The current governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun is also wanted by the Hague tribunal.

Meanwhile, the new report of the UN on South Kordofan abuses has elicited an angry reaction from Khartoum.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman Al- Obaid Marawih termed the information contained in the UN report as “biased and predicated on no evidence.”

He told Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) on Tuesday that the parties responsible for issuing such reports must refrain from supporting the “rebellion” and seek to engage in ongoing efforts to restore peace and stability to South Kordofan.

According to Muroah, the new UN report was nothing but a “repetition” of UNMIS’s report. He added that all these reports were a carbon copy of other reports produced by organizations actively supporting the rebels and the war against Sudan’s government.

The government’s spokesman said that the rhetoric about war crimes and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan ignores the facts which show that SPLA elements are the ones who tried to stage a coup against the results of the state’s gubernatorial elections and instigated the fighting by attacking government sites.

He further stresses that it was the state’s duty to repulse the rebellion and prevent it from achieving its political goals through armed struggle.

Nafie chides Sudan’s NCP defectors

August 14, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese presidential assistant and the ViceCchairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Nafie Ali Nafie had tough words for the party’s defectors calling them "frail hearted".

Nafie Ali Nafie
Sudanese presidential assistant and the deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Nafie Ali Nafie (Reuters)

The government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website quoted Nafie as saying during a meeting with NCP leadership figures and other parties that no person has done any favors to the ruling party or the Islamic movement.

He added that the leaders within the NCP should give credit to the organization for making them who they are and not vice versa.

Nafie went on to call those who departed the NCP as "frail hearted" and described the ones who reject the party’s consensus as "doomed".

The powerful Sudanese official urged his party members to stick to Shura (consultation) among themselves for decision making and refrain from creating lobbies and consecrating disagreements.

He also underscored the need for enhancing transparency so that the citizens are aware of the facts and eventually become more engaged in the struggle against conspiracies facing the country.

The statements by the senior NCP official indicate divisions within the ruling party though its extent is unknown. However, this is not the first time he scolded members of his own party.

In early 2010 and prior to the general presidential and parliamentary elections, Nafie said that any NCP member who attempts to dissent and object to the electoral nominations “will suffer and will have problems with us [NCP]”.

“There is no one too big in the party,” Nafie said adding that the NCP “will not break even if dissenters lead it to defeat”.

“Those who feel injustice will be given [a tablet] of Panadol” he said sarcastically.

More recently Nafie himself was a victim of divisions within the NCP.

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir last month berated Nafie for signing an agreement with Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) that was brokered by the African Union (AU) in late June.

The accord was aimed at paving the way for ceasefire in South Kordofan where fighting is still ongoing between the Sudanese army and SPLA units lead by former deputy governor Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu.

Bashir instructed the army to ignore the deal and continue the military offensive and arrest al-Hilu so he can be brought to trial.

Many observers in Sudan saw Bashir’s remarks as a huge embarrassment for Nafie who is a hardliner within the NCP.

Washington invites Sudanese parties to meet on Darfur conflict in September

August 12, 2011 (LONDON) --- U.S. Senior Advisor for Darfur Dane Smith today discussed with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) ways to energize efforts for peace in Darfur and proposed to hold a Darfur Forum in Washington next September.

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U.S. Senior Advisor Dane Smith during a visit to Darfur on 21 March 2011 (US State Department)

The US administration started a series of contacts with the Sudanese parties and international partners to consider the way forward after the signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) on 14 July.

Princeton Lymann, US special envoy for Sudan and the Senior Adviser for Darfur Dane Smith during the stakeholders conference held in the Qatari capital last May supported the Doha framework document as a basis for peace in Darfur but asked more talks between the Sudanese government and JEM.

However their efforts for a comprehensive and inclusive peace were rejected by Khartoum which pressed for the signing of a peace agreement with the LJM. Khartoum and JEM failed to resume talks as they came out with two different perceptions of the framework document. The former considers it as untouchable and the latter asks to open all the document for talks .

Smith met on Thursday in London a delegation led by JEM Legislative Council Speaker Tahir El-Faki to discuss the perspectives of peace in Darfur. He also suggested them to participate in Dafur Forum that his administration intends to hold in Washington next September.

The US diplomat said that Washington has no initiative but wants to gather the parties to the conflict to consider what is the next step. The government, JEM, and the two factions of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur and Minni Minnawi will be invited to the gathering.

Also, the State of Qatar which chairs the follow-up committee for peace in Darfur, the Ad Interim Mediator Ibrahim Gambari, and Burkina Faso’s foreign minister and former Joint Chief Mediator will be there besides other international partners.

Since the signing of Doha peace agreement between Sudan and LJM, the government delegation returned to Khartoum after announcing that JEM has three months to join the deal. Sudanese officials also stated that they can only discuss with JEM their political participation in the national and regional institutions and the security arrangements including the fate of its combatants.

The remaining members of JEM delegation will depart Doha on Saturday 14 August. Gambari told them last Saturday that Khartoum refuses their demand to open the document for discussions.

"Dane Smith praised JEM’s keenness to achieve peace in Darfur and keeping its delegation for a month after the signing of a peace deal between Khartoum and LJM," said Gibreel Adam Bilal, JEM spokesperson in a statement released today.

Referring to the recent developments in Sudan particularly the alliance between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and Darfur rebels, Smith said the US support such efforts but only when it means to achieve peace not to wage war.

Darfur rebels and the SPLM-N said they are negotiating an alliance to overthrow the government by all means. However, the Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi is mediating between the government and SPLM-N on how the two parties can resume talks over Southern Kordofan conflict.

Darfur follow-up committee which includes the US and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council is expected to meet also in September in Doha to discuss the implantation of Doha peace agreement and the next step towards the other rebel groups.

The void created by the absence of a designated mediator after the resignation of Djibril Bassole presses the international community to keep up their efforts for peace in Western Sudan. The continuation of the current tension in Darfur might be the prelude for a new cycle of violence there and the deterioration of the fragile humanitarian situation.

Smith met on Wednesday in Geneva with aid groups and organizations to discuss "how to support international efforts aimed at creating sustainable opportunities to improve the livelihoods of the Darfuri people while decreasing dependence on humanitarian assistance," said Mark C. Toner a spokesperson of the State Department.

Further, he met delegations at the UN Human Rights Council to discuss the renewal of the mandate of the independent expert.

China offers mediation between North & South Sudan

August 10, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – China is prepared to mediate between North and South Sudan in order to bridge difference in views regarding outstanding post-secession issues, a visiting official said today.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi speaks to the press as Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti (R) listens on following their meeting in Khartoum on August 8, 2011 (AFP)

The Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the offer at the conclusion of his two-day visit which took him to Khartoum and Juba.

Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti speaking to reporters along with Jiechi at Khartoum airport welcomed China’s initiative saying that Beijing is qualified to play this role given the acceptance and appreciation it enjoys from both sides.

This is the first visit by a senior Chinese official to the region since South Sudan became an independent state in early July. The people of Southern Sudan voted last January almost unanimously in favor of splitting from the North.

China owns multi-billion dollar investments in Sudan that are mainly concentrated in the oil sector. Sudan is one of China’s main oil suppliers.

The breakup of Sudan presents a dilemma for China as most of the oil reserves lie in the South while the pipelines, refineries and related infrastructure are in the North.

Khartoum and Juba are still negotiating the oil transit fees that should be assessed. Last week the North blocked an oil shipment belonging to the South and would not let it sail unless custom duties are paid. It was released a day later.

The Chinese top diplomat vowed to help both in developing their economies.

"Our two economies are there for each other and we want to see good cooperation in such areas like agriculture, infrastructure construction, oil production," Jiechi told reporters after meeting South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

"And we will give aid to the Sudanese people within our capacity to help uplift their living standards," he added, without being specific.

In an interview with South Sudan’s Al-Masier newspaper, posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website on Tuesday, Jiechi said his visit "gives testimony to the importance China attaches to cultivating friendship and cooperation with South Sudan".

He said that he conveyed an invitation from President Hu Jintao to Kiir to visit China in the near future.

Asked by Al-Masier how China would balance its relationship with the two, Jiechi said it has consistently supported and contributed to the peace process.

"We have always believed that the north and the south are interdependent, and we hope to see that - proceeding from the fundamental interests of their peoples and the stability of the region - they stick to the peace option and address the issues through dialogue," he said.

During the visit, Sudan and China signed an agreement for constructing of a railway line linking Sudan and Chad and Central African Republic (CAR).

Darfur, S. Kordofan rebels agree to overthrow Sudanese government, JEM rebuffs alliance

August 9, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South Kordofan and two factions from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in Darfur sealed an alliance with the publicized goal of overthrowing the government of President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and establishing a secular state in the country.

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New recruits for the SPLA attend a training session in a secret camp in the Nuba mountains of South Kordofan in July 2011. (AFP)

The Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) however distanced itself from the accord over the issue of the secular state and insisted instead that the focus should be the creation of a citizenship rights state.

Gamar Dalman, the media adviser to the SPLM leader in South Kordofan, told Sudan Tribune in a phone interview on Monday that the tripartite agreement was signed today in Kaoda, South Kordofan, by Ramadan Hassan Nimir from the SPLM-Kordofan, Abul Gassim Al-Haj representing the SLM-Abdel Wahid Al-Nur and Al-Rayah Mahmood on behalf of the SLM-Minni Minnawi.

He said the agreement "provides for the use of political and military means to topple down the regime of the [ruling] National Congress Party (NCP)" and movement towards a secular state in the whole of Sudan.

Dalman also emphasized that the alliance pact is open to all the other political forces in the country.

The SPLM-North reached a framework agreement with the Sudanese government brokered by the head of an African Union Panel Thabo Mbeki to negotiate a political partnership between the two parties and to discuss security arrangements.

But the Sudanese president came back a week later and rejected it. He also ordered the army to hunt down Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Southern Kordofan SPLM and bring him to justice.

The SPLM-North Sudan said after a leadership meeting on July 21st that included Chairman Malik Aggar and Secretary General Yasir Arman besides Vice-Chairman Al-Hilu that it would only resume talks with Khartoum if the latter accepts a mediated process.

The summit also declared that the SPLM will determine its political strategy including the principle of regime change within a month’s time.

Dalman said the rapprochement between the SPLM-North and Darfur rebel groups was initiated by the Secretary General Yasir Arman adding that he along with Aggar are now "rebels" against Khartoum. He also underlined that all the political forces were approached to join the alliance.

He pointed out that the issue of the secular state is the only guarantee for Southern Kordofan’s people who reject any other option in this respect.

He however said if Khartoum accepts to resume an internationally brokered process, they will bring the demands of their Darfurian allies and put it on the negotiating table with the NCP’s government.

JEM REBUFFS THE ALLIANCE OVER SECULAR STATE CLAUSE

A delegation of JEM rebels headed by its deputy chairman Ahmed Adam Bakheit was part of the talks held in South Kordofan. The rebel group, which took part in the fighting against the government troops alongside SPLM South Kordofan last month, refused to join the alliance over the principle of the secular state.

JEM spokesperson Gibreel Adam Bilal, told Sudan Tribune the secular state is not the most important issue at the present stage and the efforts should be directed at toppling the regime. He said their delegation emphasized that the future Sudanese state should be built on the basis of full and equal citizenship, as well as the separation of the religion and the state.

"However imposing the secularism is similar to the theocratic state and such decision should be decided by the whole Sudanese people," Gibreel said. He disclosed that JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim discussed this point in his telephone conversation with the SPLM Secretary General Yasir Arman on Sunday.

Bilal said that JEM’s position on the place of religion "is quite clear". He also underlined another divergence on the role of the political forces that refuse to carry arms against the regime. He said his group wanted a place be clearly designed for these forces to ensure their participation in the interim period.

But Ahmed Tugud JEM’s top negotiator stated to Sudan Tribune that their delegation is still discussing with other parties ways to resolve contentious issues related to the drafting of the document. He also criticized some rebel officials for leaking the contents of the agreement before it is finalized.

JEM is part in the Doha political process to end the Darfur conflict but refused to sign a peace deal with Khartoum asking to open direct negotiations on the seven chapters of a framework peace document, a matter that Khartoum refuses.

Ibrahim Gambari the Joint Special Representative and the interim mediator informed the rebel group in a meeting held in Doha last Saturday that Khartoum still refuses to open the whole document for talks and says it can discuss only JEM political participation and the security arrangements.

The JEM delegation is preparing to leave the venue of the peace process saying it will return if a new development occurs, showing its commitment to the Doha process to end the eight year conflict.

The two SLM groups of Al-Nur and Minnawi are not part of the Doha process. Al-Nur adopted recently a holistic approach saying Darfur crisis can only be solved through a regime change in Khartoum. While the government rejects to include in the Doha process Minnawi who signed the 2066 peace agreement in Abuja.

Dalman said that a statement by the signatories is in the works and will be put out on Tuesday with the text of the alliance pact.

In Khartoum the Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website, a media outlet close to the Sudanese intelligence service, accused the South Sudan government of sponsoring the meeting and claimed that the SLPA’s chief of staff, James Hoth, personally supports the military aspect of the integration of Darfur and Southern Kordofan rebel combatants.

Reacting to the deal, the NCP political officer, Qutbi al-Mahdi said the alliance wants to weaken the Doha accord signed with the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) on July 14th. He further said it proves the continued support from the SPLM to Darfur rebels.

President Al Bashir arrives in Ndjamena

Local news - political

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Khartoum, Aug 7 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al Bashir Sunday arrived in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, on a two-day visit to partake in the inauguration of the Chadian President Idris Deby, for new presidency term .

President Al Bashir was received by President Deby and a number of Chadian officials .

Chinese Foreign Minister Begins Visit to Sudan

Local news - political

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Khartoum, Aug. 7 (SUNA) - The Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiech, and the accompanying delegation arrived in Khartoum Sunday evening .
The Director of China Department at the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Isam Mutwali, and the Director of Ceremonies at the ministry received the delegation at Khartoum Airport .

In a press statement, Ambassador Muwali said that the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister comes in the context of the distinguished relations between the two countries .
He said that the Chinese Foreign Minister will meet during his two-day visit to the country with his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Ahmed Karti, and the President of the Republic on Monday .