October 2014 - Posts
October 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, will arrive in Khartoum on Saturday to discuss outstanding issues between the two countries and the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
Sudan’s foreign minister, Ali Karti, said in press statements on Wednesday that Kiir will arrive in Khartoum on Saturday, adding “the visit was previously delayed due to health conditions of the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir not for any political reasons”.
On 11 August, Bashir underwent a knee replacement surgery. He resumed his official duties after a period of convalescence that extended for more than a month.
Karti renewed accusations of Juba’s support to rebel groups in South Kordofan state, pointing that Khartoum still has doubts that South Sudan continues to support Sudanese rebels.
“We do not have enough evidence that South Sudan does not support rebels”, he stressed.
Last April, the Sudanese foreign ministry said Juba government uses the combatants of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in its war against the rebel SPLM in opposition particularly in Unity state.
Since the independence of the South Sudan in July 2011, the two countries used to trade accusations of over a number of outstanding issues.
The border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state have been the scene of a violent conflict since 2011 when fighting broke out between the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and Sudanese army (SAF).
Karti pointed that Sudan continued to appeal to South Sudan to prevent rebels’ presence inside its territory and stop providing them with any supplies, saying the visit will tackle the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed between the countries besides the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
In September 2012, Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, and border trade among others.
After several months of an apparent setback, the two countries, in March 2013, signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements.
Karti said the internal conflict in South Sudan reduced oil production by half, disclosing he is leading a joint action with his South Sudanese counterpart to cancel Sudan’s foreign debt.
The Sudanese minister further said they will tour all creditor countries, noting that the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Sudan since 1997 would hinder their efforts.
October 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has said that the Sudanese army (SAF) has won more than 40 battles in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, recently ordering it to launch a decisive summer attack against rebels.
Bashir, who addressed the graduation ceremony of 175 officers at the national military academy in the presence of the Libyan prime minister, Abdullah al-Thani, pointed to “recent victories of the army and regular forces” in the battlefronts in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.
He demanded the army to get ready for a decisive summer battle to end rebellion in the country, vowing to provide every possible support to build the army capacity.
“Use this new summer to achieve a big victory, allowing us to move freely and reach the far areas in Sudan without fears except from Allah and wolf for our sheep,” Bashir said.
He further vowed to enhance the military capabilities of the armed forces and to improve the situation of its members.
On 6 October, the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) accused Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of seeking to shuffle off national dialogue and abort efforts of the African Union to bring about peace in the country and prepare for war.
Within the framework of its efforts to facilitate a national dialogue process aiming to reach a comprehensive in Sudan, the African Union will organise separate talks between the government and rebel groups on a cessation of hostilities and security arrangement next month.
The Sudanese president underscored that the experience of the joint border troops with neighbouring countries has achieved significant security, economic and political objectives, disclosing ongoing efforts to promote and maintain these troops in order to accomplish common interests.
“We established joint border troops with several countries to prevent security chaos, terrorist activities, crime and smuggling and this experience has achieved significant security, economic and political gains for all parties,” he said.
Sudan has formed joint forces tasked with the monitoring of common border with all the neighbouring countries except South Sudan. The two countries failed to operationalise this force due to their failre to demarcate the border.
October 29, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has launched a plan to resolve the ongoing crisis in Libya with the participation of the neighbouring countries, expressing readiness to work towards achieving national reconciliation in the strife-torn North African nation
Libya’s internationally recognised premier Abdullah al-Thani arrived in Khartoum on Monday evening for a three-day visit, after accusations that Sudan provided weapons to rival groups controlling Tripoli and central Libya but unrecognised by the international community.
In September, Thani’s government said Sudan was arming "terror" groups after an arms-laden Sudanese plane touched down in southern Libya, allegedly bound for a military airbase in Tripoli held by mostly Islamist militias who seized the capital in August.
But Sudan has vehemently denied accusations of backing any side in the Libyan conflict, saying the weapons were shipped for the use of a joint force between the two countries. Also, Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir invited Thani for talks to clear this misunderstanding.
On Tuesday, the visiting premier minister met with the al-Bashir and other senior officials including defence minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein.
The Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, said that al-Thani accepted the plan presented by Bashir to bring different Libyan groups together for talks on ending the conflict, pointing to agreement among Libya’s neighbors to bring warring parties to negotiations table and achieve reconciliation.
Karti, who spoke to reporters following the meeting with Bashir, gave no further details of the plan, saying it would be discussed with ministers at the next neighbouring countries of Libya meeting in the Sudanese capital.
He said that they discussed various issues, pointing the two sides denied media reports that Sudan has a passive stance towards the current Libyan government.
The Libyan foreign minister Mohamed al-Dairi struck a conciliatory stance after the meeting, expressing appreciation for the support rendered by Sudan during the 2011 revolution.
He said Libya and Sudan had a “relationship of military cooperation, like the one we have with Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and the Emirates, and Sudan is helping us in capacity building and training Libyan army officers”.
Al-Dairi added the Libyan prime minister emphasised to Bashir that he seeks to achieve a political solution and close the page of differences between the two countries, disclosing that international bodies, which he did not name, sought to tarnish Sudan’s relations with Libya.
He stressed that Libya looks forward to strengthening ties between the two governments and peoples, saying they seek to promote investment and military cooperation with Sudan.
UNIFIED LIBYAN ARMY
The Sudanese defence minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, for his part, stressed that his country supports establishment of a unified Libyan army, pointing that Libyans are best able to tackle their own issues.
In press statements following his meeting with the Libyan prime minister, Hussein renewed Sudan’s rejection to any military intervention which would further complicates the situation in Libya, stressing keenness to continued cooperation with the Libyan army.
He pointed that the Libyan prime minister will attend on Wednesday the graduation ceremony of several Libyan officers from the Sudanese military academy within the framework of the military cooperation agreement signed between the two countries.
Libya has been plagued by political infighting, with government and parliament unable to control militias that have continued to defy state authority since ousting Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
It is widely viewed that Qatar, Turkey and Sudan are backing Islamist militias while countries like Egypt and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are backing Heftar.
Last August, the United States said that UAE and Egypt secretly bombed Islamist groups in Libya.
On Monday, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted the Libyan General Chief of Staff, Abdel-Razaq al-Nazouri, as saying that Sudanese officers are training a group of militiamen from Musrata on helicopters.
He said the number of the foreign fighters in Libya is estimated at 6.000, stressing that the Muslim Brotherhood is leading groups of Islamic extremists and fugitives in the fight against the army.
October 28, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, has accepted to share power with the armed opposition forces allied to former vice president, Riek Machar, but on condition that the post of prime minister will not have executive powers.
“The president has accepted non-executive prime minister, because a power is invested in people,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told on Monday.
“The president is ready to work with anybody the rebels will bring, including Riek Machar, if he will be their choice,” clarified Ateny.
According to him, President Kiir is a peace loving person and therefore wants peace to come back to the country because “he cares about the future of this country and its people.”
The presidential aide confirmed a number of concessions to the rebel forces, including their nominee to contest for any public office in the future elections and work with any nominee to the post of the prime minister.
Ateny further said that the head of state does not oppose adoption of federalism as the system of governance but he would like the peace to come first so that there is stability for all the people to participate in an inclusive process to decide the type of governing system they would like to be adopted.
“In principle, the president has never opposed federalism. What he has been saying is that let peace be given a priority so that everybody is given an opportunity at an all-inclusive process to participate,” said Ateny.
However, the spokesperson for the opposition leader, Riek Machar, said a prime minister’s position with no executive powers was a non-starter, hinting that the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-in-Opposition) would not accept this.
“We will not accept a position of non-executive prime minister. If there is going to be power-sharing between president and prime minister as a leadership structure, the prime minister should be the head of government,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesman for the opposition leader.
Dak denied allegations that the rebel group was only interested in the top executive position to rule the country as a condition to end the war.
“It is not simply about getting the executive powers for the sake of it. It is about ensuring that the would-be agreement will be fully implemented. We have a program of introducing reforms under a federal system of governance. Salva Kiir and his associates will not do it at the helm of power,” he argued.
Dak however applauded the government for accepting federalism and accompanying reforms as demanded by the rebel group, but said Juba should not contradict itself by asking to delay their implementation.
He said the people of South Sudan would not any more entrust president Kiir or any of his colleagues in Juba to maintain executive powers which he “abused and used to silent democratic political processes and oversaw the massacre of 20,000 unarmed Nuer civilians in the capital.”
“We wouldn’t make another mistake to make Salva Kiir retain and abuse executive powers again after this crisis which he created on 15 December 2013. Not even one of his accomplices,” he said.
“What does he want leadership or executive powers for after failing the country for nearly ten years and finally tearing and plunging it into abyss?” he asked.
The opposition leader’s spokesman further said nobody trusted Kiir or his associates to implement federalism after he expressed his rejection to the call and “threatened parliamentarians, governors, and even citizens not to endorse or speak about federalism.”
He however said the rebel group was always ready and negotiating in good faith, but added it would be better if president Kiir forfeited the presidency to someone else.
The two parties are expected to resume the peace talks in Addis Ababa in the coming days in an attempt to end the 10-month old violence.
Khartoum, Oct. 27 - Libya's internationally recognised prime minister arrived in Khartoum on Monday for talks with President Omar al-Bashir, a month after accusing Sudan of arming "terror" groups on its territory
An AFP correspondent said Abdullah al-Thani arrived at Khartoum airport at around 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) for the three-day visit and was briefly met by Bashir, before leaving for his hotel.
Thani has been virtually confined to the eastern city of Tobruk because of insecurity in Libya, particularly in the capital Tripoli, where a rival administration has been established.
His government said in September a Sudanese aircraft carrying ammunition landed in the southern Kufra region on an unspecified date, bound for armed groups who effectively seized Tripoli in August.
Sudan denied the accusations, saying it had "no interest" in intervening in Libyan affairs.
Thani was due to stay for three days, Sudan's foreign ministry said, during which he was to meet Bashir and other top government figures.
Speaking to reporters after Thani's arrival, Foreign Minister Ali Karti told reporters the visit "will clarify the truth of the Sudanese government's position towards the elected Libyan government".
Karti also said there had been "incorrect information" about the planeload of weapons sent to Libya.
Sudan has been working to mend its regional ties, with Bashir visiting regional powers Saudi Arabia and Egypt in October.
A US trade embargo imposed in 1997 has hit Sudan's economy badly, and on Saturday, Bashir vowed to end the sanctions-hit country's isolation.
He said his recent visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia proved its ties in the region were improving.
The US imposed further measures on Sudan in 2007 over violence in Darfur. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in the war-torn western region.
October 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Congress Party (NCP) concluded its general convention on Saturday with the endorsement of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s nomination for the presidential election and reiterated its readiness to participate in next year’s ballot.
The final communiqué, read by the general rapporteur of the four-day convention Mohamed Mukhtar, the ruling party announced its commitment to hold the general elections next April as scheduled and that the incumbent president is their candidate for the presidential race.
In remarks he delivered after the announcement of the endorsement, Bashir called on the party’s members to reject tribalism and cultivate social cohesion and national identity. He also vowed to involve the different organs of the party in the decision-making process.
Bashir further mocked the expectations of splits in the general convention, saying “we come up with more strength and unity than ever before”.
The president warned of conspiracy against Sudan, stressing that there is “a sinister plot aimed at the region and Sudan in particular”.
He pledged to implement all the decisions and recommendations adopted by the general convention adding it will be the NCP programme for the next presidential election.
October 25, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – US president Barack Obama renewed the 17-year sanctions on Sudan, saying Khartoum continues to pose an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the national security and foreign policy of his country.
In a short note released by the White House on Friday evening, Obama referred to the 1997 president Clinton decision imposing sanctions on Sudan for alleged support to terrorism and another decision taken by president Bush in April 2007 expanding the sanctions because of Darfur conflict.
The imposed sanctions prohibit trade, credits and loans to the Sudan and blocks assets held of the government and certain officials in the United States.
Washington has admitted several times Sudan’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but maintained the sanctions citing, South Sudan, Darfur, Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
After the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Khartoum expected some steps will be taken to normalise lift the sanctions, but Washington demanded to end Darfur conflict and to allow humanitarian access to civilians in Blue Nile and South Kordofan where the Sudanese army fight against the rebel SPLM-N.
The Sudanese embassy in Washington released a statement on Saturday denouncing “completely inexcusable unilateral sanctions”.
The diplomatic mission further alluded to the different promises made by the American administration to review the sanctions saying “their lifting has always been conditioned on goals that, once met by Sudan, invariably give birth to new ones that now become the condition”.
Earlier this month the US special envoy to the two Sudans, Donald Both, said ready to visit Khartoum to resume discussions with the government officials on bilateral relations.
October 23, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese investment minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, has revealed that his government received financial support from Saudi Arabia following a recent visit by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to the kingdom.
Ismail said that some external parties which he did not name had stepped in to improve ties between Khartoum and Riyadh.
Earlier this month, Bashir concluded a 10-day visit to Saudi Arabia in which he performed the Hajj and held talks with the crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
In press statements on Tuesday, the Sudanese investment minister said that the two countries agreed on certain political and economic measures, underscoring the visit managed to push bilateral relations back onto the normal track.
The recent rapprochement with the Saudi government comes after Sudan’s decision to close the Iranian cultural center in Khartoum. The foreign ministry said that the center’s activities had exceeded its mandate and posed a threat to the intellectual and social security in Sudan.
Ismail stressed the Sudanese economy will begin to improve gradually, expecting the value of the Sudanese pound will further strengthen against the US dollar.
The minister further emphasised that the increase in the value of the Sudanese pound is not temporarily as some have predicted, attributing it to the improvement of relations with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain.
The price of the US dollar dropped on the black market in Khartoum, settling at 8.50 Sudanese pounds (SDG) after reaching a high of 9.50 (SDG) during the past months.
Ismail pointed that Bashir agreed with the Saudi leadership to form a committee to resolve outstanding issues, expressing delight to improvement of ties with Saudi Arabia following a period of tepid relations.
He revealed that foreign parties, which he preferred not to name, intervened to improve relations with the kingdom, vowing to disclose names of these parties later.
October 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Shura Council has selected president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, as party candidate for the 2015 election.
The incumbent president won 265 votes out of 495 which represent 73% of the total percentage. His official nomination will be approved at the NCP General Convention.
The NCP Leadership Council on Monday besides Bashir selected four other leading members and referred them to the Shura Council to pick one of them as the party’s nominee for 2015 presidential election.
The 70-year old president previously said he would not seek a new mandate saying the country needs “fresh bold”. The appointment of a military, Bakri Hassan Saleh, as first vice-president was also perceived as a step towards his departure.
During the past weeks, Bashir received different delegations from the NCP dignitaries requesting him to accept their nomination for the presidential race.
The other four nominees chosen by the Leadership Council and submitted to the Shura Council included the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, former first vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.
Meanwhile, the former presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie told on Tuesday that he does not seek to run for the presidency despite being selected among the NCP’s five possible candidates.
“The party members will not select me [as presidential candidate] and I do not want it and it is better for them not to select me”, he said.
The NCP leading figure, Amin Hassan Omer, said in press statements that Bashir and his deputy Salih are not serving army officers, pointing they had retired and became members of the NCP.
The head of the NCP organisational sector, Hamid Siddiq, for his part, scoffed at reports that Bashir will easily won the upcoming election because he wouldn’t run against strong competitors, saying what is wrong if Bashir wins by consensus.
He downplayed voices saying that Sudan needs a president who could break the barrier of the the international isolation and build strong relation with the United States, saying the NCP needs someone who is close to Allah [God] not the US.
Siddiq pointed the NCP leaders were unwilling to accept party nomination for presidency, saying that 7 members withdrew their nomination and the technical committee conducted the nomination process twice for lack of a quorum.
Bashir, who addressed the Shura Council meeting on Tuesday, acknowledged that the NCP committed several mistakes and violations, announcing intention to form a committee to look into these violations in order to overcome the flaws.
He directed the NCP members to implement the recommendations of the Shura conferences, pointing to the political mobility his party made ahead of the General Convention.
The NCP chairman said his address in the opening session of the General Convention on Thursday will tackle NCP achievements during the past five years, pointing he will also deal with the failures.
October 21 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Leadership Council of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) selected five nominees to compete for the presidency of the party and next year’s presidential elections in a secret ballot on Monday.
President Omer al-Bashir is the first of the party’s nominees despite his absence from the meeting. The other four nominees are first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, former first vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.
The initial list of 10 people submitted to the NCP Leadership Council included vice-president Hassabo Abdel-Rahman, Mustafa Osman Ismail, Mehdi Ibrahim, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir and former vice-president al-Haj Adam.
The five nominees selected by the Leadership Council will be referred to the Shura Council which chooses and ranks three of the five in terms of preference. Afterwards only one name is picked and tabled at the General Convention for endorsement.
Observers in the capital say there is a little doubt now that the NCP nominates a candidate other than Bashir. Earlier this year, some analysts went to say that the president was preparing to hand over the presidency to his friend and first-vice president Bakri Hassan Saleh.
In remarks after the vote, Ghandour said 84 of the 91 Council’s members attended the meeting.
He praised the consultative approach followed in the selection of party nominee, and attributed the absence of incumbent president form the meeting to the need to allow greater freedom for the participants to make their choice.
The NCP’s convention will kick off on 23 October.
October 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, and the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have expressed keenness to promote joint cooperation between the two countries stressing existence of strong political will to achieve distinctive integration in various fields.
Bashir, who concluded an official two-day visit to Cairo on Sunday, said in a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart that they agreed to upgrade the joint ministerial cooperation committee to a presidential committee.
The two presidents held another meeting on Sunday in the presence of the foreign ministers to assess the outcome of the visit.
Bashir said they fully agreed in all issues pertaining to bilateral ties as well as regional and international relations, pointing to existence of strong political will to strengthen ties in order to achieve interests of the two countries and peoples.
He urged the media to play a positive role in supporting and enhancing relations between the two countries.
“What we agreed upon, myself and president Sisi, will not be [adversely] impacted by the [negative] media because this agreement is built on solid foundation that wouldn’t be shaken by winds or storms whatsoever”, he added.
Bashir emphasised they agreed to remove all obstacles which hinder communications and mutual benefits, saying the presidential committee demonstrates the strong will to follow-up on what we have agreed upon.
For his part, Sisi called on the media to be diligent on every word uttered in order to enhance relations between the two countries.
Egyptian media carried out a hostile campaign against president Bashir for statements he made about the disputed area of Halaib.
The Egyptian president further said they held extensive discussions that culminated in upgrading the joint ministerial committee into a presidential one.
He added they also discussed the situation in Libya, pointing they agreed to the need for achieving stability and supporting the legitimate institutions and the Libyan national army.
Al-Sisi expressed his delight at Bashir’s visit, saying it comes at a time when the political and economic will in both countries are combined to achieve shared interests and economic growth for the benefit of the two peoples.
Bashir also held a meeting with the Egyptian businessmen and discussed investment opportunities in Sudan.
He underscored Sudan keenness to remove all obstacles facing Egyptian investments in the country, stressing ties between the two countries will soon return to normal.
The Sudanese president expressed pleasure to visit Egypt, describing the recent visit of president al-Sisi to Sudan as “unprecedented”.
Bashir briefed the Egyptian businessmen on the recent political and economic developments in Sudan, pointing the country lost 80% of its foreign exchange revenues following session of South Sudan.
He said Sudan had implemented a trilateral economic program to overcome the economic crisis, stressing the program achieved its objectives and the value of the Sudanese pound started to strengthen against the US dollar.
Bashir also spoke about the investment environment in Sudan, saying we look forward to a new beginning for a prosperous future between the two countries.
The Sudanese minister of investment, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said the two presidents held a deep discussion on bilateral relations besides the political developments in the region particularly the situation in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
He said in statements upon return of Bashir to Khartoum, that the latter discussed with the Egyptian businessmen the investment opportunities in Sudan, noting he pledged to remove all obstacles facing Egyptian investments in Sudan.
Ismail added the president emphasized the Sudanese economy is improving, saying it will have positive impact on investment climate in the country.
According to Ismail, Bashir called upon Egyptian businessmen to utilize the four freedom agreement and investment opportunities in Sudan, stressing the west Nile land road linking the two countries will be inaugurated during the first half of the first year.
He said the road will play an important role in transporting goods between the two countries.
October 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Leadership Council will meet on Monday to select five figures as candidates for the presidency ahead of the scheduled General Convention on 23 October.
Informed sources told that the NCP Leadership Council meeting will be held in a secret place away for the media.
According to NCP bylaws, the Leadership Council selects five people and then refers it to the Shura (consultative) National Council which chooses and ranks three of the five in terms of preference.
Afterwards only one name is picked and tabled at the General Convention to endorse.
The leaked list of candidates includes the incumbent president, Omer al-Bashir, and his two deputies, Bakri Hassan Salih, and Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, besides the former vice-president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and the former presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie.
However, some media reports put the current presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, among the possible nominees instead of the vice president, Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman.
The same sources underscored that the Islamic Movement’s (IM) Shura meeting which was held last Saturday has recommended four names for the list of candidates including Bashir, Salih, Ali Osman and Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, urging the NCP to continue to carry out party reforms.
According to the schedule of meetings seen by Informed sources, Bashir will address the meeting of the Shura National Council on Tuesday to table the name of the presidential candidate at the General Convention which will be held on Thursday 23 october.
In recent years, Bashir has asserted that he will not run for a new term and went on to say that he spent enough time in power and that the country needs new faces.
But later he backtracked by saying it is up to the party’s institutions to decide on the 2015 presidential candidate and that he will respect their decision.
Bashir who ruled the country since staging a military coup in 1989, faces an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has restricted his international travels and his meetings with western officials.
His health has also came into question recently after undergoing two throat surgeries in 2012 to remove a tumour and two knee replacement surgeries this year.
(Statements by the Sudanese National)
By: Dr. Salman Mohamed Ahmed Salman and Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Shoak
1. Elections Commission on Sunday, 7 September, 2014 indicating:
the demarcation of the geographic constituencies for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the Sudan will include Halayb region” excited angry reactions in Cairo.
Ambassador Badur Abdul Atti, the spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared on Monday, 8 September, 2014 that: “Halayb and Shalatin are indivisible part of Egyptian territories which cannot be partitioned or negotiated with the sisterly Sudan.”
Ambassador Abdul Atti was reported by MENA as saying in an interview to the state-run Nile Television on Thursday, 11 September, 2014 that: “Halayb and Shalatin are a resolved question because they are part of the Egyptian territories.” He went on trifling the Sudanese position towards Halayb, adding: “Raising this issue on the media, whether the Sudanese or Egyptian is only aimed at disturbing the tranquil relations between the two countries.”.
Abbas al-Tarabely wrote an article carried by Al-Wafd newspaper on Tuesday, 9 September titled “Halayb and the New Sudanese Provocation” saying that Halayb is part of Egypt that cannot be negotiated, asserting: “All documents confirm Egypt’s sovereignty over Halayb Triangle. And this was what I have personally revealed on the Al-Wafd since the early 1990s and I have stopped stating this only after Egypt has restored its full sovereignty over the Triangle.”
He went on to say that: “I have personally rejected a proposal during the regime of President Hosni Mubarak of making Halayb a region of economic integration. If we want to have integration with the Sudan, let it be away from any region which Khartoum claims is a Sudanese.”.
The Egyptian media-man, Amr Adeeb, accused the ousted Egyptian President, Mohamed Mursy of giving the southern border town of Halayb to the Sudan, branding him as “un-national, a terrorist and a spy.”
We shall make it plain in this article that all the elections which were conducted in the Sudan, starting from the 1953 elections and ending with the 1986 elections included Halayb region and no objection or remarks were made by Cairo, except the elections in 1958. This article indicates that the Egyptian government has never conducted any elections in that region. Halayb has remained an administrative unit of the Red Sea Province until its occupation by the Egyptian forces in 1992.
2. The First Parliamentary Elections in Sudan in 1953:
The first parliamentary election in Sudan was conducted in November 1953 under the Autonomy Act which was agreed upon by the three parties- England, Egypt and the Sudanese political parties- at the beginning of that year. A combined electoral commission was formed of seven members- three Sudanese appointed by the Governor-General while the four others were from England, Egypt, the United States of America and India. It was agreed that the Indian representative, Soko Mersin, chair the commission (see articles by Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Shoak titled: The Sudanese Elections Commission from Soko Mersin to Mukhtar al-Asum, an assessment perusal, published on Sudanile and Alrakoba websites).
Egypt named Abdul Fattah Hassan as its representative in the Sudan Elections Commission for 1953. Besides Egypt’s membership in the Elections Commission, it must be reminded of two other points connected with Egypt’s acceptance of conducting elections in Halayb region.
At the time, the Sudan was still an English-Egyptian colony run by the two countries under agreements they signed together. Therefore, Egypt had a role in running the Sudan affairs, a role that was boosted with formation of the Governor-General’s Council, under the Autonomy Act, in which Egypt was a member, namely Hassan Zul Figar, who had remained Egypt’s representative and advisor for the Governor-General till the end of December 1955.
For these reasons, Egypt had considerably and effectively participated in the 1953 elections the constituencies of which included Halayb region and its constituency, 70 Amar’ar and Al-Bushareen, was won by Mohamed Karrar Kajur of the National Unionist Party.
The elections were also run in the villages which lied north of Wadi Halfa and latitude 22 North (Surrah, Farus, Dibairah and Argin which were known as Half Protrusion) and the constituency of those villages, Constituency 29 Wadi Halfa, was won by Mohamed Nor al-Dinn, also of the National Unionist Party.
3. In spite of its status as party to the Condominium on the Sudan, Cairo had not raised the question of conducting by the Sudan of the elections in Halayb region nor was this opposed or objected to by Egypt’s representative in the Elections Commission, Abdul Fattah Hassan. Those elections, their details and results, including the elections in Halayb region, were blessed by Hussein Zul Figar, the Egyptian member in the Governor-General’s Council which supervised the exercise and approved its outcome.
Therefore, the 1953 elections was evidence of Halayb region full affiliation to the Sudan and Egypt’s full acceptance of this situation which confirmed by the memorandum on Egypt’s full recognition of the independence of Sudan.
That memorandum did not contain any reference to Halayb region or its affiliation to Egypt nor did it contain any condition for this recognition. Thus, the Egyptian recognition of the independence of the Sudan, with its political borders that encompass Halayb and Halfa Protrusion, was made in 1956 without any conditions or provisions.
4. A comparison must be held between the Egyptian position towards Halayb and the Ethiopian position towards Gambila region which was then under the administration of the Sudan.
The Ethiopian government asked the government of Ismael al-Azhary to give that region back to Ethiopia before the latter recognized the independence of the Sudan.
Azhary’s government eventually handed Gambila over to Ethiopia on January 1, 1956 when the English and Egyptian flags were pulled down and the Sudanese flag flew for minutes before it was brought down and substituted by the Ethiopian flag and the region was handed over to the new Ethiopian governor, his administrative crew and his military unit.
5. The Second Sudanese Parliamentary Elections, 1958:
Preparations for the second parliamentary elections began in September 1957 and the voting was declared to start on February1, 1958 in all parts of the Sudan. During that electoral atmosphere, Egypt, for the first time, decided to raise Halayb Triangle question on 29 January 1958 when it sent the Sudanese Government a memorandum objecting to inclusion of Halayb region of the Red Sea coast and the region that lies north of Wadi Halfa among the electoral constituencies.
It argued that the measure contradicted the agreement of January 19, 1899 and violated the Egyptian sovereignty.
Acting on this allegation, the Egyptian government dispatched a military unit to Halayb region and another memorandum dated 9 February 1958 delivered by then Egypt’s Ambassador to Khartoum Saif al-Yazal Khalifa to then Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Khalil on 13 February 1958.
That memorandum provided for participation by the inhabitants of Halayb and north of Wadi Halfa regions in the referendum establishing the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria.
Soon upon receiving this memorandum, the Sudan officially declared on 13 February, 1958 its absolute objection to the referendum Egypt had decided to organize in Halayb and North Wadi regions on grounds that the two regions were Sudanese territories according to the amendments of the Condominium Agreement and the subsequent understandings and according to the practical and administrative measures made by the Sudan in Halayb during the Condominium and the first civilian rule (from 1902 to 1958).
Following those memoranda, a number of developments occurred, including a complaint by the Sudan to the UN Security Council, Egypt’s reversal of its decision of conducting the referendum, withdrawal of its military unit and permitting the Sudan to go on organizing the elections of 1958 (see articles by Dr. Salman Mohamed Ahmed Salman on Halayb dispute and the Sudan’s complaint to the UN Security Council published on his website and Sudanile and Alrakoba websites).
The Sudanese elections were conducted during February and March 1958 and Halayb constituency was divided into two constituencies- Amar’ar 96 which was won by Mohamed Hamad Mussa, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Bushareen 97 won by Hamid Karrar Ahmed, also PDP- while Mohamed Nor al-Dinn (PDP) retained his seat of Halfa Constituency 143.
Thus the second parliamentary elections were conducted in all parts of the Sudan, including Halayb region which became two electoral constituencies.
Egypt’s recantation, organization of the Sudanese elections and non-organization of the Egyptian referendum offered a firm proof that supported the Sudan’s position in the Halayb dispute.
6. The Central Council Elections, 1963:
The Government of General Ibrahim Abboud did not formulate a constitution for ruling the Sudan during the six years of his regime. In fact, that government did not even form a committee for writing a draft of a constitution and kept ruling the country under republican orders issued by the high council of the armed forces.
The high council, one year after seizure of power by Gen. Abboud, formed a committee under the chairmanship then Chief Justice Mohamed Ahmed Abu Rannat in 1959 to consider participation by the people in ruling the country.
That committee proposed the establishment of elected local councils all over the Sudan, provided that the local councils in each one of the nine provinces would elect a council for that province and each council of the nine provinces had to elect six of its members to the Khartoum-based Central Council.
In addition to the 54 members who were not elected in direct elections, the Chairman of the High Council would appoint 18 members, raising the membership of the Central Council to 72 members.
However, Gen. Abboud’s Government did not consider the proposals by Chief Justice Abu Rannat’s committee until 1963 when it held the elections and formed the Central Council.
Those elections were conducted in all parts of the Sudan, including Halayb region, without any objection by the Egyptian government and the Central Council was set up in 1963.
7. The Third Sudanese Parliamentary Elections, 1965:
Seven months after the success of October Revolution in 1964 and the downfall of Gen. Ibrahim Abboud’s regime, the third parliamentary elections In the Sudan’s history were organized in June 1965 and included Halayb region which this time was divided into three constituencies. The result of the elections in the region was as follows:
First: Constituency 176 Atabai was won by Mohamed Osman al-Hajj Titah- the National Unionist Party (NUP).
Second: Constituency 177 Al-Oleeb, was won by Mohamed Karrar Kajur-NUP.
Third: Constituency 178 Sidon, was won by Ahmed Ali Abdullah- NUP.
The elections were conducted in the three constituencies without exiting any objection or even a remark by Egypt which did not make a reference to the UN Security Council which provided for going back to the situation which prevailed before 29 January 1958 and for discussion by the Sudanese and Egyptian parties of the dispute after the March 1958 elections.
8. The Fourth Sudanese Parliamentary Elections, 1968:
The fourth parliamentary elections in Sudan was organized in 1968 in the wake of disbanding the Constituent Assembly in February of that year, with Halayb region having three constituencies as was the case in the 1965 elections and the results were as follows:
First: Constituency 176 Atabai was by Mohamed Osman al-Hajj Titah, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Second: Constituency 177 Al-Oleeb won by Mohamed al-Amin al-Tahir, DUP.
Third: Constituency 178 Sidon won by Abu al-Nass Ibrahim al-Hindi, DUP.
It is to be mentioned that the National Unionist Party (NUP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which won Halayb constituencies in the 1958 and 1965 respectively amalgamated in 1967 as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
9. The Referendum on the Presidency of the Republic:
The referendum on the presidency which Col. Jaafer Nimery won to become the first President of the Republic in Sudan was organized in August 1971, a few months after an abortive coup d’état led by Major Hashim al-Atta.
The referendum included Halayb region and Egypt did not make any protest or remarks about it; but a close examination of the events of that period of the Sudan history concludes that then Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat was among those who pushed Nimery to become President of the Sudan.
It was obvious that the referendum in Halayb region was, for Sadat, something that did not deserve contemplation as seizure by Col. Nimery of the Presidency in Khartoum was of a high strategic importance for Cairo at that time.
10. The Fifth Sudanese Parliamentary Elections, 1986:
The fifth parliamentary elections in Sudan were held in April 1986, a year after the downfall of Marshal Jaafer Nimery.
Like the previous elections, the geographic constituencies included Halayb region, but the three previous constituencies (Atabai, Al-Oleeb and Sidon) were made into one constituency named Halayb Constituency 203 and was won by Eissa Ahmed al-Hajj Mohamed of the DUP.
It must be added that the re-demarcation of Halayb constituencies used to be made in accordance with the borders of the Amar’ar and Al-Bushareen council which was renamed Halayb Rural Council during Nimery’s regime.
Just like its behavior during the previous Sudanese elections, Cairo kept silent, showing no objection or remarks about inclusion of Halayb region in the geographic constituencies for the fifth Sudanese parliamentary elections in 1986.
It kept silent despite the fact that the relations with Khartoum greatly worsened during that year due to refusal by Egypt to extradite to the Sudan the deposed President Jaafer Nimery who took asylum in Cairo after he was toppled in 1985 while he was en route from Washington to Khartoum.
Cairo retained silence in spite of renaming the region “Halayb Constituency” for the first time in the history of the Sudanese elections, something which must have dispelled any ambiguity about the implications of conducting the Sudanese elections in this region.
The fifth parliamentary elections of 1986 were the last elections before seizure of power in Khartoum by the National Islamic Front in the June 30, 1989 coup d’état. Egyptian forces then entered and occupied Halayb region in 1992.
11. With this presentation it can be concluded that all the Sudanese elections which were conducted during 1953 – 1986 covered Halayb region while no Egyptian elections were organized in the region during that period. And the only attempt by Egypt to conduct a referendum in Halayb in 1958 was unsuccessful and Egypt changed its mind one day before the scheduled date of the referendum after objection by the Sudan with a complaint to the UN Security Council.
However, the situation changed radically in 1992 when the Egyptian forces entered and occupied Halayb in the wake of deterioration of the relations between the Ingaz regime and that of Mubarak. Cairo officially announced annexation of Halayb in 1995 following an abortive attempt on the life of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for which the Ingaz regime was held fully responsible.
Ever since that date, the Sudan has ceased exercising its sovereignty, rights and duties in Halayb region and has remained silent since then.
This is the official government position, and equally the position of the Sudanese opposition parties, towards the situation and developments in Halayb.
For these reasons, the National Elections Commission in the Sudan is fully aware that, just like what happened in 2010, it cannot organize elections in Halayb in 2015.
The Commission is also fully aware that its statements are made only to gain a media momentum in the face of the broad popular indifference towards the Commission and the elections.
Khartoum, Oct. 16, 2014- President of the Republic and Chairman of the National Congress Party (NCP), Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, chaired Wednesday evening the two meetings of the NCP leadership Office and the higher committee of the party building for the elections, which reviewed the ongoing preparations for convening the NCP Fourth during 23 - 27 October.
The NCP Deputy Chairman for the Party's Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, said in a press statement after the two meetings that the Leadership Office has approved the membership of the General Conference of the Party who were promoted from the states conferences and the professional conferences, besides the agenda of the Leadership Council and the Shura Council and got assured on the situation of the party building.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ghandour affirmed that the NCP General Conference will witness extensive internal and international participation, referring to the participation of (88) of the partisan leaders representing political parties in (58) sister and friendly countries in the governments and the opposition, adding that invitations were extended to a number of political leaders, national figures, sheikhs of Sufi sects, religious leaders, media-men and other personalities.
Prof. Ghandour said that the meeting was also informed on the situation of the printing of reports and working papers that to be reviewed by the NCP General Conference, indicating that the meeting has discussed the arrangements for convening the leadership body of the Shura Council, scheduled for next Monday to nominate and selecting five leaders for competing for position of the Party's Chairman and the position of the President of the Republic in the coming elections, so as to be tabled before the meeting of the National Shura Council which scheduled to be held on October 21, where three of these five will be elected in order to be tabled before the General Conference for the direct competition and election by the General Conference, noting that the one who gains rate of (50 +1) will be adopted as party's chairman and the candidate for the Presidency of the Republic in the coming elections.
October 16, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has refused to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations next January, asking the Sudan Football Association (SFA) to postpone hosting of the 2017 tournament finals.
The decision comes two days after officials in SFA expressed Khartoum readiness to host the finals instead of the original host, Morocco.
Morocco’s government has written to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to delay the 17 January to 8 February event because of the Ebola outbreak.
The CAF said it would discuss Morocco’s request to defer the date at the next meeting of its executive committee on November 2 nd.
More than 4,000 people have died from the Ebola epidemic, most of them in west African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - since the beginning of the year.
Guinea and Sierra Leone are involved in ongoing group qualifiers while Liberia were eliminated in the preliminary knockout phase.
The Sudanese cabinet on Wednesday has commissioned the minister of youth and sports, Abdel-Hafiz al-Sadiq, to convey its decision to SFA.
Al-Sadiq also received a presidential directive to delay Sudan’s hosting of the 2017 African Cup of Nations finals.
The minister of health, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, said in press statements that the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, in the presence of the relevant ministries including youth and sports ministry, decided to refuse hosting the 2015 tournament.
He said Ebloa is an infectious and deadly disease which is widely spread in West African countries, noting the latter are the most participating nations in the tournament finals.
“This is a real risk and the country must not take it,” he added.
Abu Garda underscored that his ministry took several measures to prevent the spread of Ebola in Sudan, pointing to formation of higher committee including the civil aviation corporation, foreign and interior ministries, security services, and the refugees’ commission besides the health ministry’s relevant committees in Darfur and eastern Sudan.
The minister said he does not think that Ebola poses potential risk to Sudan, expressing fear over the disease spread in Africa, America, Spain and Germany.
He pointed that several hospitals in Khartoum and trained doctors are ready to deal with any suspected cases of the disease, stressing close coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) in this regard.
The SFA financial secretary, Osma Atta al-Manan, had earlier told the “Sudan Koora” website that CAF decided to put Sudan as the first variant if Morocco declined to host the finals.
He emphasised Sudan’s readiness to host the tournament, saying Khartoum could host three groups and a fourth one could be hosted in Port Sudan.
Atta al-Manan added that a trilateral meeting including the Sudanese presidency, SFA and the ministry of youth and sports will convene within the few coming days to support CAF’s decision to organise the tournament in Sudan.
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