October 2011 - Posts
Nayala, Oct. 28 (SUNA) The Chairman of the Transitional Regional Authority of Darfur(TRAD), head of the Liberation and Justice Movement(MLJ), Dr. Al Tijani Al Sissi has affirmed his support to the issues of the displaced persons and his keenness to achieve security and to provide them with the services to help them to return to their villages .
He pointed out during his address , Thursday, to the displaced persons in Kalma and Atash displaced camps , Nayala city, that he will give top priority tothe issue of the displaced, stressing that he will visit all the displaced persons and refugees camps in the neighboring countries beside his concern over securing the return of the displaced to their villages.
Meanwhile, the displaced in the two camps urged the chairman of the Regional Authority and the president of the republic to keep Kasha as Walli (governor) to the state for his adherence to peace , demanding in the same time to participate in power, affirming their desire to return to their home of origin .
On his part, the Walli (governor) of South Darfur State, Dr. Musa Kasha, has affirmed his support to the displaced and to achieve security and stability in the state.
October 26, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The foreign exchange reserves in Sudan are sufficient to cover three months of imports, a senior official in the central bank revealed in an interview.
- FILE - An official leaves after a news conference presenting Sudan’s new currency at the Central Bank headquarters in Khartoum July 16, 2011 (Reuters)
Speaking to the pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper edition published today the deputy governor of the Bank of Sudan (BoS) Badr al-Deen Abbas downplayed the recent sharp depreciation in the value of the pound against the dollar and other foreign currencies.
Abbas said that speculators are the ones who artificially boosted the price of the dollar but that the BoS intervention brought it to a more normalized level. He projected further stability in the Forex market.
The BoS official said that despite losing 75% of oil reserves after the south’s independence last July, the country can cover for the gap by charging the new state for using oil infrastructure in the north or through non-petroleum exports such as gold.
Sudan’s non-oil exports in the January-September period came to $1.58 billion compared with $1.21 billion for the January-August period in 2010, the central bank said last week. It did not give figures for January-September 2010.
North and South Sudan have failed to agree on how much the south should pay in oil transit fees. Khartoum has initially proposed $32 per barrel which was swiftly rejected by Juba.
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir warned of resorting to other unspecified options if agreement not reached with south by end of October.
Sudan desperately needs a steady source of hard currency and income to shore up its funding gap.
Abbas stressed that Sudan has enough foreign exchange reserves to cover three months of basic imports commodities but did not provide a figure. Sudanese officials refuse to disclose the value of Forex reserve holdings.
The World Bank figures show that Sudan only had one month worth of Forex reserves in 2009 which is the more recent available number.
The statement by the BoS deputy governor are more upbeat than ones made by his boss last month who said that Sudan needs $4 billion in the form of deposits from Arab central banks.
October 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The head of a Darfur rebel group was sworn in by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday as the head of the regional authority to satisfy one of the main deliverables of the Doha Darfur Peace Document (DDPD).
- The leader of Darfur’s Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) Tijani el-Sissi (Reuters)
The leader of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) Tijani el-Sissi, who arrived in Khartoum yesterday, told reporters after the swearing-in that this marks an important step towards implementing the peace accord signed in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar last July.
El-Sissi cautioned however, that LJM and the government have a long way to go which requires cooperation between the two sides while benefiting from views and experiences of Darfur stakeholders.
He said that Bashir instructed that priority be given for the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes.
The LJM chief noted many challenges ahead including mending the social fabric, reconstruction and development which he said requires ample resources. He disclosed that the government agreed to allocate $2 billion annually for that purpose.
El-Sissi said that the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) will be formed in the coming days after consultation with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
He urged non-signatories to join the DDPD and put down their arms so they can work together for reconstructing the war ravaged region.
In a related issue LJM chief negotiator Tadjadine Beshir Niam, confirmed participation in a forum being held in Washington on Darfur peace which would witness participation of rebel groups that refused to sign the agreement.
The Sudanese government said it will boycott the meeting scheduled in mid-November and warned that the gathering will undermine the Doha agreement.
However, US officials insist that the meeting does not aim to launch a new initiative or to replace the Doha venue but intends to discuss ways to revitalise the process and include the other rebel groups in the talks.
Qatar’s state minister of foreign affairs Al-Mahmood has revealed his country’s approval of the forum and its intention to participate in it during a phone conversation he had with US special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman.
October 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government on Thursday renewed its support to the Libyan people and the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) following confirmation that the country’s ex-ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi has been killed.
- Libya’s deceased leader Muammar Gaddafi (Reuters)
Libya’s former strongman was killed after being captured by the Libyan fighters he once scorned as "rats," cornered and shot in the head after they overran his last bastion of resistance in his hometown of Sirte. But details on how he appeared alive on video before later declared dead remain unclear.
TV footages showed Gaddafi, though covered in blood, alive and surrounded by rebel fighters.
Libya’s NTC said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head, the prime minister said.
Gaddafi’s death marks a dramatic end to his four decade rule which faced a popular uprising last February that quickly turned into an armed rebellion which managed to control the eastern half of the country.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) authorisation of a ’No Fly Zone,’ enforced by the NATO, was a decisive factor in empowering rebel troops on the ground to eventually topple him. Many countries, especially in Africa accused NATO of overstepping its mandate and siding with the rebels to overthrow the regime.
Sudan had reportedly secretly given NATO permission to use its airspace in the course of its Libya operations.
The state minister of information Sana Hamad was quoted by Sudan official news agency (SUNA) today as saying that the government hopes this day “will mark the beginning a new history for the free, neighbour and sister Libya.”
Hamad added that Sudan looks forward to seeing the Libyan people working for the establishment of a “united and strong country that will be an effective element of regional stability.”
Another Sudanese official made an explicit sign of relief over Gaddafi’s death.
"It was expected," said Amin Hassan Omer; head of Darfur Peace Follow-up Desk to national TV.
Omer said that Gaddafi played negative roles in Darfur during the conflict years.
"Gaddafi sets the fire and then works to put it out [in Darfur] so that he appears like a hero," he said.
Mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Sudan’s government in 2003, accusing it of marginalising the remote western territory.
Khartoum mobilised troops and mostly-Arab militias to crush the uprising, unleashing a wave of violence that Washington and some activists have called genocide. Khartoum dismisses the accusation.
Fighting has declined since the early days of the conflict but there have been continued clashes between government troops, militias, bandits, tribes and rival rebel factions.
October 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on Wednesday offered a more detailed assessment of the economic challenges facing the country in one of his most candid speeches on the topic to date.
- Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (Reuters)
Addressing an economic forum at the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Bashir underscored the negative impact created by the secession of the oil-rich south last July.
The Sudanese leader said that losing oil as a major source of revenue has led to a budget deficit and an unfavorable balance of trade which he said put the government in the dilemma of needing to raise new revenues without having to raise taxes.
"How do we bridge the gap...without increasing taxes? We need to broaden the tax base to tax those outside the tax system," Bashir said.
He also stressed that reducing government spending is needed along with seeking more revenue sources in order to adjust with the new economic reality.
Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves after the south became an independent state which fueled an unprecedented economic boom since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
But analysts say that Khartoum mismanaged the oil wealth by overspending on security organs and forfeited an opportunity to invest in agricultural and industrial sectors to diversify the economy.
In its World Economic Outlook published last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a negative real GDP growth for Sudan; -0.2% in 2011 and -0.4% in 2012. This is down from the 6.5% growth achieved in 2010 and an average of 6.7% in the years 2003-2009.
Sudanese officials are hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon with the landlocked south on how much the new state should be charged for using the oil pipelines to export its crude through Port Sudan.
Khartoum has reportedly asked South Sudan for $32 per barrel which was swiftly rejected by Juba and described as "daylight robbery". The two countries are set to soon resume negotiations on the issue under the auspices of an African Union (AU) panel headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Bashir called for boosting export levels and local production to ease growing pressure on the already low levels of foreign currency reserves. Earlier this year the government has placed restrictions on imports and curtailed the amount of hard currency Sudanese citizens can buy.
Sudan’s non-oil exports in the January-September period came to $1.58 billion compared with $1.21 billion for the January-August period in 2010, the central bank said on Wednesday. It did not give figures for January-September 2010.
Exports of gold, the key earner on the export list, reached $977.41 million in January-September this year, up 33 percent compared with January-August 2010, it said.
The central bank did not say how much Khartoum made from oil exports. Last year the whole of Sudan made around $10 billion from oil, which was shared equally between north and south.
In recent months the black market for foreign currency has flourished pushing the Sudanese pound to deteriorate to record levels.
The Sudanese president disclosed that a meeting is held every week by ministers dealing with the economy to monitor the situation.
However he noted that the entire world is going through economic turmoil which he said is a result of capitalism.
"Our recommendations are not for lifting the Sudanese economy from the immediate crisis, but to research and find treatments for the suffering of the world now after the failure of the system of capitalism, and finding an exit by returning to God for a way out of the severe economic crisis, and move away from [charging] interest because it is [like] fighting against God” Bashir said.
The Sudanese president also slammed states in the way they handle investments and implored on them to show more seriousness in attracting investors and removing any hurdles in that regard.
He also expressed surprise at the large numbers of foreign workers inside Sudan.
"We have unemployment and there are no jobs, and at the same time we have a large number of foreign laborers," Bashir said.
"This creates social and economic problems, and these are the problems we want to solve” the Sudanese president added.
The IMF estimated unemployment rate in Sudan at 13.4% in 2011 but projected this figure to decline to 12.2% in 2012.
Many observers and pro-government figures have warned that the worsening living situation for many Sudanese in the form of rising food prices and other necessities could push the country closer to a popular uprising similar to other countries in North Africa.
However, Sudanese officials have routinely dismissed this possibility.
Khartoum, Oct 19 (SUNA) - President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Basher received, at his resident, Tuesday the Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Origin. Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani .
Al-Mirghani said in press statements that the meeting discussed the current political developments and means for curbing the foreign intervention in Sudan's internal Affairs, describing it as fraternal .
On the progress of work at the NC and the DUP joint committee, he said some of the committees competed their assignments while others are still on sessions, affirming the DUP commitment to contribute to the solution of the problems facing the home land .
Khartoum, Oct. 16 (SUNA)- Sudan Embassy to Washington has issued a statement on the address given by the US Congress member, Frank Wolf, in which he called on the American President Obama to sanction Malawi for its hosting to the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, who participated at the recent Summit of the Common Market for East and South Africa (COMESA).
- Embassy of Sudan Washington D.C
Through his address, the US Congressman called for dismissal of Malawi from the program Millennium Challenge Cooperation.
The statement of Sudan Embassy has praised the courageous stance of the President, government and people of Malawi who refused to succumb to the American pressures.
Sudan Embassy has called on the US Congressman to direct his efforts and genuine battle to convince the American administration sign the Rome Charter to become a member of the International Criminal Court firstly before attacking the countries that do not bow to ICC hegemony.
Sudan Embassy to Washington indicated that the friends of the Congressmen, frank Wolf, from Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) have motivated him to adopt such a position, adding that these SPLM elements have themselves fuelled the sedition in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile through support from the American tax payers and perpetrated the killing of innocent Sudanese nationals and displacement of thousands of them.
The embassy's statement said that the United States will move ahead in the path of its isolation if managed to respond to the call of Frank Wolf and the like.
Sudan Embassy to Washington stated that it will distribute its statement as widely as possible at the diplomatic, political and media levels, including the US State Department.
Lilongwe, Oct 15 (SUNA) - president of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Basher has affirmed Sudan's commitment to work for the implementation of the COMESA principles, referring to the steps taken so far by the country to achieve its goals .
- Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir (COMESA)
President Al-Basher addressing the 5th COMESA Summit, Friday, reviewed the concerns of the African continent, COMESA Region and Sudan's efforts to maintain peace and security as basis for the realization of economic development .
He underlined the efforts exerted by Sudan to complete peace process and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, adding that Sudan fulfilled all its commitment concerning the holding of the Referendum for South Sudan which led to the secession of South Sudan.
The President indicated that Sudan was the first country to recognize the new-born state and the participation of the country in the celebrations marking the Declaration of the Republic of South Sudan in July 9 2011 .
The President appreciated the COMESA Member states for the support they extended to make a success the peace process, expressing commitment to solve the CPA's pending issues through mutual understanding and cooperation in all domains to realize the joint interests .
October 14, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir has bragged about his country’s ability to emulate Israel in breaking resolutions of the UN Security Council (UNSC), vowing to expel those who attempt to implement the latest UNSC’s resolutions on Darfur’s peacekeeping mission.
- Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir (FILE)
Al-Bashir, who was addressing a conference of the youth sector of his ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday, said that Sudan had successfully defied the UNSC’s resolution number 2003 to amend the mandate of the UN-AU Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as resolution number 1706 to expand the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to include deployment in Darfur.
“They can shove the new resolutions” Al-Bashir said, reiterating his threats to expel whoever is tempted to implement the resolution 2003.
“The resolution 2003 through which they tried to fool us by amending the mandate of UNAMID will not be implemented, and we will chuck out whoever tries to do so,” Al-Bashir declared.
Sudan has vehemently rejected the UNSC’s resolution number 2003 which extended UNAMID’s mandate for one year and instructed the mission to coordinate closely with the newly independent state of South Sudan, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Al-Bashir also declared that Sudan’s new constitution would clearly reflect the “Sudanese identity” whose religion is Islam, adding that Muslims now make up 98 percent of the population after South Sudan, which is mainly Christian, seceded in July.
“We want to build a Qur’nic society…our efforts in the upcoming period will be concentrated in consolidating national identity and fighting tribalism,” he added.
This is not the first time Al-Bashir indicated his ambitions to transform Sudan into an entirely Islamic country. In December last year, one month before South Sudan’s vote on independence, Al-Bashir declared that if the south seceded as expected, Sudan would amend its constitution to make Islamic Shari’ah the only source of lawmaking and Arabic as the official language.
No negotiations with rebels in South Kordofan, Blue Nile
In his Thursday’s address, Al-Bashir maintained his touch stance towards the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), which is fighting the country’s army in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
“There will be no negotiation with the SPLM-N because it was the one that started the war” he said, adding that ending the state of war in the two states is contingent on the SPLM-N’s acceptance of the elections results in South Kordofan and surrendering its arms to the Sudanese army.
“There are no more negotiations or protocols, this is our position,” Al-Bashir declared.
The war in South Kordofan erupted after the SPLM-N rejected the results of the state’s gubernatorial elections which declared the NCP’s candidate Ahmad Harun as winner against the SPLM-N’s candidate Abdel-Aziz Al-Hilu. The SPLM-N also resisted attempts by the Sudanese army to disarm its fighters.
October 12, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday experienced massive protests prompted by lack of public transport, leading to rare acts of vandalism and heavy deployment by police forces, eye witnesses.
- A photo of the protest published by the Facebook-based page of Youth For Change
Public discontent over worsening economic conditions and the government’s perceived failures has recently given rise to increased dissent and concomitant protests in Sudan’s sprawling capital.
The wave of intermittent protests started in late September in the Burri area of eastern Khartoum and later spread to several parts of the capital. However, security and police forces managed to contain and prevent the protests from gaining momentum using their usual heavy-handed approach.
According to eye witnesses, the largest protest to date erupted on Tuesday in and around Jackson square - the epicenter of public transport in downtown Khartoum - after thousands of citizens found themselves without buses to take them home.
The witnesses stated that students of Sudan University for Science and Technology, whose western campus is close to Jakson Square, began to gather in the street and march towards Al-Inqaz Bridge which leads to Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.
The witnesses also said that the protesting students and citizens were chanting anti-government slogans and clogged traffic on the bridge for several hours.
According to the witnesses, the protestors burned a car on the bridge and later attempted to burn an office of the national electricity corporation but police forces repelled them. The protestors were also shattering windscreen of cars, the witnesses added.
Meanwhile, anti-riot police units deployed heavily on all roads leading to the center of the tripartite metropolis as thousands of citizens had to go back home on foot.
Doha, Oct. 11 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, have praised the firm ties between the two countries in all fields.
In joint press statements the Emir of Qatar, President Al-Bashir said that his visit to Doha comes in the context of the consultations for the coming stage for realizing peace in Darfur.
He described the relations between Sudan and Qatar as distinguished and deeply-rooted, referring to the efforts of Qatar for solving Darfur issue.
He said that the relations between Sudan and Qatar are witnessing progress, especially in the economic and investment fields and the linking and infrastructural projects in Sudan in general and Darfur especially.
On the visit paid by the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, to Khartoum, President Al-Bashir said that the talks between him and Kiir were cordial and witnessed agreement on the pending issues in the economic and social fields.
He said that agreement was reached on formation of committees to settle the pending issues, adding that a time limit was set for these committees to finalize their tasks.
Khartoum / 10/10/2011
Albasir tells about eminient solution for the suspended issues between the north and south .
Deputy parliament speaker : the SPLA movements has affected the agricultural season .
One of the accused by Mubarak's Killing attempt : we didn't had training in Sudan .
An agreement banning any aggressions and a joint mechanism for humanitarian work in Abei.
Taha : the Sudan is targeted by foreign bodies through its borders .
Joint committees between north Sudan and Juba to solve the suspended issues between the two states .
Albashir : the talks were dominated by concilation and insistance to solve all the problems .
ALBASHIR: Kharatoum and Juba will sign a final agreement to solve the suspended issues .
Taha : a foreign conspiracy to intrude in Sudan's borders .
Eritrea deny the existence of military groups in the east .
Khartoum preconditioned the solving of Kurdufan and the Blue Nile crisis to cooperate with Juba .
Albashir leaves to Aldoha today .
Silva : by our agreement with Khartoum we will beat peace enemies .
Asmara deny any existence of military groups in Eritrea to launch attacks against east Sudan and deny any tension in the relations between the two countries .
The first group of the Sudanese pilgrims ( Hajeej ) leaves today, and The minister of transportation directs for surpassing the former negatives .
Albashir to address the new parliament session today .
The first pilgrims ( hajeej) group arrived at Jehda port .
The graduation of the military college students tomorrow .
Albashir leaves to Doha to day and the economic problems on top of the Agenda .
The commencement of affiliating six hospitals to Khartoum state .
The implementation of 9 water networks and 6 new wells in Omdurman area .
Khartoum locality affirms that there is no increase in the services fees in the next balance .
The north and south agreed on a general framework to solve the suspended issues .
Postponement of Ala'arabi visit to the country .
The government looking forward for producing 7 tons of gold .
The formation of joint committees in all the spheres .
Hajo : a trend to establish a bearue in the presidency to combat corruption .
Albashir to address the legislative corporation today.
Gambari warns from the unity of Darfur rebels with the south .
Albashir : we will soon celebrate solving the suspended issues with the south .
The execution for the killer of Alazhari Mosque Imam .
Silvakiir :me and my brother Albashir wo'nt allow returning to the war square .
Gedarf state : two died and tens injured in an accident at the gold mining areas
The release of UNMID employees who were arrested in northern Darfur
October 10, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit on Sunday concluded his visit to the Sudanese capital Khartoum and held a press conference with his counterpart Omer Al-Bashir, with both pledging peaceful dialogue and no return to war.
- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) listens as his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir speaks during a joint news conference, before Kiir’s departure at Khartoum Airport October 9, 2011 (REUTERS PICTURES)
In the press conference at Khartoum’s airport, Kiir reiterated commitment to hammering out agreements with Sudan on the issues that pitted the two countries against each other since the south gained independence from Sudan in July this year.
“We are committed to initiate dialogue and reach solutions regarding issues of peace, the situation of Abyei as well as security and economic aspects,” Kiir said, as quoted by Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA)
He further said that they are committed to guarantee that none of these issues would take north and south Sudan back to twar, adding that the prosperity of both nations lies in peaceful dialogue which would enable them to defeat “enemies of peace” on both sides.
Kiir’s visit to Khartoum, which started on Saturday, was his first since the south gained independence in line with the outcome of a vote that was promised under the 2005’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended more than two decades of Sudan’s north-south civil wars.
The two countries, however, remain deadlocked over a number of issues including the status of the border region of Abyei, which is claimed by both, and the fees Juba should pay to Khartoum for the use of its pipelines infrastructure and refineries to export southern oil.
Addressing the press conference, Al-Bashir noted that Sudan and South Sudan had formed joint committees and given them deadlines to reach final solutions to the pending issues. He further said he expects the said committees to conclude their work in a brief period and sign a final agreement to resolve all issues in security, military, political, economic and social aspects.
The Sudanese president further stressed that achieving security and stability between the two countries was deeply rooted in the commitment of both countries to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of each other.
He further called for establishing “soft borders” between the two countries in order to allow movement of traders and citizens.
Tension between Sudan and South Sudan escalated following the eruption of clashes between Sudan’s army and former comrades of the south’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the north’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Khartoum accuses the south of supporting the rebellion of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in the two states, a charge Juba repeatedly denied.
The two sides also remain at loggerheads over Abyei region, with Khartoum saying it will not withdraw its troops from the region it occupied in May this year region unless a UN-mandated mission of Ethiopian peacekeepers –agreed between the two countries in June – is fully deployed.
On the positive side, the two countries signed an agreement last month to jointly monitor shared borders and open ten crossings to allow movement.
Meanwhile, a press release by Sudan, published on the website of SUNA, said that the two countries had agreed to establish a committee for political dialogue between their ministries of foreign affairs.
The release also said an agreement had been reached to prevent any hostile action and instruct security units in both countries to verify current accusations and halt them immediately.
According to the release, the two countries also agreed to revitalize their joint committees under the aegis of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to resume discussions over financial and economic issues, including oil.
It also said that if the AUHIP-moderated talks failed to achieve progress, the two sides should engage each other directly and without a mediator.
Earlier this month, few days ahead of Kiir’s visit, Al-Bashir said Sudan was committed to dialogue with the south but without foreign mediation.
“With regards to Abyei area” the press release added “an agreement was reached to form a joint mechanism for humanitarian operations and the two sides agreed to complete the implementation of the agreement on “temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei Area.”
The two sides also agreed that disagreements over border areas would be discussed at the level of presidency.
October 9, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese leaders from the North and the South vowed to work closely together to resolve their differences through dialogue and enhanced cooperation between the two countries and ruled out return to war.
- Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir, right, walks with South Sudan’s resident Salva Kiir, left, after his arrival in Khartoum, on Saturday Oct.8, 2011. (AP)
President Salva Kiir Mayadrit arrived Saturday to Khartoum where he was warmly welcomed by his Sudanese counterpart Omer Hassan al-Bashir in his first visit as President of the Republic of South Sudan.
Despite the independence of the South Sudan, the two countries are yet to agree over many issues that remained unresolved such as Abyei, border demarcation, debit, fee of oil exportation through Port-Sudan and use of pipeline. Also since June there is a war in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile where the South Sudan ruling party (SPLM) is openly accused of supporting their former comrades in these north Sudanese regions.
Bashir and Kiir were keen today to show their commitment to settle all these issues through dialogue. They also meant to send positive signals to ease the strained relations since the independence of south Sudan in July 2011.
"By the same good will (of Naivasha talks), we will not go back to war", said Bashir in a speech before the two delegation after a close-door meeting between the two leader. The Sudanese president further expressed his appreciation to the visit which "has assured us of this political will".
"if we lost unity, at least we should win the peace," he stressed. However he said that Juba is to be blamed because of "harboring elements hostile to Sudan’s stability". Bashir was referring to the leadership of SPLM-North.
In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly last month, Salva Kiir, denied interfering in Sudan’s "domestic conflict situation".
Today Kiir reiterated his commitment to dialogue with Khartoum over unresolved issues and suggested to activate direct channels. "Like you, we are committed not to go back to war". "We are committed to find solutions", he added.
"Now if it happened that there are any elements that are taking us back to that square, I think all of us should then take such people as the enemies of our peoples", he pointed out.
Analysts and foreign diplomats in Khartoum say this visit should be seen as a first step in a "confidence building" process between the two parties who have to learn who to deal as two independent states.
The five committees formed by the two sides for talks over Abyei, border, debit, and oil, might continue their works and future meetings might take place in Juba during the upcoming weeks.
However, a special focus was given Saturday to the security meetings where the issue of rebel groups in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Darfur are discussed. It was also noted that the Sudanese side was headed by defense minister Abdelrahim Hussein while the South was represented by security minister Oyay Deng Ajak.
October 8, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit arrived today’s afternoon in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in the first visit since his country gained independence from Sudan in July this year.
- Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (R) welcomes his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir (C) during his arrival at Khartoum Airport October 8,2011 (REUTERS)
Kiir was received at Khartoum’s airport by his Sudanese counterpart Omer Al-Bashir and a number of ambassadors and diplomats, according to Sudan’s official news agency SUNA.
He was accompanied by South Sudan’s minister of cabinet affairs, Deng Alor, as well ministers of oil, finance and foreign affairs.
An advance delegation of eight ministers from South Sudan’s government arrived earlier on Friday in Khartoum, state media also reported.
Kiir’s visit aims to discuss a host of contentious issues between the two nations, including the contested region of Abyei and oil.
The visit also comes against the backdrop of fighting in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile between the country’s army and forces previously aligned with South Sudan.
Negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan over issues of transit fees the south should pay to use Khartoum’s pipeline infrastructure to export its oil are yet to produce an agreement.
Diplomatic relations further frayed following the refusal of both nations to withdraw their troops from Abyei region which has been occupied by Sudan’s army since May.
South Sudan, which says it withdrew troops from Abyei, called on the UN Security Council on Thursday to set a deadline for the withdrawal of Sudan’s army from Abyei or hold Khartoum accountable.
Sudan said it intends to withdraw troops but said this would only happen if the UN-mandated mission of Ethiopian peacekeepers is fully deployed.
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