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September 2010 - Posts

International Conference on Sudan in New York Issues its Final Communiqué

New York, Sept. 25 (SUNA)- The international Conference on Sudan, which was sponsored by the United Nations, has concluded its meetings and issued its final communiqué which included the commitment of the two partners in Sudan to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)

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vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha (AFP)

 . The communiqué referred to the progress achieved by the two partners in solving complicated issues throughout the past five years as well as their commitment to hold a peaceful, free and credible referendum in the appropriate time in a manner that reflects the will of the people of south Sudan and Abyei area

 

The final communiqué also included the commitment of the two parties of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to surpass all the political and technical challenges and to guarantee holding the two referendums in the fixed times

 

The participants at the meeting assured their strong support to the two partners in equal basis a pledged to respect the certified results of the two referendums, and pledged to help the Sudanese people realize durable peace all over the country after the period of the two referendums

 

The participants welcomed the commitment of the two parties of CPA to reach solutions for the issues of the borders, security, citizenship, immigration, debts, assets and the natural resources

 

The communiqué affirmed the importance of concentration on conducting the people's consultancy in a comprehensive way in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan States in the suitable time and with credibility

 

The participants also welcomed the support being extended by the IGAD, the Arab League the Organization of Islamic Conference and the other regional and international partners of Sudan

 

 

World tell Sudan leaders they are responsible for resolving their own problems

September 24, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – A high profile meeting on Sudan sponsored by the United Nations today stressed the need to hold the January 2011 referendum in the South as planned and in a fair and transparent manner.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (C) greets semi-autonomous South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (L) and Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha (R), before a high level meeting on Sudan, at United Nations headquarters, in New York, September 24, 2010 (Reuters)

The two Vice presidents of Sudan Salva Kiir and Ali Osman Taha attended the conference along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. president Barack Obama and leaders from Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda as well as officials from UK, France, China and Germany.

Obama’s participation sought to assure skeptical Sudan advocacy groups at home and countries abroad that the U.S. at its highest levels is engaged in efforts to maintain peace and stability in Africa’s largest country.

Sleepince I took office, my administration has worked for peace in Sudan. In my meetings with world leaders, I’ve urged my counterparts to fully support and contribute to the international effort that is required. [U.S.] Ambassador [to the UN] Susan Rice has worked tirelessly to build a strong and active coalition committed to moving forward. My special envoy, General Gration, has worked directly with the parties in his 20 visits to the region,” Obama said.

"At this moment, the fate of millions of people hangs in the balance. What happens in Sudan in the days ahead may decide whether people who have endured too much war, move towards peace or slip backwards to bloodshed. And what happens in Sudan matters to all of sub-Saharan Africa, and it matters to the world," he added.

Obama stressed that the U.S. brokered 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan must be “full implemented” and particularly the provisions related to the referendum which he said “must take place, peacefully and on time”.

The referendum process is well behind schedule as a result of persistent political wrangling between the National Congress Party (NCP) in the North and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the South.

The voter registration process of Southerners is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-October. However, the lengthy process can only be concluded after the voters’ lists are made public and people are given an opportunity to challenge its authenticity. An appeals authority then makes a decision on any challenges presented before it.

Furthermore, there has yet to be an agreement on thorny post-referendum issues such as oil revenue sharing, national debt, border demarcation and citizenship.

A separate referendum in the oil rich region of Abyei over whether it should join the North and South is all but certain to be delayed as a commission has yet to be established.

The tight schedule raised fears among international diplomats that the referendum will have to be postponed to the dismay of Southerners who may decide to declare unilateral independence and prompt the North to declare war in order to prevent a forced secession.

The New York Times (NYT) reported that the Sudanese had sought a closed meeting, but ultimately it was open leaving Taha, and Kiir to sketch their differences in diplomatic terms.

Taha assured the gathering that the referendum would be held on time, but he criticized the international community for supporting peace on one hand while continuing the “demonization” of the north on the other.

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictment of Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, on war crimes charges, economic sanctions, the lack of debt relief and Sudan’s presence on the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism were all intended to weaken the country, he said.

However, Obama hinted that Bashir who stand accused of genocide in Darfur must eventually face justice.

"There can be no lasting peace in Darfur—and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States—without accountability for crimes that have been committed," he said.

"There can be no lasting peace in Darfur—and no normalization of relations between Sudan and the United States—without accountability for crimes that have been committed….genocide is not acceptable," Obama said.

Kiir on the other hand said that the Jan. 9 referendum date was sacred and that any technical delays had to be overcome. “Any delays risk the return to instability and violence,” he said.

"Yes, unity has been given a priority" since the 2005 peace deal, he said, though it was no longer "an attractive option" for the people of southern Sudan.

The UN chief laid out what’s expected out of Sudan in the coming few months.

“Sudanese, North and South, must negotiate agreements that reflect the reality of a shared history and shared resources – agreements on border management, citizenship, migration, security, debts and assets. These issues do not all need to be resolved ahead of the referenda, but it is crucial that a mutually beneficial framework for managing North-South relations is put in place quickly,” Ban said.

“We expect the referenda to be peaceful, carried out in an environment free of intimidation or other infringements of rights,” he added.

Obama and other leaders at the conference such as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi reiterated the message that the leaders of Sudan are ultimately the ones who need to figure a way to resolve their problems.

“But no one can impose progress and peace on another nation. Ultimately, only Sudanese leaders can ensure that the referenda go forward and that Sudan finds peace…. two paths lay ahead: one path taken by those who flout their responsibilities and for whom there must be consequences — more pressure and deeper isolation.

The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting said that the participants “voiced strong support to both CPA parties and confirmed their commitment to respect the outcome of credible referenda and to assist the Sudanese achieve sustainable peace throughout Sudan in the post-referenda period”.

“They noted the delays in the preparations for the referenda and called for the urgent establishment of the Abyei Referendum Commission and for the acceleration of the work of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission,” it added.

The Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki announced that a special summit for the countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will be held in his country to assess progress in resolving the key issues holding up the referendum.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese information minister Kamal Obeid warned that Southerners in the North will not enjoy citizenship rights in the events of secession but will be considered subjects of another state.

Secretary-General and Sudanese Vice-President discuss upcoming referenda

First Vice-President of Sudan Salva Kiir

23 September 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the First Vice-President of Sudan Salva Kiir today held discussions on the upcoming referenda in the African country on the self-determination of southern Sudan and the central region of Abyei.

The Secretary-General expressed his concern that the Abyei Referendum Commission is still not established, according to information released by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

The two leaders also talked about the importance of holding the referenda on time and without any violence or acts of intimidation.

Mr. Ban expressed the international community’s determination to respect the outcome of the vote, and underscored the need for all concerned to adhere strictly to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended a two-decade north-south civil war in Sudan.

The Secretary-General and Mr. Kiir, who is also President of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, reviewed the situation in the conflict-affected Darfur region of western Sudan and the need for an inclusive peace process to end that conflict.

Inhabitants of the south will vote on 9 January next year on whether to secede from Sudan or remain united with the rest of the country. On the same day, residents of Abyei, located in the centre of the country, will vote separately on whether to retain Abyei’s special administrative status in the north or become part of Bahr el-Ghazal state in the south.

Mr. Ban yesterday announced the appointment of three members of a UN panel tasked with monitoring the referenda.

The former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa will head the panel, while former Portuguese foreign minister Antonio Monteiro and former Nepalese election commission chairman Bhojraj Pokharel will serve as the other two members.

The referenda will be the final phase in the implementation of the CPA.

Obama says will back Sudan, declares new aid policy
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By Alister Bull and Steve Holland

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday pledged support for a peaceful shift to democracy in Sudan ahead of a January referendum many fear could lead to violence, as he declared a new U.S. approach to development.

"We will reach out to countries making the transition from authoritarianism to democracy, and from war to peace," the president told a summit to curb poverty held at the United Nations, according to remarks prepared for delivery.

"As others show the courage to put war behind them -- including, we hope, in Sudan -- the United States will stand with those who seek to build and sustain peace," he told the summit on the Millennium Development Goals to ease poverty.

The January 9 referendum on the independence of south Sudan is likely to split the oil-rich nation in two. Any delay in the vote could re-open a 20-year conflict responsible for 2 million deaths, mostly from hunger and disease.

Obama will also attend a special summit on Sudan on Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

U.N. officials say the summit is intended to send a strong signal to north and south Sudan that the world is committed to helping Africa's largest country ensure that the secession referendum -- which finalizes the 2005 peace deal which ended decades of war between the two sides -- takes place on time.

"The number one message is that these referendums must go off on time, that they must be peaceful, and they must reflect the will of the people of south Sudan," Samantha Power, White House senior director of multilateral affairs, said on Monday.

The United States says it will gradually improve both economic and diplomatic relations, with the prospect of full normalization, if Khartoum in the north allows the vote to take place, fully implements the 2005 peace deal and resolves the conflict in the western region of Darfur.

OBAMA DEBUTS POLICY ON U.S. DEVELOPMENT

The world has set tough U.N. targets to tackle extreme poverty by 2015, and while the strong growth of China and India have lifted living standards for millions of people, progress on other goals like maternal and child health has been slower.

America's first president of African heritage -- his father was Kenyan -- acknowledged progress in the fight against poverty, but said it still fell short of what was needed.

In a speech that recalled his own experience of growing up in Indonesia, where his mother worked on behalf of the rural poor, Obama said he was declaring an overhaul of the way that the United States applies aid.

"Today, I am announcing our new U.S. Global Development Policy -- the first of its kind by an American administration," Obama said. "Put simply, the United States is changing the way we do business."

The White House said this will mean an increased focus on economic growth and development that would divert U.S. assistance to the areas where conditions looked ripest to yield sustainable progress. But the overall scale of U.S. aid was not expected to decline as a result.

"Let me be clear, the United States of America has been, and will remain, the global leader in providing assistance. We will not abandon those who depend on us for life-saving help. We keep our promises, and honor our commitments," Obama said.

Sudan’s NCP decries intimidations, threatens to not recognize referendum outcome

September 23, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) denounced today the lack of freedom to campaign for the referendum on self determination in southern Sudan and threatened to not recognize its result.

Southern Sudanese have to determine the future of their region by casting their vote next January in favor of the establishment of a new state in the semi-autonomous region or to reiterate their adhesion to a united Sudan.

The southern Sudan ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) officials campaigns in favor of the independence while its peace partner and dominant NCP struggles to preserve a united Sudan.

The freedom of campaigning is seen crucial to gain the support of the international community to the results of an acceptable referendum. It also will diminish tensions and lays the road for a peaceful separation if the vote confirms this current expectation.

In a press conference held in Khartoum jointly with the opposition Alliance of South Sudan Political Parties, Ali Tamim Fartak member of NCP leadership council and head of political secretariat at the NCP referendum committee, condemned the intimations and detention of NCP members and restrictions they face in the semi-autonomous region.

He further stressed that these practices breach the 2005 peace deal, the interim constitution and the Referendum Act. He called on the president of southern Sudan government to direct the release of the detainees and ensure the freedom of campaigning for the referendum.

Fartak and the members of the alliance said their members campaigning for unity in southern Sudan are intimidated and arrested by local authorities in Greater Bahar el-Ghazal and Unity states.

Also the SPLM-DC issued today a press statement echoing Fartak’s statements. The opposition party said it has several members in Upper Nile state arrested since May and a member travelled recently to Aweil, capital of North Bahr al Ghazal, had to leave the town for his personal safety after being prevented from campaigning for the referendum.

The NCP leading member warned that they would not allow the SPLM to seize their right to campaign freely or to confiscate the will of southerners. Fartak also stressed they will continue to put pressure to create conducive environment for a fair and transparent referendum.

He added they will inform the international community, regional and international organizations to facilitate a democratic atmosphere for the conduct of the referendum.

He underlined such environment will make the outcome of the referendum acceptable by all the parties. Otherwise this result would not be recognized due to the "direct threat" to the referendum in the south.

The SPLM-DC went further to say "Those who today pretend to be overzealous for a separation vote while ignoring the requirements of a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of an internationally acceptable referendum are the very enemies of the cause of separation".

"Because they are walking into a trap," the party emphasized.

"How will South Sudan go for a historic and momentous vote divided?"

The President of Southern Sudan government stated recently that all political forces will be allowed to campaign freely in the south for unity or separation.

Before his trip to the USA, Salva Kiir announced that a meeting on South –South dialogue will be held in Juba next month where all the political force in the region.

President Al-Bashir Hails African leaders' Support to Sudan

Khartoum, Sept 22 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, has hailed African leaders' support to Sudan

 

Interviewed by the Kenyan Diplomacy Magazine, President Al Bashir shed light on the political developments and economic changes in Sudan as well as Sudan's experience in maintaining continous economic cooperation, even under the embargo imposed on it

 

President has also discussed Sudan relations with the neigbouring countries and the African stand alongside Sudan even amid the threats facing the continent

 

The Diplomacy Magazine is widely circulated in East and Central Africa

Kiir says independence of South Sudan is all but certain

September 18, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The First Vice President of Sudan and the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir today suggested that maintaining the unity of the country is increasingly appearing to be an unrealistic outcome after the 2011 referendum.

Southern Sudan will hold a referendum on January 9 to decide if it would declare independence or remain with the rest of Sudan.

A second referendum is expected to be held in Abyei which would choose between the north and south.

The referendums are part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) accord which ended a 22-year-long civil war in which an estimated two million people died.

"At the moment all signs point to the fact that on January 9, 2011 Southern Sudanese people will vote overwhelmingly for their own independence," Kiir told an audience at the Washington Convention Center in the U.S capital.

Kiir accused his former rivals at the National Congress Party (NCP) of dragging its feet on the referendum process and warned that the January 9th date must be honored under any circumstances saying the timing is “sacrosanct”.

The Southern leader called on the international community to make clear "that no disruption or delay to these referenda can be tolerated” adding that recurrence of war and violence is likely should a postponement occur.

"There is without question a real risk of a return to violence on a massive scale if the referenda do not go ahead as scheduled," he said.

"The weight of our history, the depths of our peoples’ suffering and corresponding expectations, the promises of their leaders both in the North and South, and the guarantees of the international community create no space for wavering on this," Kiir added.

The South Sudan referendum commission is well behind schedule on preparing for the plebiscite and doubts have been casted over whether the voter registration process can take place as planned in October.

This delay was caused primarily by the standoff between the North and South over the referendum law and then the composition of the commission.

Furthermore, many post-referendum arrangements have yet to be ironed out particularly border demarcation, oil sharing, citizenship, national debts and water.

Kiir expressed concern over calls that the South must concede some of the oil it is producing to the North for it to gain its independence.

"There are rising calls that the South must make accommodations and compromises if it expects the North to accept its independence," Kiir said, adding that he was troubled by the notion that the South would have to "buy its freedom" by surrendering its oil rights.

Currently the North and South split oil revenues of the crude produced in the South.

This week the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that the North has fears over losing control over the South oil fields.

"Even if we did everything perfectly ... the reality is that this is going to be a very hard decision for the north to accept," Clinton said.

"So we’ve got to figure out some ways to make it worth their while to peacefully accept an independent south and for the south to recognize that unless they want more years of warfare and no chance to build their own new state they’ve got to make some accommodations with the north as well" she added.

"What happens to the oil revenues?" she said. "And if you’re in the north and all of a sudden you think a line’s going to be drawn and you’re going to lose 80 percent of the oil revenues, you’re not a very enthusiastic participant. What are the deals that can possibly be made that will limit the potential of violence?"

Kiir said his government was working out final details on finding a mutually acceptable formula on how the North and South Sudan will split the country’s oil revenues. He urged the world and the U.S. in particular to take a leadership role in facilitating the negotiations.

U.S. President Barack Obama will join other world leaders at a U.N. summit on Sudan next week in a sign of mounting concern that the January vote could reopen a 20-year conflict responsible for 2 million deaths, mostly from hunger and disease.

The United States has intensified its diplomatic engagement with both sides, and this week offered South Sudan and the northern government in Khartoum a new package of incentives to reach a deal, balanced by the threat of new punitive measures including sanctions if progress stalls.

Kiir is not expected to meet with any senior U.S. official during his visit as he was not offered any such summit according to Rep. Donald Payne who delivered opening remarks at the convention.

The South Sudan president urged the world to accept the referendum outcome despite any possible flaws that may emerge,

"Southern Sudan is not like Switzerland," Kiir said. "It is not realistic to demand perfection."

In Cairo, the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti dismissed talk of possible war irrespective of the sticking negotiating issues between the North and South.

Sudan pledges to try perpetrators of North Darfur attack

September 17, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan today has pledged to bring to justice militiamen who killed over 50 persons during an attack on Tabra village in North Darfur state two weeks ago.

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Sudan Presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Eddin Atabani, left, visiting Otash IDPs camp in South Darfur on June 14, 2009 ( photo S. Darfur state)

Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Eddin Attabi met Friday in Tawilla in North Darfur with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled from the affected village in northern Jebel Marra.

Ghazi offered his condolences to the IDPs for the death of their relatives in the attack. Accompanied by the governor of North Darfur, the official who is in charge of Darfur file distributed emergency aid,.

He further told the residents that the government would take all the necessary measures to provide security and relief to the civilians. He stressed that the concerned authorities will pursue the criminals involved in the crime and brings them to a fair trial.

Since the start of the conflict in 2003, this is the first time that a government high ranking official admits the responsibility of the government supported militiamen of an attack on Darfur civilians.

Yesterday, the government adopted a new strategy to end the seven year conflict in the restive region through the return of IDPs to their homeland, collect of illegal arms, and implementation of development projects.

The plan also says the elected governors and local institutions will play a greater role in the establishment of security and the implementation of the strategy.

North Darfur Governor Osman Mohamed Yousef Kibir announced today the formation of a commission of inquiry headed by a judge and composed of a representative of the native administration, legal department, the police, the army, security service, the state legislative assembly and all concerned parties to investigate the attack.

He appealed on people who witnessed the assault on Tabra to cooperate with the commission and not hide any information about the attack. He further vowed to prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to trial.

A UN-mandated human rights expert on Sudan, Justice Mohamed Chande Osman, last Tuesday urged the Sudanese government to investigate reports of the attack. "This incident should be investigated thoroughly and impartially and those responsible should be brought to justice," he stressed.

The leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement, Abdel Wahid Al-Nur threatened to wage war against the government if the attacks on civilians continue in the region. His reaction came after statements published by the pro-government media accusing his group of carrying attacks in Darfur camps on supporters of another rebel group negotiating with the government in Doha.

The attack took place on the afternoon of Thursday 2 September, the day of the weekly market of the area and where a large crowed was gathered. The SLM-AW said a notorious militia leader called Al-Nur Ahmed was behind the attack.

Some survivors of the bloody attack told Reuters today from Tawilla that militiamen riding horses and camels entered into the market "pretending to be buying goods before spraying the shops with gunfire".

After the start of the killing vehicles mounted with machine guns and carrying militia fighters appeared and rounded up some of the men, a survivor said.

"They laid them down and they came up close and shot them in their heads," Abakr Abdelkarim, told Reuters. He further said "some men were tied with rope behind the cars and dragged until they died."

Kiir cautions South Sudan armed forces over involvement in politics

September 13, 2010 (JUBA) — Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of the semi-autonomous regional government of Southern Sudan and commander in chief of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), has cautioned the military against indulging in partisan politics.

"Your most sacred obligation is to protect and defend the constitution, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of South Sudan," he said in his speech at a military meeting attended by high ranking officers at the SPLA general headquarters on Saturday

Kiir’s statements come four months after April elections which witnessed the participation of former SPLA high ranking officers in the pulls as independent candidates. One of them, the general George Athor, who contested the outcome of the vote, is now tracked by SPLA forces after his rebellion

He said the armed forces, be it police, or any other, must uphold their reputations. He said it was the military’s sacred duty to continue its pursuit of high standards in professionalism and to dedicate themselves to the protection of the constitution.

"Even though you are in a regimented profession and must command, you will be better commanders when you care about the welfare of the men and women under your command,” urged Kiir.

During the past five years the southern Sudan government exerted efforts to ensure the transformation of the former rebel SPLA to a professional army. However many things remain undone in the areas of training, modern equipment and remunerations.

Kiir said the government was committed to expanding and strengthening the force to transform it into a professional army which will make South Sudan inhospitable for criminals.

He promised the government’s resolve to support military training and collaboration with other African countries in order to work with the African Standby Force - a new international military force working under the African Union.

"The government had taken steps towards resolving the challenges facing men and officers of the military and those measures will yield dividends in the not too distant future," said Kiir.

Chief of General Staff in the SPLA, James Hoth Mai, assured Kiir of the commitment of the army to develop and maintain an atmosphere of "trust and honesty."

Sudan denies UN arrangements to move JEM leader to Darfur

September 13, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese government dismissed press reports about arrangements by the United Nations to move the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to Darfur from Libya.

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A fighter of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) stands guard during a meeting with the UN and Au envoys on April 18, 2008 (Reuters)

London based Asharq Al-Awsat daily said this week that preparations are taking place to transport JEM chairman Khalil Ibrahim to Darfur. The report further said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is backing an initiative by the Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassole to hold talks

Djibril Bassole told Sudan Tribune last week he intends to seek Sudan’s agreement to arrange a meeting in Darfur with the rebel leader who is currently in Tripoli, Libya, since last May after the refusal of the Chadian authorities to allow him to cross to Darfur.

The peace mediator, who arrived today in Doha, will fly this week to Khartoum to inform officially the Sudanese government of his initiative.

"The Government had not been informed (officially) about such arrangement," said a statement issued by the office of Presidential Advisor Ghazi Salah Eddin who is in charge of Darfur file.

"The United Nations cannot take such action without the knowledge and consent of the Sudanese government," the statement stressed.

Rabie Abdel Atti, an advisor to Sudanese minister of information said in statements published today in Khartoum "Khalil is an outlaw in the eyes of the government and his return can only be implemented after the signing of a peace agreement".

For its part, the rebel group welcomed Bassole’s statements about Darfur’s meeting. JEM leader in May said he would not return to Doha before to consult with his commanders in Darfur.

JEM froze its participation in the Doha peace process in May after accusing Khartoum of breaching a cessation of hostilities agreement signed in February of this year.

U.S. special envoy meets senior Sudanese officials

(KHARTOUM) – The United States special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration met today with senior Sudanese officials including 2nd Vice president Ali Osman Taha, presidential advisers Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani and Salah Gosh as well as foreign minister Ali Karti.

Karti was quoted by Sudan official news agency (SUNA) as saying that discussions cantered on the new Darfur strategy crafted by Khartoum and the progress in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and preparations for the upcoming referendum in the South including the work of the commission and "good start" on border demarcation.

He noted the upcoming meeting on Sudan at the UN headquarters on September 24 called for by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon which will focus on the referendum scheduled for next January in which Southerners will decide whether they want to have their own independent state.

The First Vice president Salva Kiir from the SPLM and 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha from the NCP are expected to join the meeting.

Karti expressed hope that the meeting will be prepared for in a positive manner to be consistent with the good progress on all issues relating to Darfur and the South.

Gration speaking to New York Times (NYT) expressed worry on the referendum process.

“We are really now down to make or break,” Gration said in a telephone interview from Juba, the regional capital of southern Sudan.

“We’ve reached a point where progress is critical. Without significant progress in the next days and weeks, things could be at risk.”

Gration said that in his meetings, no Sudanese official had threatened to hold up the referendum.

“But what they say and what they do are two different things,” he added.

Obama will participate in the UN meeting on Sudan as was announced earlier this week.

The White House took the unusual step of publicizing Obama’s attendance two weeks in advance, an administration official told NYT, to attract other influential participants and to shine a spotlight on the precarious situation.

Sudan says US derailing its debt relief quest

September 13, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – Political will in the United States is standing in the way of Sudan’s efforts to have its foreign debts waived, Sudan’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

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Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti (Reuters)
Ali Karti – Sudan’s foreign minister

The Sudanese privately owned daily Al-Akhbar yesterday quoted the country’s foreign minister, Ali Karti, as saying that the issue of Sudan’s foreign debts was “primarily political” and that the US was “not prepared to discuss it at all.”

Sudan has recently been lobbying extensively to persuade members of the international community to help its efforts to relieve its large external debt. The Sudanese government recently asked both the UK and the World Bank (WB) to assist its efforts to this effect.

According to official figures, the foreign debt of the east African nation is standing at about $35.7 billion. A little less than half of that amount is the original amount borrowed and the rest is divided between interest and late payment penalties.

Sudan has long complained that political discord with the West prevents it from joining the debt relief program known as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).

HIPC is a program that was initiated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WB in 1996 to provide insolvent countries with debt relief and low-interest loans to cancel or reduce external debt repayments to sustainable levels. There are currently 40 countries receiving assistance from HIPC.

Karti told the paper that WB officials who visited Sudan last week had attested to Sudan’s eligibility to receive assistance on debt reduction but added that “there is a political will in the United States that prevents this."

According to Karti, this attitude stems from the fact that the US was committed to the laws endorsed by Congress which describe Sudan as a terror-sponsoring State.

However, the WB’s Vice-President Obiageli Ezekwesili who visited Khartoum last week said that relieving Sudan’s foreign debt is conditional on "implementing free-of-bureaucracy economic reforms to liberate the levers of national economy from state control as well as instituting principles of accountability and corruption fighting."

The IMF, which is one of Sudan’s major debtors, said in a report last month that “Sudan’s record of cooperation on economic policies and payments to the fund augur well for the clearance of Sudan’s arrears at the appropriate time.”

However, the IMF urged Sudan to maintain patience on its pursuit of debt relief and to undertake further measures to keep borrowing under control.

According to the IMF, Sudan’s foreign debt is projected to reach $37.8 billion this year.

Office of Dr. Salahuddin Regards as Unofficial and Unathenticated News Reports on UN Preparation to Transport Khalil Ibrahim to Darfur

Khartoum, Sept. 13 (SUNA) - The office of the Presidential Advisor and official of Darfur file, Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin, pointed out that the reports circulated by some mass media on preparation of the UN to transport the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, to Darfur were not given officially by any of the United Nations officials, therefore they were considered unauthenticated

 

A press statement issued by the office of Dr. Salahuddin stated that the government was not informed about a preparation of the UN to transport Khalil Ibrahim to Darfur, indicating that it is known that the UN can not do such an act without the knowledge and agreement of Sudan government

 

The office of the Presidential Advisor and official of Darfur file added that the news on arrangement of the UN to transport Khalil Ibrahim to Darfur was nothing but an unreliable press report that does not necessitate taking action or adopting measure due to it

Studies Completed for Establishment of Dams on River Nile and its Tributaries

Khartoum, Sept. 13 (SUNA)- The Minister of Electricity and Dams, Usama Abdalla Mohamed Al-Hassan, has congratulated the Sudanese people and the employees at the ministry on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, affirming the keenness of his ministry to provide the electricity needed for the development all over the country

 

Meanwhile, the Minister and Executive Director of the Dams Implementation Unit, Engineer Mohamed Hassan Ahmed Al-Hadari, pointed out that the Dams Implementation Unit is playing a major role in boosting the development process at the agricultural, industrial and other fields

 

Engineer Al-Hadari said that studies were completed for establishment of dams on the River Nile and its tributaries by the end of the current year

 

He said that the coming period will witness signing of a number of contracts for implementing a number of dams in south and north Sudan, continuing work for heightening Rossaires Dam, establishing the Upper Nile and Setet dams and implementing water harvest water projects all over the states to provide drinking water for people, animals and agriculture

Haroun Attends Final of Unity Support Cultural Festival

Kadugli, Sept. 13 (SUNA0- The Wali (governor) of South Kordofan State, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, Monday afternoon witnessed conclusion of the Unity Support Cultural Festival in the presence of a number of ministers, commissioners and native administration leaders

 

He distributed cups and prizes to the winners in the horses and camel races, wrestling and other activities

 

Addressing the festival, Haroun said that the festival represents a clear message that the concepts of peace and peaceful and social co-existence have become deeply-rooted

 

He said that South Kordofan State will hold similar cultural festivals annually for bolstering the peace, fraternity and social co-existence in the state

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