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November 2012 - Posts

Pakistani warship docks in Sudan’s port

November 30, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A Pakistani warship arrived on Thursday at Sudan’s Red Sea port of Port Sudan as part of what the authorities described as routine visits while the planned arrival of Iranian warships “for the same purpose” was postponed until next week..

The official spokesperson of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, said that the arrival of the Pakistani navy ship “Shashmir” comes within the framework of combating piracy and routine and usual work of the Sudanese navy forces.

Sa’ad used the same comment to describe the arrival in Port Sudan of two Iranian warships in late October, one week after a Sudanese military factory rumored to be linked to Tehran was hit in an airstrike Khartoum accused Israel of conducting.

The arrival of Iranian warships attracted attention to military cooperation between the East African country and Iran which Israel considers its top enemy while viewing Sudan as a conduit of weapons smuggling into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Al-Sawarmi told Sudan official news agency (SUNA) that the arrival of the Pakistani warship comes also within the framework of naval cooperation with navy forces from all countries in the world.

He added that part of the reason why the warship was to receive fuel and logistical supplies.

Al-Sawarmi announced that the planned arrival in Port Sudan of two Iranian warships “for the same purpose” was delayed for reasons concerning the Iranian side.

Sudan’s Misseriya stage demonstrations against Mbeki’s Abyei proposal

November 29, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Around 100 members of the Arab Misseriya tribe staged a demonstration in Khartoum on Wednesday to protest the proposal tabled by African Union (AU) mediator Thabo Mbeki on the disputed Abyei region which recieved the blessings of the Pan African body.

Under the terms of the proposal the Dinka Ngok tribe, affiliated with South Sudan, would vote in the referendum to decide on the future of the area along with other permanent residents of Abyei. This would effectively leave out the nomadic Misseriya who travel south into Abyei a few months a year to graze cattle.

The Sudanese government insists that the Misseriya should be allowed to participate. But unless a separate deal is reached with South Sudan by early December, the AU proposal will be binding to the two sides.

The popular commission of Abyei region which organized today’s demonstration handed a memo to the AU and the United Nations (UN) expressing their views and reiterating the rejection of Mbeki’s plan.

Mahdi Babu Nimir who heads the commission, said in a press conference that the proposal is a "Zionist, French, British and American" one that aims to allow South Sudan to annex Abyei.

He called that a betrayal of the Misseriya and the Dinka Ngok and a blow to peaceful co-existence in the region.

The Misseriya figure went on to say that the Abyei issue is used to remove Sudan from its African dimension and accused U.S. ambassador Susan Rice of working against his tribe in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling her a "speckled snake".

Nimir also had harsh words for the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir saying they marginalized the Misseriya during the north-south peace talks in Naivasha which eventually led to the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

He claimed that Sudan’s delegation had little knowledge about Misseriya’s tribal structure and also lambasted "influential" Dinka Ngok members in South Sudan government for "spreading lies" in international media on Abyei crisis.

"The issue of Abyei has been hijacked and if it was about courage we could take it [Abyei] by force but we respect the institutions," Nimir said.

The referendum is close to two years past due as it was supposed to be held on January 2011 along with South Sudan referendum but disputes on voter eligibility delayed it.

In New York the Sudan UN ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman described Abyei as a "sensitive issue" and warned that imposition of "any unilateral solution will not help reach a final peace in the area and might bring people back to square one which we would like to avoid".

"The [United Nations] Security council here or any organ should not behave as a court of justice. This is a legal dispute on a territorial dispute. The two parties must be given time," he told reporters after a briefing on South Sudan by head of UN peacekeeping operations Hervé Ladsous.

"So any kind of quick fix which will not take care of the interests of the two communities on the ground would not help the two states agree on a final suitable solution for Abyei," Osman said.

The Sudanese diplomat emphasized that they should be given more time to seek alternative solutions

But South Sudan UN ambassador Francis Deng told UNSC meeting that his country welcomes the "endorsement of the UN Security Council of any decision made by the African Union with regards to Abyei or other outstanding issues, not as an imposition on the parties but rather as a demonstration of support for the region’s considered view of what the most appropriate way forward is the AU endorsement of Abyei plan".

Deng expressed regret that Sudanese president did not take up South Sudan president invitation to Juba to continue discussion on the final status of Abyei.

In Khartoum, the visiting US special envoy to Sudan said that Washington is seeking to narrow gap between Khartoum and Juba on outstanding issues including Mbeki’s proposal on Abyei.

Sudanese troops withdrew from Abyei in May to end a year-long occupation that sent more than 100,000 people fleeing towards South Sudan. The area is now controlled by United Nations peacekeepers from Ethiopia.

Two opposition members held in connection with coup attempt: official

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 27, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Two opposition member were taken into custody in connection with the coup attempt authorities uncovered last week, the government spokesperson said today.
In an interview on privately-owned Blue Nile TV information minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said that the two civilian elements were detected to have been in contact with Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and other opposition groups.

Osman did not name the two figures arrested or detail their affiliations. He also denied that additional arrests were made but pointed out that some may be summoned and interrogated as witnesses not suspects.

On Thursday morning, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced that they have thwarted what they described as a sabotage plot by members of the army, paramilitary forces and NISS.

Later that day the government revealed that NISS ex-director Salah Gosh was among the 13 people arrested. Also among those detained was influential Islamist military general Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil who is believed to be the leader of the group widely known as "Al-Sae’ohoon" which formed the core of special forces fighting South Sudan rebels during the civil war since president Omer Hassan al-Bashir came to power in 1998 in a bloodless military coup backed by the National Islamist Front (NIF).

Ibrahim was also in charge of presidential security for seven years.

The arrests further fueled anger among the Islamist base which has been pushing for reforms in the ruling National Congress Party, Islamist Movement (IM) and the government as a whole.

The reformist were already infuriated at the IM convention that took place this month after it brushed aside its main demand to segregate IM from the NCP and maintained the status quo.

Most Islamists as well as opposition figures believe that the arrests was a preemptive move to neutralize reformists and not based on a real plot.

But the information minister insisted that the authorities are in possession of solid evidence implicating those arrested that will be revealed to the public at the right time and after investigations are complete.

He acknowledged however, that some of those detained may end up being cleared.

"The accused is innocent until proven guilty and we don’t want to incriminate people," Osman said.

He said that the government is not "stupid" to fake a "serious" case like this and revealed that the plan of the conspirators was to carry out assassinations and arrests of some figures but did not elaborate.

"I cannot say more than this but there is evidence and proof and many large signs confirming this and if it wasn’t for that they wouldn’t be arrested specially that they are not ordinary people " the government spokesperson added.

In a related statement, the deputy parliament speaker Samia Ahmed stressed that those arrested will be afforded fair trials and denied that the NCP is going through a crisis over the arrests. She also expressed doubts about reports that this issue will be resolved through reconciliation to avoid split in the NCP and the IM.

Sudan’s opposition lawyers to defend detainees of “subversive attempt”

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 26, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A group of lawyers mostly associated with opposition parties in Sudan decided on Sunday to form a committee to defend the suspects detained in relation to what the authorities describe as a “subversive attempt” to seize power..

Sudanese authorities announced on Thursday, 22 November, that they arrested 13 individuals including former chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Salah Gosh, Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil “Wad Ibrahim” from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and Major General Adil Al-Tayeb from the NISS on suspicion of standing behind a “subversive attempt” that security authorities allegedly foiled earlier on the same day.

There is no word so far on when will the suspects stand trial but Gosh, who also serves as an MP, already had his immunity revoked.

A number of lawyers led by Nabil Adeeb, a prominent legal expert and outspoken critic of the government, offered to defend Gosh and held their first meeting at Gosh’s office in Khartoum 2 neighborhood, where they formed a defense committee and named Adeeb as chairman and each of Ali Al-Said, Al-Tayyib Abbas, Babikir Abdel Rahman, Adil Ghashum Al-Moos, Omer Hummaid, and Youssef Ahmad Mohammed Osman as members.

Gosh’s older brother Abdel Azim Abdella addressed the meeting and thanked the lawyers for their initiative. He expressed their family’s concern for the situation of his brother saying that Gosh was now “in the hands of his real enemies who are seeking to liquidate him politically” The lawyers agreed to meet again in the next few days to discuss ways of submitting a legal memo on the situation of the suspects.

In a related context, the head of the security and defense committee of the Sudanese parliament, Mohammed Al-Hassan Al-Amin, announced on Sunday that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is going to consider dropping Gosh’s membership. He also revealed that the request to revoke his immunity was issued a day before his arrest.

He also said that the subversive attempt was a bona fide coup attempt, describing the plan as “foolish”

Gosh’s arrest marked the ultimate downfall of the once powerful spy chief who is better known for his deep cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism following September 2001 attacks in Washington and New York by Al-Qaeda.

Last year Gosh was abruptly sacked by Bashir from his position as presidential adviser for security affairs. No reason was given for the decision but it happened shortly after Gosh was involved in an imbroglio with presidential assistant and powerful NCP figure Nafe Ali Nafe with whom he is rumored to share a rivalry.

His sacking from the Presidential Palace also followed his surprise removal in 2009 by the Sudanese president from the directorship of the NISS. He was also stripped of his leadership position in the ruling NCP.

Sudan lifts Gosh’s parliamentary immunity over foiled coup

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 24, 2012 (KHARTOUIM) —The National Assembly has lifted parliamentary immunity of Salah Gosh who is arrested since several days after reports of a foiled attempt to topple the regime he is accused of being one of its instigators.

Al-Fadil Haj Suleiman head of Legislation and Justice committee in the Sudanese parliament said the speaker, in accordance with article 92 of the Interim Constitution of 2005 and article 27-1 of the National Assembly, decided to lift the immunity of MP Salah Gosh on Thursday.

The pointed out that the decision was taken upon a request filed by the security service accusing Gosh of being involved in military coup violating the national legislations.

He further added that Gosh might lose his parliamentary membership if the court finds him guilty.

Sudanese government arrested 13 military high ranking officers and former officials all are members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) or the opposition Popular Congress Party of Hassan Al-Turabi.

All, they are frustrated by the current regime for different reasons including corruption, non - implementation of the Islamic law, division of the Islamic movement, power struggle or personal ambitions.

Gosh is accused of coordinating the coup against the regime and holding contacts with Western countries to support his move.

Ghazi Salah Al-Deen, head of NCP block at the parliament and defeated candidate for the leadership of the Islamic Movement was also summoned by the security service for his "suspected" contacts with the "plotters".

The former Mujahideen who participated in the war against the former Southern Sudanese rebels launched a petition demanding the release of detained officers who are identified as radical Islamists.

Different Islamic trends within or outside the ruling party inspired by the Arab Spring demanded since several months to reform the party and to exclude what they term “corrupt” people but also back the implementation of Islamic law.

Sudan’s NCP power struggle comes to surface, Bashir’s aides suspected of involvement in coup attempt

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities moved in the early hours of Thursday to foil what it claimed was a "subversive plot" planned by elements from the army, the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF), National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) and the National Congress Party (NCP).

The Initial statement attributed to an NISS source carried by government-sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website at around 5:00 am local time (2:00 am GMT) said that the plan involved unnamed opposition figures.

Following the announcement, rumors were swirling in the Sudanese capital that spoke of arrests made to senior army officers who are also known to be longtime hardline Islamists.

Rabie Abdel-Aati, an adviser to the information ministry and an NCP figure, added more fuel to the rumors when he went on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV earlier today and mentioned the name of Major General Kamal Abdel-Ma’Rouf who led military operations last April against South Sudan army in border oil region of Heglig.

Later Sudan army spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad would deny that Abdel-Ma’Rouf was arrested and disclosed that he is currently in South Kordofan.

Sudan’s information minister and government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman called for press conference and gave the first official version of the events that unraveled today.

Osman said that there were 13 people detained in connection with the alleged plot including ex-spy chief and presidential adviser Salah Gosh, Brigadier General Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Galil who is better known as ’Wad Ibrahim’, Major General Adil Al-Tayeb from the NISS. He did not disclose the names of the remaining participants.

The Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV also reported that the former head of military intelligence Brigadier General Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Ouf was also arrested.

Other uncorroborated reports named Brigadier General Fath Al-Raheem Abdulla who headed the joint Sudanese-Chadian border forces and former head of Sudan’s armored corps Brigadier General Sideeg Fadl.

Well placed sources later told that former presidential adviser and head of NCP bloc in parliament Ghazi Salah al-Deen Al-Attabani was summoned for questioning by NISS on his possible role in the plot but was later released.

The government spokesperson offered little details on the nature of the plot except to say that those named were planning to destabilize security while also spreading false rumors on health of 68-years old president Omer Hassan al-Bashir who recently underwent throat surgery to remove a benign tumor. Officials insist he is in good health.

"The government has decided to abort this plot just before the zero hour as a preventive measure to avoid entering the country into chaos," Osman said. "There were internal and external contacts [made] that were intercepted to move the ground to topple the regime through spreading rumors about the president’s health after his recent ailment".

He stressed that the attempt was "limited" in nature and that it was not part of a wider movement in the army, PDF or NISS and denied any unrest in the military.

Osman said that some opposition parties have "wild dreams" that this move would bring about regime change.

"These are dreams without legs," Osman told reporters.

Multiple security and military sources told that the NISS arrested around 100 pro-government Islamist elements who belong to a group widely known as ’Al-Sae’ohoon" who formed the core of special forces fighting South Sudan rebels during the civil war since Bashir came to power in 1998 in a bloodless military coup backed by the National Islamist Front (NIF) .

Al-Sae’ohoon has been vocal recently over reform demands and expressed bitterness that the NCP leadership has softened stance on Islamic principles and gave too many concessions to South Sudan in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) while allowing for army to suffer military setbacks.

A memo released on Thursday attributed to Al-Sae’ohoon in response to the arrests urged president Bashir to release those detained and described them as the safety valve of the 1989 coup since its inception all through the battles of Heglig this year.

The group underscored that those taken into custody were never carried away by earthly pleasures of power.

The memo blasted defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein saying he bears responsibility for army failures in relation to South Sudan, Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) rebels and airstrikes carried out by Israel inside the country that recently targeted a weapons factory in Khartoum.

They went on to say that Hussein sent several generals into retirement only because they expressed their views and provided advice. "[Hussein] is stirring trouble with [former] head of Sudan’s armored corps Brigadier General Sideeg Fadl [who is] security valve of the [1989] revolution".

"We are all waiting to see what will decisions will emerge [from you] and you must know for sure that they [detainees] all love you and endear you and have respect for you but your defense minister left them with no option but this one" said the memo.

Bashir has long resisted calls for sacking his defense minister over corruption charges and defeats on the battlefield. Hussein came under fire last April for the ease at which Sudan army lost Heglig oilfield to South Sudan.

Earlier this year multiple army sources told Sudan that a group of 700 army officers urged Bashir to carry out political and military reforms. They also made complaints about the morale and army preparedness. This was in response to the president’s call for them to prepare for the possibility of war with South Sudan.

BASHIR’S LOYALISTS

Among the significant arrests made today were for Brigadier General Wad Ibrahim who was one of the strongest candidates for the post of Interior Minister last year and served as military attaché to Sudan in Nairobi for four years.


From Left to Right - Sudan’s former director of National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) and ex-presidential adviser Salah Gosh, Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, former adviser to Bashir and head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) parliamentary bloc Ghazi Salah al-Deen Al-Attabani

Prior to that Wad Ibrahim headed Bashir’s presidential security for seven years and served in southern Sudan during the civil war for twelve years. He participated in the retake of Heglig along with assisted Major General Abdel-Ma’Rouf.

Wad Ibrahim enjoys tremendous popularity among Islamists and last year he gathered around 1,000 Islamists at his home including former presidential adviser Al-Attabani.

Last week sources told that Al-Attabani declined to run for Secretary-general of the Islamic Movement (IM) due to what he saw as interferences by influential government figures who pushed through amendments he opposes.

The IM convention outcome angered six Islamism factions which vowed to continue to fight for reforms and removing corrupt figures.

Insiders say that Al-Attabani, who also heads the NCP parliamentary bloc, has recently stepped out of decision-making circles due to what they described as his unhappiness with the way the NCP has handled a number of sensitive issues lately.

He was fiercely critical of the government’s response to the resolution issued on 24 April by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) over the situation between Sudan and South Sudan following their brief war in the same month around the border oilfields of Heglig.

Al-Attabani publicly criticized the government for accepting the resolution and its subsequent referral to the UN Security Council (UNSC), basing his objections on what he described - in an op-ed published by the daily Sudanese newspaper Al-Intibaha on 30 April - as the introduction into the AUPSC resolution of articles biased in favor of South Sudan and against Khartoum by the international community.

Gosh’s arrest marked the downfall of the once powerful spy chief who is better known for his deep cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism following September 2001 attacks in Washington and New York by Al-Qaeda.

Last year Gosh was abruptly sacked by Bashir from his position as presidential adviser for security affairs. No reason was given for the decision.

This follows his surprise removal in 2009 by the Sudanese president from the directorship of the NISS. He was also stripped of his leadership position in the ruling NCP.

It is not clear what impact today’s arrests will have on the political scene but will likely add more pressure on Bashir who faces multiple armed rebellions, tensions with South Sudan, a struggling economy and disgruntlement within the NCP and the Islamist movement.

High prices for food have added to widespread public anger over losing the south and have emboldened opposition activists to call for protests this summer. Analysts say the crisis has also exacerbated divisions in the government and squeezed the patronage system they say Bashir has relied on.

Bashir along with his defense minister are also subject to arrests warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which have restricted their movement internationally.

Sudan’s ex-spy chief arrested in connection with "sabotage attempt": reports

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s former director of National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh has been arrested in connection with the alleged sabotage uncovered today.
The Turkey based Anadul news agency and Saudi owned Al-Arabiya TV quoted Sudanese sources as saying that Gosh has been taken into custody.

There was no official confirmation by Khartoum.

Earlier today NISS source told government run Media Center (SMC) website as saying that they have foiled a plot to destabilize security led by opposition figures.

The source disclosed that arrests were made that among civilian and military individuals.

There were also unconfirmed reports of arrests made to several senior military commanders who are close to Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

Gosh is the poster boy of counter terrorism cooperation between the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Sudan’s NISS, over which he presided since 2002 until he was surprisingly demoted to the rank of a presidential adviser for security affairs in August 2009.

Last year he was also removed by Bashir from his advisory role for unknown reasons as well with some officials hinting at a power struggle and others speculating a coup attempt he planned.

Sudan government allows sugar prices to go up further as labor union warns on cutting subsidies

November 20, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese finance ministry on Monday quietly issued a decision hiking the price of sugar as part of its ongoing effort to cut subsidies on basic commodities to stop the bleeding in the country’s budget.

Decree number (83) signed by the finance ministry undersecretary Abdel-Rahman Dirar itemized several increases in fees and taxes associated with 50 kilogram (110 pounds) sugar bags bought by wholesale merchants.

This would be the second time this year that the government increased the price of sugar through partially removing the subsidies. This has led the price of a 50 kg sugar bag to rise from 156.5 Sudanese pounds (SDG) to 225 SDG last summer. Following today’s decision it is estimated that this figure would go higher by at least 30 SDG.

The country is one of the biggest African sugar producers but needs to import at least 400,000 tonnes annually.

Last July the government inaugurated a $1 billion sugar plant plans which aims to reach an annual output of 450,000 tonnes of white sugar within the next three years.

Sudan has gradually started eliminating commodity subsidies which the government asserts that it costs billions of dollars to maintain. This has posed an enormous drain on the budget which is suffering from the impact of South Sudan breaking away last year and taking with it around three quarters of the oil reserves.

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that oil now accounts for 3%-5% of Sudan’s gross domestic product, down from around 15%, while providing a much-reduced 20%-25% of revenue.

The first round of austerity measures, rolled out by the government last summer, impacted sugar as well as petroleum products which sparked rare small anti-government protests across the country including the capital.

But Sudanese officials as well as the IMF argue that more cuts are needed to rein in the deficit, despite staunch resistance by the parliament and labour union.

Today, the Sudanese labour union warned the government against any attempt to increase prices of basic commodities such as bread, sugar and electricity in the 2013 budget.

The union also slammed the finance minister labeling him "non-cooperative" on issues related to workers’ dues and reiterated its demand for bumping the minimum monthly wage to 425 SDG.

Earlier this year Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir urged the labour union to agree on lifting subsidies in return for raising wages. He also warned that raising wages without careful review of its implications could further fuel inflation and that the economic situation may not allow for immediate increase in pay.

Ordinary Sudanese are seeing large increases in prices eating into their incomes making it increasingly difficult for them to maintain their current living standards without cutting spending.

Analysts say that the fast deterioration in the value of SDG relative to the dollar, decline in national income, shortage in foreign currency and inability to borrow is restricting Khartoum’s ability to buy food on the international market.

Last month Sudan’s inflation was estimated to be at 45.3% compared to 41.6% in September driven mainly by food prices.

Resumption of South Sudan oil production "rescheduled" over security issues

November 19, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan has rescheduled plans to resume oil production and exports out of neighbouring Sudan, in order to reach an understanding with Khartoum over security issues, the head of the state-owned Nile Petroleum Corporation (NilePet),Paul Adong, said Sunday.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir declared on 14 November that his country’s oil production will be restarted this week, after nearly a year of suspending it over a dispute with Khartoum on transit fees for exporting the crude through the north’s pipelines.

Adong, who did not give a revised date, said preparations to resume pumping Southern crude through Sudan are continuing and have not been suspended despite the postponement. He said that discussions over security arrangements regarding the establishing a demilitarised buffer zone and alleged backing of rebel groups either side of the border were ongoing.

In September the two sides signed a Cooperation Agreement, which will see South Sudan pay between $9.10 and $11 a barrel to export its crude through the north. Juba will also pay $3.08 billion to help Sudan overcome the loss of three quarters of oil production due to Southern secession.

The flagging economies of both nations, since South Sudan separated last year, have made a deal to resolve the oil dispute, which began in January, crucial for the finances of both nations.

South Sudan relied on oil revenues for 98% of its income and Sudan had budgeted for transit fees of over $30 per barrel in its annual budget. South Sudan’s pre-shutdown oil production was approximately 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

However, Sudan has insisted that border security arrangements agreed in the September deal must be finalised before oil exports can resume.

Meetings earlier this month in Juba, chaired by the defense ministers of the two countries to discuss the establishment of previously agreed demilitarized border buffer zone and the ways to end cross border attacks and rebel presence in both sides of border, ended without progress.

Speaking to the Sudanese parliament on 14 November after his return to Khartoum, Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein blamed the South Sudan government for the breakdown of the implementation of the deal.

He accused Juba rejecting his attempts to place the issue of South Sudan’s alleged backing of rebels in South Sudan on the meeting’s agenda and said his counterpart had refused to hand over the names of citizens northern citizens seeking to join the Southern army (SPLA).

NilePet’s Adong told Sudan Tribune that Khartoum had begun to include “completely new demands" in the security deal which his country “did not make a commitment” to during negotiations held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

On 14 November the Sudanese oil minister Awad al-Jaz told a visiting South Sudanese delegation led by the Undersecretary of South Sudan’s oil ministry, Machar Aciek Ader Nyang, that implementing the oil accord was contingent upon finalizing a deal on security arrangements.

The two sides discussed technical details for restarting oil flow in a closed session but Al-Jaz stressed the importance of security to provide a conducive environment for oil production.

NilePet’s Adong, who was part of a South Sudanese delegation that visited Khartoum last week said that the resumption of oil production has "been rescheduled because [the] Sudanese government wants security arrangements to be concluded first."

In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which both border South Sudan rebels - who fought with the SPLA during the civil that resulted in country’s partition - have been fighting the Sudanese government since last year.

The SPLA-North claim to control 40% of the border and South Sudan has argued that they should be included in the security. This and Juba’s offer to mediate between its war-time allies and the Sudanese government has been given short shrift in Khartoum.

“The reason for rescheduling resumption date for production and export through Sudanese territory is that [the] Sudanese government linkSleep the full implementation of the nine agreements with security arrangements. Sudan wants disengagement of SPLM-North and South Sudan to be included. This demand is not provided for in the nine agreements”; said Adong.

He said that security and oil resumption discussions between Juba and Khartoum are ongoing. 

conference of the islamic movement concludes sittings and issues final communique

Khartoum, Nov. 17 - The 8th Conference of the Sudanese Islamic Movement Saturday concluded its sittings Saturday evening at the Friendship Hall and issued its final communiqué.

The concluding sitting was attended by the President of the Republic Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, and number of leaders of the political parties and Sudan guests.

The conference affirmed in its final communiqué the firm stand of the Sudanese Islamic Movement in support of the Palestinian people.

The conference called for intensive cooperation and dialogue between the Islamic Movements.

The conference called for immediate stoppage of the massacres against the Muslims in Myna mar.

South Sudan’s Kiir says oil production to resume next week as Khartoum asserts security prerequisite

November 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir declared that his country’s oil production will be restarted next week after nearly a year of suspending it over a dispute with Khartoum on fees that should assessed for exporting the crude through the north’s pipelines.

Kiir made the announcement during a meeting he held today in Juba with visiting Kenyan deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

"It is after the successful completion of negotiations with the Sudan [that we] will re-launch the transporting oil [pipeline] next week" he said.

Last September, the two countries reached an agreement on the oil driven mainly by the economic difficulties they faced that were compounded by the oil shutdown whuch denied them billions of dollars in revenues.

Under the final deal, South Sudan will pay between $9.10 and $11 a barrel to export its crude through the north. Juba will also pay $3.08 billion to help Sudan overcome the loss of three quarters of oil production due to southern secession.

South Sudan’s pre-shutdown oil production was approximately 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

In Khartoum the Sudanese oil minister Awad al-Jaz told South Sudan’s oil Undersecretary Machar Aciek Ader Nyang that implementing the oil accord is contingent upon finalizing a deal on security arrangements.

He underscored the importance of security to provide conducive environment for oil production. The two sides discussed technical details for restarting oil flow in a closed session.

Nyang told reporters upon arriving in Khartoum that South Sudan oil will reach global markets by year end and stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries on areas related to oil.

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Oil Awad Abdel Fattah on his end told reporters that South Sudan oil will arrive at Port Sudan terminals within two months if a deal on security arrangements agreement is reached.

The statements by Sudanese cast doubts over whether Khartoum will allow oil flow to resume in the event that security deal remain elusive. Sudan accuses its southern neighbor of backing rebels fighting its army in border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Juba however denies these allegations.. 

Big Masses of Citizens Receive President Al-Bashir at Khartoum Airport

   

Khartoum, November 14 - President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, returned home Wednesday evening from Saudi Arabia after undergoing sA uccessful surgery.


President Al-Bashir was received at Khartoum Airport by big masses and a number of seior government officials, including the First Vice President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and federal ministers, leaders of the political parties, the Sufi sects, women associations and students' unions.

Sudan contains 762 million barrel in oil reserves: official

   

November 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM)The Sudanese oil minister Awad al-Jaz said today that the country has 762 million barrels of oil reserves as of 2012 and disclosed that his ministry is seeking to boost gas reserves as well.

Addressing the States Council al-Jaz said that 40% of Sudan’s lands has been awarded to foreign oil companies for exploration efforts. He pointed out that there are "extensive" procedures for oil exploration all throughout the country.

The oil minister added that there are 10 blocs that will soon be up for bidding after gathering the necessary information needed to make it public.

Sudan has been scrambling to make up for the loss of oil that resulted from the secession of South Sudan which contained 75% of the country’s oil reserves.

The East African nation currently produces around 120,000 bpd and hopes to double it in the next few years despite reports saying that fields have reached their maximum capacity.

"Timewing to waning mature fields (higher quality Nile blend) and other technical production problems, 2012 production is expected to sharply decline by 60 percent to 117 to 120 thousand barrels per day (bpd)," said a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month.

"Enhanced recovery in existing fields and further exploration will likely help production to increase again starting in 2013, with a peak expected in 2020 at near 240 thousand bpd, before a gradual decline to about 144 thousand bpd begins in 2030".

Al-Jaz said that that his ministry has embarked on building warehouses in the Red Sea to store crude oil and is also looking to grant a French company an exploration license for two blocs (13 & 19) in the Red Sea.

He expressed hope that Sudan could gas reserves to reach 1.5 billion cubic feet and said that studies are underway to repair and develop oil refineries in Al-Obayid and Port Sudan. 

Bashir aide challenges opposition to declare stance on Sharia laws

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201 

November 10, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s presidential assistant, Nafe Ali Nafe, has claimed that the government is in possession of documents proving that opposition parties are against the implementation of Islamic Shaira laws and trying to create a secular state, challenging them to a public debate over the issue.

Addressing a rally attended by leaders and members of Sufi sects in North Kordofan State on Saturday, Nafe declared that the opposition does not want Sharia and challenged its representatives to a public debate over the issue saying that the government will present the documents that prove the opposition’s rejection of Sharia.

Nafe, who is also the deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), accused the opposition of masking its pursuit of a secular state through the use of vague names like the “civil state”.

The NCP official demanded that opposition parties make their stance on the issue of Sharia clear.

The issue of the relation between religion and the state has been a subject of much controversy and polarization in the domestic political arena since the NCP revealed its intention to create a new constitution to supersede the current transitional one which was installed in 2005 as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which culminated in the secession of the predominantly-Christian South Sudan last year.

Nafe remarks are directed at the coalition of mainstream opposition parties, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), which include the National Umma Party (NUP) led by Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, the Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al-Turabi and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) among others.

NCF allies say they are opposed to attempts by the NCP and radical Islamist groups to create a puritan version of an Islamic constitution citing the need to recognize diversity and existence of religious minority groups. They call instead for creating a “civil state” which, they argue, is different from a secular state.

But there are divisions among NCF allies over this particular issue. PCP’s leader Hassan Al-Turabi confirmed the rift in an interview with Sudan Tribune last week, saying that some of their allies disagree with their pursuit of an Islamic state but all of them agreed to defer this disagreement in order to focus on their common denominator of regime change.

Al-Turabi also said that they agreed to tackle this issue during the transitional period that would follow the fall of the regime.

Sudan’s Bashir likely suffers from benign tumor, his brother says

Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s addressing supporters at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh November, 9 201

November 9, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s recent health troubles are likely the result of a "benign tumor" in his throat, his brother said.

In statements shown on privately-owned Blue Nile TV, Abdullah Hassan al-Bashir who is also a physician, disclosed that they are awaiting the results of a biopsy performed on his brother which would confirm the nature of the tumor.

The results should come out as early as Saturday, he said without providing further details.

Bashir’s brother’s statements contradicts those made by other officials in the presidency and the government who said that the Sudanese leader suffered from lipoma that caused a vacuum between vocal cords.

The 68-years old president underwent surgery last August in Qatar performed on his throat that was only recently officially acknowledged. He has limited his appearance and speeches ever since which gave rise to rumors regarding his health and the nature of his illness.

This week it was announced that Bashir traveled to Saudi Arabia on a private visit during which he will undergo medical checks and meet with Saudi officials. A day later however a statement by the government said that Bashir underwent a successful "minor surgery" without elaboration.

Official sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, justified this by saying that the operation was not anticipated but rather necessitated by the results of the tests he took.

Bashir appeared today at the Sudanese embassy in Riyadh and addressed his supporters for the first time since the surgery.

"I assure you that I am in perfect health and do not suffer from any side effects after a small surgery I had yesterday that was successful," he said in a clear and normal sounding voice.

He addressed the recent attack on a weapons factory in the Sudanese capital which Khartoum blamed on Israel.

"Of course, many people wonder how Israeli’s planes sneaked from the Red Sea to reach Khartoum without people engaging with it," Bashir said.

The Sudanese president pointed out that his country has two options to stop such attacks the first of which is normalizing ties with Israel but he swiftly dismissed that option and emphasized that Israel will remain the number one enemy of Sudan.

"Israel is the Zionist enemy and Israel will remain the enemy" and went on to say that the viable alternative is seeking to acquire military capabilities to enable it to respond "in kind".

However, he acknowledged the superiority of Israel’s military and noted that the Jewish state used technology that enabled it to avoid radar detection..

"The aircrafts that hit Khartoum and bombed the compound were F-15’s and they are American planes that were in use since a long time ago but they added new features [so that] no radar detects it. Even radars in Djibouti and the U.S. base and the French base were unable to detect those planes," he added.

Bashir also reiterated his rejection to excluding Misseriya tribe in Abyei from taking part in the referendum as the African Union plan proposes saying it paves the way to Dinka Ngok being granted the region and subsequently being annexed by South Sudan.

He emphasized that Abyei is a land belonging to the Misseriya who hosted the Dinka Ngok in the past in reference to the period of Dinka-Nuer conflicts.

Abyei lies on the border between South Sudan and its northern neighbor. Since South Sudan seceded in 2011 various issues have remained unresolved. Despite the success of the most recent round of talks held in Addis Ababa in September, Juba and Khartoum have failed to agree upon the future of the Abyei region.

"Abyei will continue as a part of Sudan and all Misseriya will participate in the Abyei referendum," Bashir said.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has given Sudan and South Sudan until December 5 to agree on the final status of Abyei, which Sudanese troops withdrew from in May to end a year-long occupation.

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