October 2012 - Posts
October 31, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti said they foiled attempts by Abyei’s sons to refer the issue of the disputed area directly to the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) and called for a negotiated solution to settle the issue.
- People displaced from Abyei in Agok, south Sudan (file photo/Reuters)
Ali Karti, was speaking about bargaining that took place in Addis Ababa during a ministerial meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) held on 24 October to discuss to discuss Sudan South Sudan cooperation agreement of 27 September and remaining unresolved issue including Abyei and border disputed areas.
The foreign minister who represented Sudan at the meeting is the first official to comment on the outcome of the AUPSC reunion which decided to give the two parties additional six weeks to agree on a negotiated solution on the final status of Abyei and to back the proposal made by the African mediation if they fail to strike a deal.
In a press conference held at the headquarters of foreign ministry in Khartoum, Karti praised the cooperation deal and reiterated Sudan commitment to implement it, but he denounced moves by Abyei’s sons, supported by the "American Administration" as he said, aiming to refer Abyei issue to the Security Council.
Karti further said that Khartoum after tense dealings with the AUPSC members successfully stopped attempts spearheaded by the United States and some western countries, mobilised by Abyei’s sons according to the minister, seeking the direct referral of Abyei issue to the UNSC.
He further said that Sudan managed to transform the proposal to be the basis for negotiations and to give additional six weeks to the mediator to seek a consensual solution over it.
The Sudanese official added that they also convinced the Council on the need to take into account the local opinion, to establish Abyei administration and to avoid imposing solutions.
Following its meeting of 24 October, the AUPSC asked the two parties to negotiate within a six week period "with the facilitation of the AUHIP, on the basis of the AUHIP’s Proposal on the Final Status of Abyei Area of 21 September 2012, seeking to reach consensus on the Final Status of the Abyei Area."
If they fail to reach a final deal " Council will endorse the 21 September 2012 Proposal as final and binding, and would seek the endorsement by the UN Security Council of the same;" added the communiqué issued by the African Union at the end of the meeting.
Karti reiterated Sudan’s rejection of the proposal the mediation made in September which calls to hold a referendum in October 2013 without the nomads of Misseriya tribe.
Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki said in his proposition that only the Misseriya residing in the area can take part in the referendum besides the Ngok Dinka who are the dominant majority.
Edward Lino, former co-chair of Abyei Steering committee, told London based Asharq Alawsat that they have already engaged the preparations to declare Abyei as the 11th state of South Sudan stressing that the referendum will certainly be in favor of joining the new nation.
He also said the expected visit of President Omer Al-Bashir to Juba mainly aims to divert attention from Al-Yarmouk bombing and to break Sudan’s isolation in the international community through south Sudan.
Karti told reporters that the meeting of the joint security committee will be held in Juba on Monday 5 November. The meeting was supposed to take place immediately after the signing of 27 September agreement but was delayed several times.
He pointed out that this meeting will be a blow to those who seek to abort the cooperation agreement, adding that the shelling of Kadugli by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) is "a desperate attempt to confuse the deals signed by the two countries".
Khartoum recently announced that Al-Bashir will visit Juba soon and some reports said that the visit might coincide with meetings of the joint security committee.
October 30, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Two Iranian warships arrived at Sudan’s main Red Sea outlet on Monday, one week after a Sudanese military factory rumored to be linked to Tehran was hit in an airstrike Khartoum accuses Israel of conducting.
- Iranian helicopters and warships take part in maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz in 2000. (AFP File Photo)
The Iranian official news agency, IRNA, reported that the ‘Shahid Naqdi’ corvette and a freighter left from a port in southern Iran last month docked in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
According to IRNA, the ships arrived to “convey a message of peace and friendship to the region’s countries and to provide safety at sea in light of maritime terrorism”
Iranian media also reported that the Navy’s 22nd fleet was dispatched to the coasts of Djibouti and the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb in late September.
The Iranian move comes just a week after an airstrike hit Al-Yarmook military factory in the capital Khartoum. Sudan says Israel was behind the attack.
Israel says Iran is developing nuclear weapons and threatens to strike against the country’s nuclear facilities.
The commanders of the Iranian naval force are due to meet with their Sudanese counterparts, official media reported.
In Khartoum, the spokesperson of the Sudanese Army (SAF), Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, told the official news agency SUNA that the visit of the two Iranian warships “comes within the framework of friendly relations and goodwill of naval forces”
Al-Sawarmi added that the visit constitutes a strong support to the relations between Sudanese and Iranian naval forces.
He also said that the existence of the warships presents a “valuable opportunity” for Sudanese naval crops to acquaint themselves “with the advanced level of weaponry and navigation devices” in the Iranian warships.
Tel Aviv accuses Khartoum and Tehran of joint military cooperation for supplying arms to the Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza Stip. Al-Yarmook is rumored to be linked to Iran and several media reports claimed that the complex was used to produce Shahab rockets which Hamas uses against Israel.
Sudan’s foreign ministry on Monday issued a statement strongly denying any links between the country’s military industry and foreign nations. It accused Israel of spreading false information to justify its attack on Al-Yarmook.
The ministry reiterated its condemnation of the attack and said it was closely monitoring Tel Aviv attempts to wriggle out of its responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese daily newspaper Al-Intibaha reported that the deputy director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Lt-Gen Salah Al-Tayib, received a phone call from CIA director David Petraeus who said that the US was not involved in the attack and did not know about it beforehand.
According to the paper, the US official expressed his government’s concern over the safety of US nationals in Sudan after the attack. For his part, the Sudanese official pledged to provide protection to US nationals in the country.
October 29, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein is unlikely to be sacked over the alleged Israeli attack on Al-Yarmouk military factory, an official said on Sunday amid growing demands that he walks the plank for failing to protect the country.
- FILE PHOTO - Sudan Defense Minister Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein (REUTERS)
According to the speaker of the parliament, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir, there is no intention to relieve Hussein from his position or hold him accountable for the occurrence of the attack.
The speaker told reporters that the Israeli fighter jets that allegedly destroyed the factory in the southern suburb of the capital Khartoum late on 25 October came without a “prior declaration of confrontation”.
Al-Tahir also justified the lack of intention to punish Hussein by saying that Sudan is not able to have the same level of technology that Israel possesses.
The official was responding to growing calls in the last few days to sack Hussein given the fact that the attack on Al-Yarmouk is allegedly the third Israeli attack inside Sudanese territories.
Hussein has not made a single comment since the attack on Al-Yarmouk happened. This is not the first time that some people called for his resignation but others suggest that his close relationship with President Al-Bashir always shielded him from being held accountable.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack on Al-Yarmouk but it is widely believed that the Jewish state already struck twice inside Sudan.
In early 2009, it was reported that Israeli jet fighters carried out an unknown number of strikes in Eastern Sudan against a convoy of arms-smuggling vehicles allegedly headed to the Gaza strip which is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas. Two years later, in April 2011, Israel destroyed a vehicle killing two men on board in the eastern town of Port Sudan.
Israel sees the Muslim east African country as an ally of its arch enemy Iran as well as a conduit for arms smuggling activities toward the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the attack continues to reverberate both domestically and abroad as emerging details confirm that a hostile action was behind the destruction of the factory.
Satellite images released on Saturday by the US-based monitoring group, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), suggested that the factory was indeed hit in an airstrike.
SSP’s spokesperson Jonathan Hutson told the AP that the craters created by the strike are “consistent with large impact craters created by air-delivered munitions”
Sudan Foreign Minister Ali Karti was quoted on Sunday by the country’s official news agency SUNA that his country has started diplomatic efforts to inform friendly countries and regional and international organizations about the details of the attack.
Karti confirmed that Sudan intends to lodge a complaint with the UN Security Council (UNSC) against Israel but he added that Khartoum was certain that the US would veto the demarche.
“The US veto will protect Israel but it will eventually find itself in isolation because all international and regional opinions are going against this outrageous aggression
October 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Tahir, declared on Thursday that the Israeli attack on Al-Yarmook arms factory will not deter his country from continuing its support to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas..
- Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) welcomes Hamas’s political chief Khaled Meshaal before a meeting in Khartoum March 6, 2011. REUTERS
During an emergency meeting of the parliament’s affairs committee in the capital Khartoum, Al-Tahir stressed that the “Israeli aggression” will not prevent Sudan from fulfilling its duties towards the causes of the Arab and African people.
“If Israel is targeting Sudan because of its stand on the side of the Palestinian resistance, then Sudan will continue down that road as dictated by the religion, history and fate it shares with the Palestinian people” he added.
Israel neither denied nor confirmed responsibility for the airstrike that Sudan says it caused the destruction of AL-Yarmook military factory in the capital Khartoum at the midnight of Tuesday, 23 October. But it is known that the Jewish state sees the Muslim east African country as an ally of its arch enemy Iran as well as a conduit for arms smuggling activities toward the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Al-Tahir warned that by this attack Israel has rendered itself in “a state of war” with Sudan and that the latter will respond in kind. The parliament later issued a statement condemning Israel for “using high-tech to execute a criminal deed that violated all laws”
For its part, Hamas issued a statement on Thursday condemning the alleged Israeli attack saying it proves that Tel Aviv “continues to violate international laws and international norms, and to exercise state terrorism not only against Palestinian people.” The statement reiterated Hamas’s support to the people and government of Sudan, and praised their backing of Palestinian people and their rights.
In a related development, Sudanese authorities alleged on Thursday that the attack, which Khartoum says was executed by four fighter jets that used high-technology to jam the country’s radars and violates its airspace, could have had worse effects if it was not for their quick response.
The commissioner of Khartoum State, Omer Nimir, said that the competent authorities managed to contain the damage inflicted on the factory and defuse many bombs before they explode.
Meanwhile, Sudanese officials continue to fulminate against the attack which Khartoum also alleges it killed two people.
Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir, in a speech before the emergency meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday, accused Israel of targeting Sudan because of its position against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
He also said that the attack’s aim was to weaken Sudan’s defense capabilities and stop its progress in the field of military production.
Sudan claims the factory was only used for the production of light weapons. The country’s media minister Ahmad Bilal Osman said on Wednesday that Israel attacked the factory based upon false intelligence that it was being used for the production of nuclear arms.
A Sudanese opposition daily was shut down in 2010 after it published a report alleging that a military factory in Khartoum was being used to manufacture and supply arms to Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Al-Shabab in Somalia. Sudan and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement in 2008.
Al-Yarmook is affiliated to Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation whose website says it also runs two other military factories, both located in Khartoum. MIC claims its products conform to the international civil and military standards.
The Sudanese president acknowledged that Sudan will not be able to import defense systems to prevent jamming of its radars or counter the high technology with which the attack was carried out. He however said that the only hope is to continue their reliance on “local minds” and support of scientific research in order to reach high military technology.
Al-Bashir promised that the authorities will compensate the citizens who lost properties as a result of the attack, and lauded the joint stand of Sudanese people against the attack that targeted their gains and those of the country as a whole.
Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha told a gathering of supporters in front of the cabinet building in Khartoum following Wednesday’s meeting that “it’s time for this state [Israel] be put in her place”
The leadership bureau of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) also held an emergency meeting that lasted until the early hours of Thursday under the chairmanship of President Omer Al-Bashir.
Following the meeting, the NCP issued a statement urging world powers and friendly states to condemn the attack in the strongest terms and apply international law against the perpetrators.
The statement maintained that Sudan reserves the right to respond to the attack and called on the government to wage an international outreach campaign to condemn it.
October 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has blamed an
Israeli airstrike for the explosion of a military factory in the capital
Khartoum on Tuesday, warning that it reserves the right to respond
while Tel Aviv maintained the usual silence in response to the charge.
demonstrators hold banners and chant anti-Israeli slogans during a
protest in Khartoum on October 24, 2012, as the Sudanese cabinet
prepared to hold an urgent meeting regarding the Israeli missile strike
that hit a military factory. Sudan has accused Israel of the attack and
has threatened to take action.
Sudan minister of
media, Ahmad Bilal Osman, made the charge during a press conference held
in Khartoum on Wednesday, saying Khartoum has evidences of Tel Aviv
involvement in the destruction of Al-Yarmook factory in the southern of
suburbs of Khartoum at midnight.
Officials in Khartoum initially
dismissed the existence of a hostile action behind the incident which
spread panic in the capital, saying it was caused by an internal and
accidental factor despite rumors by citizens about sounds of rockets
prior to the explosion.
According to Osman, a team of technicians
confirmed after examining the residues of the weapons used in the strike
that there are compelling evidences indicating that the attack was
executed by Israeli weapons. He vowed that Sudan will not remain silent
and reserves the right to respond at the right time and place.
Israel declined to confirm or deny Sudan accusations as was the case
when Khartoum accused Tel Aviv before of standing behind two airstrikes
in 2011 and 2009 in eastern Sudan against suspected activities of
smuggling arms to the Gaza strip which is controlled by the Islamic
militant group Hamas.
The Sudanese minister said that their
accusation against the Jewish state did not come out of thin air but was
based on evidences and accounts of eye witnesses confirming that four
planes that entered the country from the east had destroyed factory
using high technology that jammed radars at Khartoum airport.
dismissed the possibility that neighboring South Sudan or internal
rebel groups were behind the attack saying only Israel has the kind of
high technology with which the attack was carried out.
that the Israelis previously expressed their concern about the factory
because they think it threatens their security. But he strongly denied
that the factory was being used for the production of advanced and
The minister further said that Israel decided to
destroy the factory based upon incorrect intelligence that Al-Yarmook
was producing advanced weapons as was the case in the two attacks in
eastern Sudan. He insisted that the factory only used to produce small
and traditional arms.
Sudanese authorities shut down the
opposition-affiliated Ray Al-Sha’b newspaper in May 2010 after it
published a report talking about the construction of an Iranian weapon
factory in Sudan as part of military cooperation between the two
countries to produce nuclear weapons.
Osman said that Sudan
intends to file an official complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC),
and also told the BBC that his country is planning more decisive action
against Israeli interests saying they are legitimate targets.
on, Sudan envoy to the UNSC Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman reported the
accusation to the council’s 6851st meeting, saying his country expects
the UNSC to condemn the alleged aggression because it represents a
violation of the UN principles and threatens peace and security in the
region. The envoy later said he intends to submit a written complaint
against Tel Aviv.
The minister of media said in his press
conference in Khartoum that 60 percent of Al-Yarmook ammunition factory
was completely destroyed while 40 percent was partially destroyed. He
revealed that the government had plans to relocate the factory to an
area outside of the capital “but the Israelis knew this and decided to
Sudan talks of army infiltration behind Israeli attack
the spokesperson of the Sudanese army (SAF), Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad,
suggested in the same press conference that an internal infiltration in
the army could be responsible for facilitating the Israeli attack.
is not in isolation from foreign plots and there could be an inside job
and infiltration. This is normal in any army in the world” he stated.
Sudanese websites carried rumors late on Wednesday that a senior army
officer was arrested from his house in Khartoum but this could not be
By Reuters, The Associated Press and Barak Ravid | Oct.24, 2012 – Sudanese minister says four planes appearing to approach from the east attacked Khartoum plant; Jerusalem officials refuse to comment on Israel's possible involvement..
- Fire engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012.
Four military planes attacked an arms factory in Khartoum where there was a huge fire overnight, a Sudanese minister said on Wednesday, blaming Israel for the air strike.
"Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant," Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters in Khartoum, adding the planes appeared to approach the site from the east.
Senior officials in Jerusalem refused to comment on Israel's possible involvement in the incident.
The powerful explosion at the military factory rocked Sudan's capital before dawn Wednesday, sending detonating ammunition flying through the air and causing panic, the official news agency and local media reports said.
Officials said there were no reports of deaths, although some residents had suffered from smoke inhalation.
Thick black smoke covered the sky covered the sky over the Yarmouk Military Industrial Complex in southern Khartoum. Sudan's media reported that nearby buildings were damaged by the blast, their roofs blown off and their windows shattered.
Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Mohamed Hussein and senior officials visited the site of the explosion and held an emergency meeting with top army generals while security forces sealed off the area surrounding the complex and halted traffic.
Khartoum governor Abdul-Rahman Khedr told SUNA agency that no one died in the explosion. He said the fire was under control and an investigation into the cause is under way.
In 2009, a convoy carrying weapons in northeastern Sudan was targeted from the air, killing dozens. It was widely believed that Israel carried out the attack on weapons shipment headed for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel never confirmed or denied that. Sudanese parliamentarians denied that weapons were transported in the area.
In 1998, the United States cruise missiles bombed a Khartoum pharmaceutical factory suspected of links to al-Qaida in the aftermath of the terror group's bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
Sudan has been a major hub for al-Qaida militants and a transit for weapon smugglers and African migrant traffickers.
October 24, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Fear and panic spread in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday when massive explosions and fire erupted at a military factory in the southern suburbs of the city as the authorities failed to clarify the cause of the incident but dismissed rumors of a hostile action behind it.
- Fire engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012.
Sounds of explosions followed by huge fire occurred at Al-Yarmook arms and ammunition factory of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in Al-Shigara area south of Khartoum at around mid-night, sparking a wave of panic among the area’s residents who fled their homes in fear.
The fire and explosions also spread to near-by buildings, leading to the collapse of some of them, as hospitals in the area received dozens of people suffering from severe cases of suffocation due to the smoke.
The explosions also set free large pieces of shrapnel and ammunition which scattered in the area, a reporter said.
Fire fighting forces rushed to the scene and helped contain the fire as security forces blocked all roads leading to the large factory. A number of senior officials, including Khartoum State Governor Abdel Rahman Al-Khidir and officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services as well as SAF also arrived at the scene later.
Meanwhile, the authorities made conflicting statements on the cause of the incident but reported that no causalities were incurred as a result.
Khartoum State Governor Abdel Rahman Al-Khidir said in a televised statement that the cause of the incident is not clear yet but he discounted the possibility of foreign entities being involved.
His statement was clearly aiming to quell wildly spreading rumors that the factory was hit by an airstrike. Some witnesses told that the explosion occurred after a sound resembling that of a rocket was heard and the sky lit up. There is also a rumor that an airplane carrying military materiel crashed on the site of the factory but Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify those claims.
Al-Khidir said that the explosion probably happened at the main storage facility of the large factory.
SAF’s spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad said that an internal explosion occurred in one of the storage facilities and the fire spread due to the plenty of grass in the area. He confirmed that they already launched an investigation into the incident.
An anonymous police source also told AFP that the explosion erupted during a routine maintenance operation, adding that the authorities continue to count the losses.
A similar explosion occurred at the same factory in August 2006 leading to the injury of seven SAF members. The authorities attributed the incident at the time to an electric short circuit.
October 19, 2012 (
) - (Reuters) - A huge fire broke out after a loud explosion on Tuesday night at an arms factory in Sudan's capital Khartoum, a Reuters witness said.
Soldiers blocked roads to the factory where more explosions took place as firefighters tried to contain the blaze, a Reuters reporter at the scene in southern Khartoum said.
The state-linked Sudanese Media Centre said the fire and explosions had occurred at the Yarmouk ammunition factory. The army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
(Reporting by Khalid Abddelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Roddy)
Doha, Oct. 23 - The Government and the Justice and Equality Movement have declared immediate cessation of hostilities and their commitment to the peace process for reaching a comprehensive solution of Darfur conflict on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
The two parties called on all the non-signatory groups to avoid violence and to adhere to the dialogue and negotiations in Doha.
Hereunder, Sudan News Agency (SUNA) published the text of the Declaration issued by the two parties in Doha on October 22, 2012:-
The government of Sudan (GoS) and the justice and equality movement Sudan (JEM) (each, an" party" and collectively, the "parties") meeting in Doha Qatar under the auspices of the state of Qatar and the African union-united nations joint chief mediator an interim for Darfur as part of the continuing efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in Darfur on the basis of the Doha document for peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Appreciating the continuing role of the state of Qatar as the venue of the talks under the auspice of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani Emir of state of Qatar.
Taking due cognizance of the letter and spirit of the Agreement of Goodwill and confidence building for the settlement of problem in Darfur of February 2009.
The framework agreement to resolve the conflict in Darfur between GoS and JEM of February 2010 and the outcome of the all Darfur stakeholder conference held in Doha from 27 to 31 may 2011.
In accordance with the United Nations principles and charter and the covenants of the African union and other regional organizations relating to settlement of disputes by peaceful means.
Welcoming the framework for African Union and United Nations facilitation of the Darfur peace process.
Reaffirming the unity sovereignty independence and territorial integrity of the Sudan.
Deeply concerned that the continuing fighting in Darfur will lead to further loss of live suffering and displacement of the population.
Conscious of the need to create the conditions conducive to allowing the voluntary informed safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons or their local integration.
Conscious of the necessity to enable humanitarian agencies to access all areas affected by the conflict.
Recognizing the imperative need to achieve durable peace through a comprehensive settlement of conflict.
Responding to the calls by members of the international community including the demand by the United Nations Security Council that all Partners to the conflict including in particular all the non-signatory armed groups engage immediately and without pre-condition to make every effort to reach a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in order to bring stable and durable peace in the region.
Recognizing that security is at the forefront of concerns raised by a large spectrum of Darfurians including members of the civil society, internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees.
Acknowledging the mandate of the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation inn Darfur (UNAMID) to monitor, observe the compliance with and verification of the implementation of all ceasefire agreements signed or to be signed in Darfur pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 3003 (2012) and previous resolutions and the Agreement between the United Nations, the African Union and the Government of Sudan concerning the Status of the UNAMID Forces (Status of Forces Agreement) dated 9 February 2008.
Desirous to bring to an end all acts of violence against civilians and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Convinced that the Darfur conflict cannot be resolved militarily and that a durable satiation can only be obtained through an inclusive political process and negotiations.
Resolved to create and maintain a climate of peace necessary to facilitate dialogue and negotiations.
THE PARTIES THERBY DECLARE TO
1- Immediately cease hostilities and
2- Resume negotiations in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict on the basis of the DDPD.
The PARTIES CALLED on all other non-signatory groups to jettison violence and join them in Doha in order to resume dialogue and negotiations.
Done in Doha on the 22nd day of October 2012 in Arabic and English languages, both texts equally authentic.
For the Government of Sudan: Dr. Amin Hassan Omer
Minister of State in the Presidency
For the Justice and Equality Movement: Gen. Mohamed Bashar Ahmed
President Interim Military Council
For the State of Qatar: H.E Ahmed bin Abduallah Al Mahmoud
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs
For AU/UN Mediation: Mr. Aichatou S. Mindaoudou
Acting Joint Special Representative/
Joint Chief Mediator ad interim
By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News
Barack Obama portrayed rival Gov. Mitt Romney as "all over the map" and
inexperienced on key national security issues in the third and final
debate of the presidential election Monday night in Boca Raton, Fla.
Each candidate attempted to paint the other as an untrustworthy
commander in chief, but Romney's performance was less aggressive than
Obama's, and the governor was often on defense in the 90-minute
"I know you haven't been in a
position to actually execute foreign policy—but every time you've
offered an opinion, you've been wrong," Obama said, referencing Romney's
initial support for the Iraq war.
The president in general was
harshly critical of Romney, and landed a few well-placed zingers.
"The Cold War's been over for 20 years," he said in response to Romney's
comment from several months ago that Russia is America's primary
He later said, "Well, Governor,
we also have fewer horses and bayonets," in response to Romney's
criticism that America has fewer Navy ships than in the past. "We have
these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We
have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines," the president
added, a touch of mockery entering his voice.
Romney frequently pivoted to domestic issues and the economy,
including the high number of Americans in poverty, his education record
in Massachusetts, and his plans for reducing the deficit.
On foreign policy, Romney did not
criticize how Obama handled the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens
in Libya, a topic he brought up in last week's town hall-style debate.
Instead, Romney said the Middle East is in "tumult" and "chaos," and
suggested Obama's strategy of killing Al Qaeda leaders in drone strikes
is not enough to bring stability to the region.
"We can't kill our way out of this mess," Romney said. "We're going
to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help
the ... world of Islam and other parts of the world reject this radical
violent extremism, which certainly [is] not on the run."
Despite the crossfire, the candidates seemed to agree on many key
foreign-policy issues, including the use of drone strikes to kill people
believed to be terrorists, harsh sanctions on Iran, and a strategy of
avoiding military involvement in Syria.
After Romney seemed to avoid specifics on how he would handle Syria's
civil war differently from Obama, the president retorted: "What you've
just heard Gov. Romney say is that he doesn't have different ideas."
Obama and Romney are statistically tied among voters in the most
recent polls, with Romney able to catch up with the president on the
strength of his performance in the first debate in Denver. On foreign
policy in particular, Obama's lead over Romney, in the double digits
only a few months ago, has shrunk to just four points, according to a recent Pew poll.
Americans considered President Obama the loser in the first debate in
Denver by historic margins, and Romney's poll numbers soared after his
strong performance there. When the candidates met for a rematch at
Hofstra University on Long Island last week, a much more assertive Obama
showed up, and snap polls showed he was considered a narrow winner of
It remains to be seen if this
debate will provide a "bounce" for either candidate in the last few
weeks of the campaign. Voters overwhelmingly say the economy and jobs
are the most important issues for them in this election.
October 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Leaders of a splinter rebel group of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) arrived to the Qatari capital Doha where they consult with mediators on ways to negotiate with the Sudanese government.
- An elderly Sudanese refugee man at the refugee camp of Zamzam, North Darfur April 12, 2010 (Reuters)
Last September, an important group of JEM commanders distanced themselves from their leader Gibril Ibrahim and formed an interim military council led by Mohamed Bashar Ahmed, a cousin of JEM president.
Mohamed Bashar told last month that the Sudanese government expressed its willingness to negotiate with them, and President Idris Deby of Chad is facilitating the contacts between the two parties.
Ali Wafi, spokesperson of the military council announced in a statement he released the arrival of Mohamed Bashar and his deputy Arko Suleiman Dahia to Doha for consultations with the Qatari minister Ahmed bin Abdallah Al Mahmoud and UNAMID acting chief Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane.
The purpose of the visit is to consult with the mediators about the peace process and challenges it faces, Wafi said adding they also briefed the joint mediation and Qatari leadership about the recent development in the Movement which led to remove its leader and to form an interim military council.
Mohamed Bashar, said last month accepting to negotiate with Khartoum does not mean the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). He blamed the government for not implementing the deal . He however praised the efforts of the international community and Qatar to settle the conflict.
Wafi said that that Al-Mahmoud called them to join the peace process stressing that all the parties should be involved in the settlement of the conflict.
Souleymane who is also the acting joint mediator told them that their presence in Doha will revive the interest of the international community towards the settlement of Darfur crisis, and also explained its role in the peace process.
Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), after a two-year process involving JEM, signed the DDPD on 14 July 2011, while JEM refused to ink it and demanded further talks .
Informed sources told that the rebel delegation explained that they have to hold a general conference before to engage talks with the government.
The rebels decided last September to hold a general conference to elect a new leadership and to define the political line of the group. The meeting, which may be held near the Chadian border, also aims to convince more JEM members to join them.
The splinter military commanders need to attract political cadres who remained loyal to the leader of the group.
In Khartoum, health minister and LJM secretary general Bahar Idriss Abu Garda warned that the DDPD is still facing major challenges and asked the government to implement it before the donors conference in December .
Abu Garda, a former JEM member before to establish LJM with other groups, said the special court of Darfur war crimes is not yet established. He also said the peace document provides to dedicate 20% of the civil service jobs to Darfurians.
He further underlined the delay in the implementation of the security arrangements that the parties agreed to finalise next November.
On the other hand, Hassan Bargo a leading member of the ruling National Congress Party and head of Darfur organisations network said Saturday that the implementation of the DDPD is suffering from the lack of money .
He urged Qatar to deliver the 2 billion it pledged to grant to Darfur development projects.
October 19, 2012 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir Mayardit has directed the Governors of South Sudan’s ten stated to conduct extensive public lecturers to explain the benefits of the cooperation agreement he signed on 27 September with Sudanese president Omer Ahmed El Bashir, apparently in an attempt to diffuse tensions and public criticism over the deal .
- European Union (EU) ambassadors
On Tuesday South Sudan’s parliament ratified the agreement despite receiving mixed reactions including protests from MPs from Northern Bahr el Gazal State, who reject the inclusion of the Mile 14 in the demilitarized border zone between the two nations.
The buffer zone security map was put forward the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) who are mediating between the Sudan and South Sudan, which gained independence in July last year.
The protests have taken place despite the location of the buffer zone, according to AU and UN Security Council having no bearing on the final demarcation of the border or the status on contested areas.
However, leading government officials and civil right activists who are from the Dinka Malual ethnic group in Northern Bahr el Ghazal have rejected the deal as Mile 14. The critics of the deal say that Mile 14 was never mentioned in the any previous deal between Sudan and South Sudan or on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA paved the way for South Sudan to vote to separate from Sudan last year. Protestors also argued that the area was not part of any claimed or disputed areas included in the post referendum and now secession disputes. The deal allow
But President Kiir and his negotiators have countered that the deal is just a temporary security arrangement and called on state governors to help him explain it in simple and comprehensible language to the citizens so that they understand the benefits which the deal brings to the country.
This comes days after the president held a close door meeting with governors of the states. Madut Dut Yel, Deputy Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal attended the meeting on behalf of Governor Paul Malong Awan, who was the first and highest ranking official to reject the deal.
Yel returned to Aweil, capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal on Wednesday with Kiir’s message. Speaking to cabinet members on his arrival at Aweil airport Yel said that he told President Kiir "that our people are not happy with inclusion of the 14 mile area in the safe demilitarized buffer zone because it lies deeply inside our territory south of [the] Kiir River but the president said the agreement was just a temporary security arrangement.”
The deputy governor added that “the meeting equally agreed and directed the state governors to conduct extensive education and explain to the citizens in order to remove fears and worries relating to security arrangements and four freedoms which appear to have generated a lot of concerns from members of the general public”.
Pagan Amum Okiech, the South Sudan’s lead negotiator at the talks on Thursday evening said in a televised statement on South Sudan Television confirmed that President Kiir had directed his ten governors to educate their citizens.
“Demilitarization of the 14 mile area is one of the areas of concerns among the people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. These concerns have been addressed. The governors have endorsed it and they will now go and explain it to the citizens.
"Civic education would remove worries that have been developed of either misunderstanding or confusion caused by people who have not read the agreement and confusing the security arrangement with the status of disputed and claimed areas”, Amum explained.
President Kiir on Wednesday in high level meeting with different level of various groups and prominent political leaders from the area said his administration would never give away an inch of area’s claimed by the new nation to Sudan.
Amum, who is the Secretary General of South Sudan’s ruling party, said that the deal was a prerequisite requirement for the resumption of oil production and exports to the international markets through territory of neigbouring Sudan.
October 18, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – European Union (EU) ambassadors have expressed concerns over restrictions imposed by Sudanese security services on the movement of international experts and representatives who visit the country’s western region of Darfur to identify recovery and development projects there.
- European Union (EU) ambassadors
Following the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) between the government and the former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in mid-July last year, different countries which were involved in the talks expressed their willingness to support the peace agreement and sent experts and diplomats to identify and assess projects they can implement to prepare for the return of IDPs and refugees.
However, the Sudanese security service blocked their access to the region despite official contacts with the relevant authorities. On Wednesday, a delegation of European ambassadors in Khartoum visited the capital of North Darfur State, El-Fasher, where they raised the issue with the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) which is tasked with the implementation of the DDPD.
Tadjadine Bechir Niam, DRA Minister of Reconstruction, Development and Infrastructure, told that the EU envoys revealed a number of obstacles hindering the implementation of vital projects in the province due to restrictions and other measures by security services.
He added that the authority explained that the issue was already discussed with the competent services and a committee including the deputy head of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and his person was formed to remove obstacles facing foreign entities in Darfur particularly in terms of visa and freedom of movement.
Niam stressed the importance of close coordination between the foreign ministry, NISS and DRA to prevent any confusion in dealing with foreigners, pointing out that the security service have the right to expel any person who is deemed to be posing threat to national security.
In March 2009, security services expelled 13 foreign aid groups working in Darfur accusing them of spying for the International Criminal Court (ICC) which issued an arrest warrant for President Omer Al-Bashir on charges of atrocities he allegedly masterminded during the peak of Darfur conflict in 2003-2004. The EU is the main supporter of the Hague-based tribunal.
Over the last two weeks, the DRA Darfur authority held a number of workshops in the five states of Darfur to identify needs and set priorities for development projects as well as gathering information pertaining to these projects in order to present it to the upcoming donors’ conference in Doha.
Niam said the EU ambassadors reiterated their support to the DDPD and discussed security situation and the delay in the first installment of fund ($200 million) allocated to reconstruction activities and return of IDPs and refugees.
He further disclosed that the authority intends to send delegations to meet with the rebel groups that rejected the DDPD in the Ugandan capital Kampala and other capitals to convince them to join the peace process.
The regional minister said the head of the joint mission of the African Union and the United Nations in Darfur, "UNAMID" Aichatou Mindaoudou, travelled to Doha, in a bid to bring new groups to join the DDPD.
Niam said that the leaders of the rebel groups are welcome to participate in a conference slated for next November on the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees. He also confirmed their readiness to provide security guarantees to all the rebel leaders who wish to attend.
Last week, the DRA announced that it had invited a splinter group from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi to attend the conference which is due to take place in South Darfur.
DRA security Commissioner told the visiting EU delegation that starting from next November the DRA will be able to deal directly with the security situation in the five states and the governors will cease to handle it, Niam said.
The European delegation comprises the EU, the British, the French, the Netherlands and the Spanish ambassadors in Sudan.
October 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudan has emphatically denied reports that it has nominated Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha to replace President Omer Al-Bashir if he eventually decides to step down at the end of his current term in 2015.
- FILE PHOTO - Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir (L) talks to his second Vice President Ali Osman Taha (R) upon the first’s arrival from Qatar, on March 31, 2011 at Khartoum airport (Getty Images)
According to the NCP’s secretary of organization, Hamid Sidiq, told reporters in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the party did not even discuss the matter of who will succeed Al-Bashir let alone choosing a candidate.
Sidiq was reacting to statements in which Hassan Osman Riziq, the deputy secretary-general of the Islamic Movement (IM), told the subtly pro-government daily newspaper Al-Ray Al-Amm on Monday that the vice-president is the “strongest candidate” who will likely take over as President.
The IM is the Islamist intellectual base whose political wing, the National Islamic Front (NIF), took power in the 1989 coup before rebranding itself as the NCP which later split after NIF leader Hassan Al-Turabi was ousted following a power struggle with Omer Al-Bashir and Taha in 1999 and went to form the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP).
Although the IM maintains its separate organizational structure and seeks to paint itself as a non-partisan group of Islamists who are distant from the NCP-PCP animosity, it has been effectively under the control of the NCP with Taha serving as its secretary-general.
The NCP official, however, stressed that his denial of the veracity of Riziq’s comments should not be interpreted as indicating the existence of any confrontation or struggle between NCP and IM members.
Sidiq asserted that NCP members will remain loyal to, and under the authority of, the IM and there is no intention to change that fact.
The IM is currently preparing to hold its eighth general-congress which is slated for mid-November. As part of the grassroots stage of this process, the IM recently organized mini-elections in Khartoum to elect the members who will represent the state in the national general-congress.
The vote already steeped in controversy last week when deputy secretary-general Riziq told local newspapers that there are groups seeking to remove him from the position. At the same time, however, he downplayed reports of internal squabbles saying they are merely divergences of views.
Some local media reports recently suggested that there are attempts by some IM members who are disgruntled by the fact that the NCP did not give them positions in power to hijack the IM and use it to fight the NCP. This suggestion was fueled by the fact that many young members of the IM and the NCP are seeking what they describe as internal reforms and opportunities for new faces to emerge in the upper echelons of the NCP.
Ibrahim Ahmad Omer, chairman of the IM’s Shura Council and NCP member, said in August that Al-Turabi’s PCP will not be invited to the IM’s general congress which, according to him, will be attended by 4,000 Sudanese Islamists as well as 150 foreign visitors.
Taha already announced that he will not run for a third term as IM secretary-general during the general congress.
In a recent interview with the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, NCP senior member and former intelligence chief Qutbi Al-Mahdi said that if President Al-Bashir decides to step down, Taha should also step down.
“The two share the same experience and bear the same responsibility” he said.
October 15, 2012 (JUBA) – Angry demonstrators have clashed with police forces in main city centre of Juba where the police fired live bullets to disperse the protest.
The protestors mainly from Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Abyei have expressed their anger against the Addis Ababa peace agreement which has "sold their lands" to the neighbouring Sudan, as they claim.
While the clashes occurred around University of Juba premises on Monday morning, there is no reported case of casualties as the police do not authorise the media to cover it.
Unconfirmed reports said that some of the angry demonstrators have torn the pictures of Salva Kiir in the streets.
Another group of demonstrators holding placards and chanting in condemnation of the agreement have surrounded the national parliament in anticipation of the scheduled convening of the House to hear the statement by the President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, on the agreement today Monday.
Though the police and army have deployed around the key government installations, there is no sign of trying to disperse the roaring crowd around the parliament.
However the situation has already caused some panic in the capital.
More Posts Next page »