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May 2011 - Posts

Sudan insists that it has final say on UNMIS’s stay

May 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government dismissed assertions that it is up to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to decide on whether the United Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) should stay or leave.

UNMIS was established in 2005 to ensure that northern and southern Sudan comply with the peace agreement they signed in the same year that ended two decades of civil war.

The South Sudan referendum, which is the final phase of the CPA, was held peacefully last January and resulted in an overwhelming vote in favor of independence.

Yesterday it was revealed that the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon affirming that his government wants UNMIS to leave by the end of its term on July 9th.

But the UN said that it is not up to Khartoum to determine that.

"Our position is simple and clear, it is a matter to be dealt with by the Security Council ... The government can express its wishes, ultimately the decision to leave or stay is a decision for the Security Council," Hua Jiang, a UN spokeswoman, told Reuters.

But the foreign ministry spokesperson Khalid Moussa commented on Jiang’s remarks saying that the Sudanese government makes that call and not the UNSC.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) media officer Ibrahim Ghandour said that any extension of UNMIS’s tenure cannot not be made without the consent of Khartoum, noting that this is stipulated by UN charter.

Sudanese army declares end to military operations in Abyei

May 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) announced on Saturday that it has ended its military operation in Abyei which lies on the North-South borders, a week after it moved on to seize control of the oil-producing region.

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A machinegun-mounted truck manned by members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) drive past burning businesses and homesteads, locally known as "tukuls", burn in the centre of Abyei, central Sudan in this handout photograph released on May 28, 2011 (Reuters)

Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) quoted SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad as saying that Abyei now "enjoys safety and security".

The military spokesperson called on the Dinka Ngok, Misseriya and other tribes to return to the region and resume their lives there. He vowed that SAF will provide protection to national and international humanitarian aid groups operating in Abyei.

Khartoum justified its takeover of Abyei by saying that it was in retaliation to an ambush near the region it blamed on the Southern military groups. The SAF convoy that came under attack was escorted by peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Widespread fighting and looting forced around 40,000 people to flee down muddy roads without their possessions. Entire villages were emptied, international organizations say.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) promised Abyei residents a referendum over whether to join the north or south, but that did not take place as neither could agree who was qualified to vote.

The South already voted last January in a separate referendum in favor of secession which will become official in July.

South Sudan Vice President travels to Khartoum to defuse tensions with the North

May 28, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, will travel to Khartoum on Saturday to defuse the escalating tensions between North and South over the Abyei crisis.

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Southern Sudanese regional vice president Riek Machar (L) listens to Sudan’s Second Vice President Ali Osman Taha during a meeting in Khartoum on July 10, 2010 (Getty)

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) captured the disputed Abyei region on Saturday 21 May.

The Northern military said they seized the border region in retaliation for the ambush on their troops last week by Southern units near Abyei which they claimed left 197 soldiers either missing or dead. The SAF convoy was being escorted by United Nations peacekeepers when the attack took place.

The clashes in Abyei resulted in the displacement of 20,000 people southwards to Warrap state in South Sudan.

President Omer Hassan al Bashir said his forces will continue to occupy Abyei until a peaceful solution is reached about the future of the disputed region.

He has also ordered a blockade on commercial vehicles taking goods into South Sudan, from the North resulting in food shortages in the southern states that share a border with the North.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday added a new layer of tension by declaring that they will not recognize the independence of the South in July unless the North-South border is demarcated.

On Friday the Council of Ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan held meeting and resolved to dispatch Vice President Machar to the national capital, Khartoum to reopen peaceful negotiations with the National Congress Party (NCP) on all outstanding issues including the Abyei dispute.

In a statement to the press shortly after the resolution was passed by the Council, the minister of Information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said Machar will lead a high level delegation including a number of ministers to Khartoum. He said he will meet with the Vice President of Sudan, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and other senior officials in the national government.

Marial explained that the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, briefed the Council on the current crisis in the country. Kiir said that South Sudan will not be drawn into a war and will pursue peaceful means to implement the outstanding issues of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

"South Sudan will not go back to war. It will never happen under my leadership and I have said this before," president Kiir told journalists at a well-attended press conference on Thursday.

He said if anybody thinks that South Sudan will “retaliate by attacking Abyei or anywhere in Sudan that will not happen.”

Kiir also appealed to the southern population to remain calm and ensure that the events in Abyei do not scupper preparations for the long-awaited independence of the region.

South Sudan, which will formally become independent on July 9, voted overwhelmingly for secession from the rest of Sudan in a self-determination referendum conducted in January this year. This is in accordance with the 2005 North-South peace deal which ended 21 years of civil war.

Both North and South need each other in order for their respective economies to prosper at least for the years immediately following separation in July.

Sudan’s NCP says no recognition of South Sudan state without border demarcation

May 27, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in North Sudan added a new layer of tension on Thursday by declaring that they will not recognize the independence of the South next July unless borders are demarcated.

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Indian soldiers serving as part of the Force Reserve Battalion with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) stand together as they prepare to depart on a patrol in Abyei town May 25, 2011 (Reuters)

The head of the NCP’s political mobilization bureau Al-Haj Magid Siwar said the process must be completed on the ground before they give their blessings to the new state.

"How can we approve and recognize a new state separate from us that we don’t know where their borders begin or end," Siwar said.

He stressed that there are six problematic border points slowing the process but he also accused the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of deliberately stalling their resolution.

In the past NCP officials have echoed Siwar’s assertions but later appeared to have dropped this condition.

If the North insists on completion of borders before the South’s split, it will further deepen the already growing crisis between the two sides following the takeover of Abyei by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) last weekend.

The Northern army said they seized the border region in retaliation for the ambush on their troops last week by Southern units near Abyei which they claimed left 197 soldiers either missing or dead. The SAF convoy was being escorted by United Nations peacekeepers when the attack took place.

While the United Nations acknowledged that is likely Southern units which fired on the units, they downplayed the casualties figures given by Khartoum saying that it is "much smaller".

Today the United States ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said North’s move on Abyei appears to be premeditated.

"There’s real concern that the government of Sudan may have taken a decision to continue to occupy Abyei for its own political advantage for an indefinite period," Rice said in a conference call after returning from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) trip to Africa that included visits to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

"Everybody is in agreement that this is a very destabilizing and unhelpful development and a violation" of the 2005 peace agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war between the north and the south, Rice said.

The U.S. diplomat said Abyei’s occupation won’t affect South Sudan’s independence on July 9 but she warned that if northern forces don’t withdraw, the UNSC is likely to consider action in response.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has vowed not to pull out from the region and stressed that Abyei belongs to the North.

"Abyei is Sudanese land, Northern land [and] we will not withdraw from it," Bashir addressed a meeting of educational workers and vocational teachers on Tuesday. He also disclosed that he gave SAF the green light to respond to provocations by the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) anywhere.

Western countries as well as the UNSC have urged Khartoum to withdraw from Abyei unconditionally and reinstate the area’s administration council dissolved unilaterally by Bashir last week.

Washington warned Khartoum that unless Sudan withdraws from Abyei the process of normalizing ties and lifting the country’s name from the list of states that sponsor terrorism would be stalled.

But Bashir said yesterday that he is not concerned with the U.S. "sticks or carrots".

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) promised Abyei residents a referendum over whether to join north or south, but that did not take place as neither could agree on whether members of the north-associated cattle-herding tribe of Misseriya should be allowed to vote alongside the south-linked tribe of Dinka Ngok.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday the Sudanese government urgently needs to halt looting and destruction of civilian property by its forces in the town of Abyei and hold those responsible to account. It also demanded that the government allow United Nations peacekeepers access to the entire Abyei area.

The U.N. Country Team in Sudan said late Thursday that the premises of U.N. agencies and humanitarian organizations in Abyei town have been looted of medical supplies, surgical equipment, 800 metric tons of food which is enough to feed 50,000 people for three months, water and hygiene equipment.

The team said tens of thousands of people who fled Abyei have arrived in southern Sudan and are in need of urgent assistance.

Humanitarian agencies are trying to distribute food and emergency items, the U.N. said. But an unknown number of people have fled into the bush while in Turalei, 130 kilometres from Abyei town, 15,000 displaced people are living in the open.

SAF PREPARING ATTACK

On Thursday the SAF Chief of Staff General Esmat Abdel-Rahman said that the army will carry out a major operation next week to expel any Southern troops inside the North.

"We are addressing the SPLM; they have to withdraw any illegal troops that remain north of the 1956 border," he told a student rally outside army headquarters in Khartoum. He stressed that this must be done by next week and noted Bashir’s directive authorizing the army to take any steps necessary without needing new orders.

He said Sudan’s armed forces were ready to open training camps for students so they can join efforts to impose law and order in northern territory.

"We have prepared the weapons and the logistics," Abdel-Rahman said.

In a related issue the Southern minister of regional cooperation Deng Alor was quoted by local media as saying that the SPLM has decided to suspend post-referendum negotiations with the North currently underway in Addis Ababa.

"The control of Abyei by Khartoum closed the door to dialogue on all the remaining issues of Naivasha and the arrangements for post-referendum" Alor said.

"Without Abyei there is no dialogue on the remaining issues and we will not waste time on [discussing] debt or nationality or the resources or the oil," said Alor who is from Abyei.

The Southern official warned that they have the right to stop oil flowing into the North and rejected calls by NCP for negotiations on Abyei.

He also noted Bashir’s acknowledgment that the North closed borders for a week which stopped flow of goods into the South.

Abyei monitoring committee affirms stability of humanitarian situation

Khartoum,May 25 (SUNA) The monitoring committee for the humanitarian situation in Abyei formed by the Humanitarian Aid Commission affirmed that the humanitarian situation in the area is very stable and there is no reason to intervene at the moment.

Director General of Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Assistance of the commission, head of the committee, Engineer Osama Ali karom said to (SUNA) that the operation room includes the Ministry of Health , Sudanese Red Crescent , the Sudanese Council for Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) and a number of concerned bodies. He said that the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner expressed willingness during a call he made with the Commissioner for Relief and Reconstruction of the government of the South Sudan to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance in case of displacement of citizens in the area south of Baher Alarab.

President Al-Bashir Gives Green Light for the Armed Forces to Respond to any Violations of SPLM at any Place

Khartoum, May 24 (SUNA)- President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, has given directive to the Armed Forces to respond to any violations of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) at any place.

Addressing Tuesday evening the General Trade Union of Education Workers and the Sudanese Teachers Union, President Al-Bashir said that the SPLM was occupying Abeyi by forces wearing police uniforms, stressing that this conduct is not acceptable.

He said that the SPLM has perpetrated several breaches and violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

President Al-Bashir said that the North is still looking forward for cordial relations with the citizens of the South, indicating that the obstinacy and provocative behavior of the SPLM is preventing the North from standing alongside the southerners in their tragedy.

President Al-Bashir said that as of July 9, 2011 the southerner will be southerner and that the northerner will be a northerner, adding that after the set date of July 9 the southerners in the North will be given a period to settle their conditions and that all the southerners existing illegally in the North will be transported to the south.

He said that the government in the North will stretch a hand peace to the South. 

Meanwhile, President Al-Bashir said that the Salvation Revolution, since its eruption, has been keen to reach solution for all problems and calling for peace with the south based on its belief that peace is the key for achieving progress, adding that the government has accepted in the past all the peace initiatives.

President Al-Bashir affirmed his rejection to treating the citizens of Messairiya tribe as second class citizens as well as his refuse to any solution that neglect the rights of Messairiya in Abyei.

He denounced the stance of the United States concerning the recent aggression of the SPLM on the Armed Force at Abyei, affirming that Sudan is not greedy for the carrot of America and does not fear from its stick.

UNMIS have to pack their belongings – Sudanese minister says

May 23, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese state minister at the presidency Amin Hassan Omer confirmed on Sunday that the mandate of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) will terminate by the end of the transitional period on 9 July.

UNMIS denied earlier reports about Sudan’s refusal to extend its mandate hinting that Khartoum might accept the continuation of the mission in the future particularly that Abyei’s situation and border demarcation require a special attention.

"UNMIS must pack their belongings because the time has come for their departure," said Amin after a meeting with a delegation from the UN Security Council currently visiting the country.

The state minister, however, said that the government could review its position if any other circumstances arise.

On 27 April the UN Security Council decided unanimously to extend the mandate of UNMIS until 9 July 2011 and announced that it plans to establish a mission to succeed UNMIS. The Council also asked Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to submit a report by 16 May on the post-independence options for a UN presence.

The spokesperson of the foreign ministry in Khartoum on 1 May, spoke about a draft presidential declaration circulating at the Security Council to extend the UNMIS mandate under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.

Khalid Moussa further said that Sudan rejected any extension of the UNMIS mandate beyond next July without its approval.

President Al-Bashir says features of peaceful solution of Darfur issue have been completed

Khartoum, May 23 (SUNA) - President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, Monday affirmed that all the features of the peaceful solution for the issue of Darfur have been completed and would soon be translated into reality.

 

Addressing the tripartite summit of Sudan, Chad and Central Africa Republic, held at the Friendship Hall Monday evening, the President explained that the negotiations of Doha Forum are about to achieve their goal, explaining that a package of arrangements and procedures is being implemented as part of strategic plan that seek to boost tribal reconciliations.

 

The President affirmed that all the arrangements and preparations for the Administrative Referendum in Darfur, according to Darfur Peace agreement of Abuja of 2006, have been completed.

 

President Al-Bashir explained that the issue of Darfur is an issue of a need for development, basic services and fair political participation of the people of Darfur, which can not be realized except in a peaceful atmosphere and comprehensive security and social stability.

 

He explained that the main objective of the government is to work to make sure that any rebellion for political and development demands in Darfur and the whole region in the future by virtue of peace and development.

Sudan hopes to see a final draft peace agreement at Darfur conference

May 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen said the mediation has agreed to submit the final draft peace agreement to the stakeholders conference which will take place next Friday 27 May.

Ghazi returned on Saturday from Doha where he met with Burkina Faso’s foreign minister and Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole and the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud and Tijani El-Sissi, leader of the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).

"We encouraged the mediation to go ahead and to finalize the final draft peace agreement, Gahzi told reporters after his arrival to Khartoum Airport on Saturday morning. He further emphasized that the mediation promised to prepare the draft peace agreement.

Sudanese officials said they hope to sign a peace deal with LJM rebels they also expressed hopes that the signing could take place before or after 27 May meeting. Officials from the government and the rebel group said they agreed over 95% of the peace deal.

The government is now more optimistic because there will be a consensus and this will reflect positively on Darfur, Ghazi pointed out.

The Presidential adviser during his visit to Doha meant to meet LJM leader Tijani EL-Sissi to encourage him to conclude a partial peace deal without the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) which demands direct talks on several chapters of the proposed peace deal.

Ghazi in statements to the Qatari press said JEM has an opportunity to catch up with the peace process because they might not have another occasion like this again.

JEM rebels on Saturday denounced Gahzi’s statements and accused him of trying to put pressures on the mediation to conclude the process and present a final draft peace agreement by the end of May.

"After his arrival to the venue of the peace process, the first thing he did that he determined the end of the month for the signing of a peace deal and threatened to withdraw from the talks," said JEM Vice-President and head of delegation in statement released Saturday.

Envoy of the international community who follow closely the Doha process believe that a partial peace agreement would complicate further the resolution of the eight year conflict in Darfur.

The government said it is waiting the end of the Doha process to launch another internal process associating civil society, tribal leaders and IDPs. The head of the African Union Panel for Sudan prepares also to hold a similar process supported by the government.

Government: Abyei Administration Dissolved because it has Become Part of the Problem

Khartoum, May 22 (SUNA)-The government stated that Abyei administration was dissolved because it has become part of Abyei problem and did not offer any contribution for solution of the issue.

 

In a press statement, the State Minister at the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Amin Hassan Omer, said that the decree issued by the Presidency of the Republic on dissolution of Abyei administration was aimed for keeping security and stability at the area, explaining that the national government is responsible for providing security and protecting the interests of the citizens in every inch of the country.

 

Responding to a question, Dr. Omer said that the Constitution did not stipulate getting the opinion of the First Vice - President of the Republic concerning the dissolution of Abyei Administration.

 

He reiterated the government commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the protocols of Abyei.

Sudan raps UN over Abyei attack

May 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – North Sudan on Saturday leveled criticism at the UN Mission in the country, saying it has failed to assign blame to south Sudan over an attack which reportedly killed 22 soldiers in the north-south hotly contested region of Abyei.

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UNMIS peacekeepers patrol Sudan’s flashpoint region of Abyei (UN Photo Service)

Tension in Sudan’s flashpoint region of Abyei rose dramatically on Thursday after the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), north Sudan army, accused the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of being behind an attack on its forces as they were evacuating the region.

The attack occurred as SAF forces were being escorted out of Abyei by peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) as per an agreement signed in South Kordofan’s town of Kadugli in January to withdraw all forces from the volatile region.

SAF on Friday said that 22 of its soldiers were killed in the attack which targeted a 200-strong battalion.

UNMIS confirmed the attack on its peacekeepers, without mentioning SAF, and said it took place in an area controlled by the SPLA. However, the mission stopped short of directly accusing the SPLA of being responsible.

UNMIS also called for an investigation into the attack, saying it constitutes a crime punishable under international law.

The spokesperson of Sudan’s foreign ministry, Khalid Musa, told reporters in the capital Khartoum that the UN’s “state of partiality and lack of clarity” in this case gives the SPLM, the ruling party in South Sudan, “more justifications to commit repeated violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement” (CPA), the 2005’s peace deal which ended north-south civil wars and paved the way for South Sudan secession in a referendum held in January.

Musa, whose statement was reported by the country’s official news agency SUNA on Saturday, was keen to note that UNMIS forces were also subjected to the attack, calling on the mission to have the courage to “name things as they truly are.”

The Sudanese diplomat urged the UN and stakeholders in the international community to issue a “patent condemnation” against the SPLM and take immediate measures to hold it responsible for the breach of its political responsibility and the CPA.

He went on to say that Sudan had given international bodies an ample opportunity to denounce the SPLM and force it to bring the perpetrators to account. But the SPLM, Musa added, had been attempting to wriggle out of its political responsibility.

Meanwhile, the US state department on Friday deplored the attack on UN forces by south Sudan army, saying it constitutes a clear breach of the Kadugli agreement. The US department called on South Sudan to hold those who carried out the attack responsible and take steps to show commitment to the implementation of Kadugli Agreement.

The oil-producing region of Abyei witnessed several instances of violence since a referendum to decide the status of the area failed to take place as planned in January.

Disagreements between north and south Sudan over who can vote in the plebiscite have derailed efforts to reach a political settlement amid reports of military buildups by both sides in the area.

At least 14 people were killed in clashes between the SPLA and SAf in Abyei earlier this month. As with the current case, both sides accused each other of starting the fight.

President Al-Bashir Issues Republican Decree Dissolving Abyei Council

 Khartoum, May 22 (SUNA)- The President of the Republic Omer Al-Bashir Omer Al-Bashir has issued republican decree dissolving Abyei council.

 

The President has also issued another republican decree relieving Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Abyei area as well as the Heads of the Five Administrations.

 

Armed Forces announces retaining the right to reply after came and UN troops under attack by SPLA in Abyei

Khartoum ,May ,20 (SUNA)The armed forces issued a statement late on Thursday it declared that its forces and UN troops came under attack by the SPLA in Abyei area that was considered a flagrant violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement at the same time confirmed its adherence to the right of reply at the right time and place Colonel Alsoarmi Khaled Saad spokesman of the armed forces said that, over a distance of seven kilometers from Abyei, the SPLA forces ambushed and attacked the joint UN troops and armed forces units, using heavy weapons, leading to substantial losses being confined now and still now there are a number of members of these forces is missing//AB/AB

Sudan army claims SPLA launched deadly attack in Abyei

May 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army accused the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) of attacking its troops in the North-South border region of Abyei leading to heavy casualties within its ranks.

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Personnel from the northern army’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) component of the Joint Integrated Units (JIU) celebrate on the barge as they prepare to leave for northern Sudan, in Juba in this picture taken April 7, 2011 and released by UNMIS April 12, 2011 (Reuters)

In a statement issued late Thursday, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) said that the SPLA ambushed its troops that were part of the Joint Integrated Units (JIU) who were being escorted by peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad who read the statement on Sudan TV said the attack took place when their forces were withdrawing from Abyei towards Goli in the north of the area. He said that pulling SAF units was a decision they took in consultation with UNMIS leadership to prevent "friction" with surrounding SPLA units.

According to the statement, Sudanese troops were on their way out of the disputed region boarding UN vehicles and accompanied by peacekeepers when they came under fire from the Southern army around seven kilometers from Abyei. The SPLA allegedly used heavy weaponry leading to "significant losses" that are still being determined with a number of soldiers that remain missing.

SAF said that this attack "is a clear aggression and a violation of the [2005] Comprehensive Peace Agreement by the SPLA against the armed forces and the United Nation. It added that UN observers testified to this incident.

"The armed forces declare that it reserves its full right to respond to this aggression in the right time and place".

A UNMIS spokesperson told Reuters confirmed the attack but said that the identity of the assailants could not be determined. He added that peacekeepers had escorted two companies of the Sudanese army as part of an agreement between north and south to withdraw all unauthorized forces from both sides beyond a joint force.

The North and South signed a security accord in South Kordofan capital city of Kadugli last January to withdraw from Abyei except the special Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) of northern and southern personnel, both army and police, alongside UN peacekeepers.

Deadly fighting and recriminations have flared since January, when the region had been due to vote on whether to join the north or the south, alongside a referendum in the south that delivered a landslide for secession.

But the vote in Abyei was called off when the North and South failed to agree on the criteria that would determine the eligibility of voters.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to start a visit to Sudan on Saturday that would include a stop in South Kordofan and Abyei.

The plan has been marred with a row between the UNSC and Sudan on whether the delegation would meet with South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun who Haroun is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with alleged war crimes he committed in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur while he was the state minister for interior.

Haroun was declared a winner this month in the elections for governor in the state that were described by the Carter Center as “generally peaceful and credible". The SPLM has said that it will not recognize the results accusing the National Congress Party (NCP) of rigging the vote.

The UN Secretary General spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters today in New York that the UNSC does not plan on meeting Haroun.

Sudan denies imprisonment of former presidential adviser

May 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan has denied reports that the former presidential adviser for security affairs Salah Gosh has been detained over accusations that he was involved in an attempted coup against president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

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FILE - Former presidential adviser Salah Gosh

Rumors have been widespread in Khartoum on the fate of Gosh who has not been seen in over a week and could not be reached on his cell phone.

Gosh, who was also the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) until 2009, was sacked unexpectedly by Bashir last month from his advisory role and was also removed from his leadership position in the ruling party.

He also relieved of his duties as the head of the NCP delegation in the joint committee with the Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM) in control of the South.

The once a powerful and longest-serving chief of the country’s intelligence apparatus was dismissed from his position a few days after he publicly fell out with the NCP’s strongman and presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie, over the dialogue he was conducting with opposition parties under the umbrella of the Presidential Security Advisory (PSA), which Gosh chaired.

Gosh publicly contradicted Nafie’s statement that the dialogue was not sanctioned by the party’s leadership, stressing that it was enjoying approval by president Al-Bashir, and that Nafie had no right to interfere in his job.

The newly NCP political secretary Qutbi Al-Mahdi was the most daring official to speak on the firing of Gosh and accused the latter of having "presidential ambitions" which was interpreted to mean that he was planning to oust his boss.

The minister of Sports and Youth Al-Haj Magod Siwar told the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that news of Gosh’s arrest are "baseless" and "purely rumors".

Rabie Abdel-Aati, a leading NCP figure, denied that Gosh planned to overthrow the government and noted to the newspaper that he was in a better place to do so when he was NISS director and not when he was appointed as Bashir’s adviser.

But sources speaking to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat claimed that Gosh is currently being held at the maximum security Kober prison in the Sudanese capital. They further said that security at the prison was beefed up in an unprecedented manner and said that armored vehicles were deployed around it.

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