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July 2014 - Posts

Meriam Ibrahim arrived at the united states with a warm welcoming from her supporters waving the american flags

MANCHESTER, N.H., July 31 - A Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence arrived Thursday in the United States, where she was welcomed first by the mayor of Philadelphia as a "world freedom fighter" and later by cheering supporters waving American flags in New Hampshire.

Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir shakes hands with Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party in Khartoum on 14 March 2014
   

Meriam Ibrahim flew from Rome to Philadelphia with her husband and two children, en route to Manchester, where her husband has family and where they will make their new home. Her husband, Daniel Wani, his face streaked with tears, briefly thanked New Hampshire's Sudanese community on his family's behalf and said he appreciated the outpouring of support.

Earlier in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter said people will remember Ibrahim along "with others who stood up so we could be free." He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the U.S. civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, touching off a bus boycott.

Nutter said it was only fitting Ibrahim landed first in Philadelphia, a city founded as a place open to all faiths. He gave her a small replica of the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence, which he said she understood.

"Meriam Ibrahim is a world freedom fighter," he said.

Ibrahim had been sentenced to death over charges of apostasy, the abandonment of a religion. Her father was Muslim, and her mother was an Orthodox Christian. She married Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan, in 2011. Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. By law, children must follow their fathers' religions.

Sudan initially blocked Ibrahim from leaving the country even after its highest court overturned her death sentence in June. The family took refuge at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum.

Manchester, a city of 110,000 residents about 50 miles north of Boston, is northern New England's largest city and has been a magnet for immigrants and refugees for decades. There are about 500 Sudanese living in the city, which is just north of the Massachusetts state line.

Ibrahim's husband, who previously lived in New Hampshire, had been granted U.S. citizenship when he fled to the United States as a child to escape civil war, but he later returned and was a citizen of South Sudan.

The family was met at the Manchester airport by Gabriel Wani, Ibrahim's brother-in-law, and dozens of supporters holding balloons, signs and flags. The crowd cheered as they stopped in the terminal, and several women reached out to hug Ibrahim.

"We're just going to go and bring them home," Gabriel Wani said. "They want to come home, and they want to rest."

Monyroor Teng, pastor of the Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church in Manchester, said Ibrahim's release gives him hope.

"People are really happy to receive them when they come home," he said. "It's a miracle to me. I didn't think that something like this would happen because, in Sudan, when something happens like that, it's unreal. It happens to so many people. Maybe, who knows, I'm praying for those (other) ladies who are in jail and those who have died."

The Rev. William Devlin, a New York pastor who had helped the family, said Ibrahim expressed some sadness when he talked to her Wednesday.

"She is leaving everything she knows behind," he said.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
President Kiir appoints Yauyau chief administrator

July 31, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir has appointed the country’s former rebel leader, David Yauyau as chief administrator of the Greater Pibor Area in Jonglei state.

SRF leadership
   

Kiir, in a decree issued Wednesday, cited the peace accord recently signed with Yauyau’s South Sudan Democratic Cobra Faction as the basis for the new appointment.

The decree, announced on SSTV, also approved creation of seven counties under the chief administrator. These counties include, Gumurok, Likuangole, Pibor, Bertak, Boma, Pochalla-North and Pochalla-South.

President Kiir signed into law the peace agreement, which recognised the formation of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) last week. This came after government reached a deal with Yauyau’s rebel movement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last May.

The South Sudanese leader had vowed to ensure the agreement was fully implemented, including the nominating an administrator and availing funds for the construction of a school, hospitals and a road in Pibor area.

Yauyau rebelled in 2010 after losing elections to represent Pibor county in Jonglei state’s legislative assembly, accusing the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) of rigging votes. In 2011, however, he accepted a presidential amnesty, but rebelled again the following year.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
South Sudan downplays lack of direct communication with US

July 30, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan has downplayed the significance of the lack of direct communication between president Salva Kiir and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, saying the latter should be more concerned over the situation due to his country’s heavy involvement in world affairs.

US president Barack Obama meets with South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit in New York on 21 September 2011
   

The last time the two leaders spoke was in 2011.

“Yes, it has been long time … but I think it is the president of United States who should be more concerned because it is America which is more concerned with the world affairs,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told on Monday.

He was reacting to reports that president Kiir had complained that Obama had stopped calling him amid growing diplomatic tensions between Juba and Washington.

Kiir was quoted earlier this month during a visit to the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Wau, questioning why Obama had failed to call him even at the height of the current conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year.

“I know my brother Obama is very busy with world affairs and I know how difficult it is to wear several hats at [the same] time but sometimes he manages to call others. He used to do that before but this has stopped. I don’t know [if] it is the level of his engagement with the world affairs that has preoccupied him,” Kiir was quoted as saying.

The president reportedly made the remark at a meeting with Bahr el Ghazal elders in Wau, during which he revealed the United States and other countries had cut financial support to the country’s security forces and withdrawn funding to several development projects, including construction of the Rajaf police academy.

“The friends that we know have stopped supporting us, even the United States, which used to provide support in capacity building such as governance, health, infrastructure and the security sector and also education has stopped,” Kiir told elders at the time.

Government troops loyal to Kiir and rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar have been engaged in armed conflict since a political split in the ruling SPLM sparked violence across the country.

Kiir said the “senseless” war had also affected oil production, telling elders to tighten their belts until the conflict was resolved.

According to Ateny, talks between the two heads of state in the past had typically focused on bilateral issues and other matters of mutual interest.

It is unclear what caused the stoppage in direct communications between the two presidents, although independent observers say it is an indication of the level of frustration felt by Western governments with the Juba administration’s inability to curb the country’s ongoing conflict.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
Sudan’s NUP leader describes 2015 elections as “nightmare”

July 28, 2014 (Khartoum) – The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, has described the government intention to hold elections in the country under the present circumstances as a “nightmare”.

Eid al-Fitr feast sermon at Imam Abdelrahman al-Mahdi mosque in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman
   

Al-Mahdi, who delivered a Eid al-Fitr feast sermon at Imam Abdelrahman al-Mahdi mosque in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman on Monday, said Sudan suffers from sharp political and ideological polarisation, difficult economic situation, unprecedented living conditions, turbulent security situation and regional and international isolation.

He said the only resolution issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) concerning Sudan before the current regime assumes power was resolution 112 which was adopted in 1956 and admitted Sudan’s membership in the UN, adding that the UNSC issued 61 resolutions against Sudan mostly under chapter seven under the regime of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

The former prime minister added that Sudan ranked the 6th most corrupt country in the world in 2013 according to Transparency International’s corruption index, saying in 2013 Sudan ranked third on the list of the world’s failed states, after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Somalia respectively.

He also noted that Sudan is ranked 172 out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index in 2014, pointing that Sudan took the rear among 143 countries in the 2014 Global Innovation Index which ranks countries according to the level of development of innovative technologies, institutions, human capital, scientific research, infrastructure, and market development.

Al-Mahdi stressed that continuation of the regime means that the same people who carried out policies which led to the current situation would continue to hold to power, pointing the government call for elections is not intended to rotate power but to echo actions of the Middle East tyrants.

He underscored that such elections would only allow the ruling party to hold power because it controls government institutions, resources and the media.

“Whatever failures of the regime, elections would be similar to that which is being held in Syria under president Asad, Iraq under president Sadam, Egypt under president Mubarak, Yemen under president Ali abdallah and Tunisia under Zain al-Abdin Bin Ali. The late Iraqi poet, Ahmed Matar, described these types of elections as “a nightmare standing before me,” he added.

Sudan’s opposition parties call for forming a transitional government and holding a national conference with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The interim government would organise general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime. But the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) rejects this proposal saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should sign first peace accords.

The NUP leader further affirmed that holding elections under the present circumstances is nothing but an absurd move, saying it would exacerbates the country’s crises.

He pointed to the possibility of overthrowing the regime through armed action but warned the move would repeat the Syrian scenario if it failed to seize power or could lead to establishing another dictatorial government if it managed to topple the regime.

He said that popular uprising requires a widespread popular movement, political strike and military intervention in the final stage.

“As was the case in the Sudan and Arab Spring states, this integration [of the three requirements] is possible but it would more probably be a result of a coincidence not a plan,” he added.

Al-Mahdi saw that the alternative option is that all political, civil and armed forces agree on a new regime which would achieve just and comprehensive peace and the full democratic transformation, vowing to continue efforts to bring all these forces together.

He addressed the government saying that Sudan is currently under unprecedented international trusteeship as per the UNSC resolutions under chapter seven, as well as the presence of more than 30,000 foreign troops in its territory and the population’s significant dependence on international aid.

The opposition leader said there is no way to remove these obstacles in light of the continuation of the current situation.

ISLAM AND TERRORISM

Al-Mahdi also saw that many Muslims carry out some practices which hurt Islam such as a ruler who declares implementation of Shari’a with his main focus on punishment or a political group which announces establishment of an Islamic regime only to exercise corruption and tyranny.

He wondered how Islam’s reputation could get hurt by actions of some Muslims who sentenced a woman to flogging and death when she was eight months pregnant.

The NUP leader was alluding to the case of Meriam Ibrahim, the 27-year old Christian woman who was sentenced to death by hanging in May after refusing to recant her faith and return to Islam, but was later released after what the government described as “unprecedented” international pressure.

He further considered measures taken by the so called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIR) against Christians such as imposing Jizya (protection tax) on them besides discrimination against women a proof that some Muslim actions hurt Islam.

The NUP leader said the west played great role in finding Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIR, suggesting holding international conference in order to reflect the true Islamic discourse.

He warned that the Arab world would pay a huge price if it failed to fight against extremism and violence because the phenomenon surpasses national boundaries.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
Khartoum and Cairo agree to apply additional measures to secure joint borders

July 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan and Egypt have agreed to promote military coordination in order to protect the countries’ joint borders against smuggling rings, as wellas economic and security threats.

SRF leadership
   

Egypt’s defence minister, Lt. Gen. Sidqi Subhi, hailed bilateral relations between Cairo and Khartoum in various fields.

Subhi, on Saturday met the Sudanese investment minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail in the presence of Egypt’s chiefs of staff and the military attaché and chargé d’affaires at Sudan’s embassy in Cairo besides several other officials.

Ashorooq TV said that Ismail handed Subhi over a letter from his Sudanese counterpart, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein.

Hussein, according to the letter, praised military cooperation between Egypt and Sudan particularly on the border issue, stressing that Sudan supports Egypt’s efforts to secure the joint borders against threats.

Ismail said the meeting discussed ongoing arrangements to inaugurate the two land crossings of Ashkait and Argeen, pointing the former is expected to be opened in Mid-August while the latter will be opened at the end of the year.

Subhi, for his part, underscored the need to promote the Sudanese-Egyptian relations and make it the perfect model for the Arab-African interdependence.

He said the recent visit of president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to Sudan sought to enhance economic cooperation and political coordination between the two countries at the regional and international levels.

The Egyptian defence minister further noted he looks forward to meeting his Sudanese counterpart in his planned visit to Cairo soon to discuss ways for promoting military ties between the two countries.

“There will be mutual visits between the two sides to discuss additional measures for securing the joint borders,” he said.

The Egyptian-Sudanese border is known to be a smuggling hotspot, and was also recently highlighted in a report by Human Rights Watch as a human trafficking route.

Last June, the Egyptian president made a lightening visit to Sudan. He flew to Khartoum from Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo where attended the 23rd Ordinary African Union (AU) summit.

Relations between Cairo and Khartoum have taken a downward spiral, particularly after Sudan announced its strong support of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Many Egyptian politicians and observers have expressed fury over Sudan’s stance with some going as far as calling Khartoum an "ingrate" and "treacherous".

Some commentators have speculated that Khartoum wants to use the dam issue as a bargaining chip to claim back Halayeb which has been under Egyptian control since the 1990s.

The genesis of the dispute over Halayeb dates back to as early as 1958 after Sudan gained independence from being ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt. The wrangle is a result of a discrepancy in the demarcation of political boundaries set by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and the ones set earlier by the British in 1902.

Egypt brushed aside Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration.

Khartoum is also accused by Egyptian media of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement which has been pushed off Egypt’s political scene after the toppling of president Mohamed Morsi last year by then army chief al-Sisi in response to mass anti-Morsi demonstrations in the country.

The Islamist government in Sudan has appeared uncomfortable with the ouster of Morsi given the common ideology they shared with him and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which brought him to power.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
Sudan’s rebel alliance seeks to unify opposition forces within two months

July 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) -The rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) said it would work towards unifying opposition forces, stressing the move is a necessary condition for overthrowing the regime or reaching a comprehensive peaceful solution to end war and bring about the democratic change.

SRF leadership
   

In a statement released at the conclusion of a meeting held in Paris between 20 and 25 July, the SRF announced that it approved a plan to “unify forces of change through coordination, joint work, and continuous contacts with all forces interested in the unity of opposition”.

The statement added the SRF would make its utmost efforts to achieve “this vital mission within two months in order to allow Sudanese people make the necessary change”.

The move comes 18 months after a first attempt in January 2013, where the SRF groups and opposition parties signed the "New Dawn" charter in Ugandan capital, Kampala where the participants agreed on the goal of changing the regime.

However very quickly they disagreed over whether they should use political or military means to bring this change. Also they diverged on the role of religion in politics.

The National Umma Party (NUP), Popular Congress Party (PCP) and Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) later appeared to distance themselves from the agreement saying they were rushed into signing and voiced objections over some of its clauses.

Referring to the national dialogue initiative launched in January 2014 by president Omer al-Bashir on the, the SRF groups reiterated its rejection for partial solution and emphasised that this process should lead to achieve true political change in Sudan.

Last April, the SRF proposed a roadmap to achieve a comprehensive solution to end war in the southern and western parts of the country and ensure democratic transition in Sudan.

The proposal provided to hold one peace process to negotiate peace in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Following what, an inclusive peace process should be held with the participation of all political forces and civil society groups.

In Khartoum, the ruling party and several oppositions parties on Friday finalised a framework agreement for the national dialogue and called on the rebel groups and opposition parties that refused the process to join them.

The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) decided last May to suspend its participation in the national dialogue process to protest the arrest of its leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi as he had accused the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia of committing atrocities against civilians in Darfur.

After al-Mahdi release in June, the NUP stressed on the need to review the national dialogue process and associate the “historical” political parties in an African Union-led process to achieve peace in the Two Areas and Darfur.

Al-Mahdi also called to include the rebel groups in the political dialogue stressing that no democratic change can be achieved without peace.

The SRF disclosed that the five-day meeting received a letter from the United States special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, without elaborating on its content.

It also said the rebel leadership council met with delegates from the US and the European Union (EU), noting that several issues were discussed in the meetings including humanitarian issues, human rights, comprehensive peaceful solution, and dialogue among all parties to the Sudanese crisis.

A joint delegation comprising of members of the SRF and opposition parties met EU legislators on 16 July in Strasbourg, France, where they called for Europe to exert more pressure on Khartoum to achieve a comprehensive peaceful settlement and a genuine process for national dialogue leading to democratic transformation.

The rebel groups reaffirmed that search for peaceful solution doesn’t mean it abandoned its call for overthrowing the regime, underscoring that any agreement with the Sudanese government should lead to ending the wars and establishing a democratic regime on the basis of the principle of citizenship without discrimination.

The statement pointed the meeting was held for the first time in France because SRF leaders have been present in Europe for meetings with various organisations and institutions on top of which is the European Parliament.

The SRF leaders are expected to hold meetings with some leaders of the opposition parties who are currently present in Europe to discuss ways to reach a consensus between the military and political forces on the democratic change.

Paris meeting was held with the participation of its chairman, Malik Agar, the deputy chairman for political affairs, Abdel-Wahid al-Nour, deputy chairman for foreign affairs, Gibril Ibrahim, the foreign relations official, Yasser Arman, media affairs official, Al-Tom Hago, and administrative affairs official, Nasr al-Din al-Hadi al-Mahdi. Zinab Kabashi of the Beja Congress also attended the meeting.

The SRF deputy chairman, Minni Arku Minnawi, didn’t attend the meeting due to logistical reasons. He was represented by the humanitarian affairs official, Trayo Ahmed Ali.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
South Sudan’s food insecurity situation “worst in the world”

July 26, 2014 (NEW YORK/GENEVA) – Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have described the current food insecurity situation in South Sudan as the “worst in the world”.

The new head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Loj
   

During its Friday session chaired by Rwanda’s Eugene-Richard Gasana, the UNSC further expressed deep alarm that the crisis in the young nation may soon reach the threshold of famine, citing continued conflict, civilian targeting, and displacement.

Nearly 1.5 million people, aid agencies say, have been forced out of their homes since violence broke out in South Sudan late last year, while over 50,000 children below five years risk dying from malnutrition this year.

However, the 15-member Council urged all UN member states, who together pledged more than $618 million in new funding for both South Sudan and the region in May at a humanitarian pledging conference in Oslo, Norway, to swiftly fulfil those pledges and increase their commitments.

The funds, they further stressed, are critically needed now to provide life-saving assistance in view of the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the world’s youngest nation.

LOOMING FAMINE

At least 3.9 million people in South Sudan risk facing starvation that could reach “catastrophic” levels if peace negotiations were unable to stem ongoing fighting in the country, the US warned on Friday.

“This is not a crisis caused by drought or flood; it is a calamity created by conflict,” said US secretary of state John Kerry.

“South Sudan’s leaders need to make choices and they need to make them now if they’re going to pull their country back from the brink of famine,” he added.

South Sudan recently marked only its third independence anniversary, but a conflict fuelled by ethnic and personal power struggles is already threatening to tear the country apart. Even the US, a close ally of South Sudan, is struggling to pull the latter from the brink of civil war.

Throughout the conflict, however, the US has spoken out against killing of innocent civilians, lack of access to those in need of aid as well as the failure by South Sudanese leaders to end the ongoing violence.

Kerry said South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar have key roles to play in ending the conflict, which has killed thousands and forced about 300,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries.

“I call on them to end the fighting immediately and negotiate in good faith under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development,” Kerry said.

He said the US remains committed to the people of South Sudan and has provided more than $456 million in humanitarian aid this year alone and called on fellow donor countries to make additional contributions.

“The people of South Sudan deserve the opportunity to begin rebuilding their country, and to develop the national and local institutions they need to put South Sudan on a path towards stability,” he said.

SIMILAR WARNINGS

A United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) official said the agency was concerned about the possibility of famine in South Sudan and was actively working with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to avoid a catastrophe.

“Since the very start of the conflict, WFP had said that it needed two things to stave off a disaster – humanitarian access to the people in need and the financial resources to reach them with assistance. But WFP had not had enough of either,” Elisabeth Byrs told a news briefing in Geneva.

She said WFP and its partners urgently needed operational funds as they continue providing sustained assistance to avert a hunger catastrophe.

WFP is calling for $143 million to keep food assistance flowing until the end of August, adding that the situation in South Sudan was on a “dramatic path”.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
UN chief appoints new head of South Sudan mission

July 24, 2014 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, on Wednesday announced the appointment of Ellen Margrethe Loj as the new head of its mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The new head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Loj
   

Denmark’s Loj replaces Hilde Johnson whose term expired early this month.

The UN secretary-general, however, said he was grateful for Johnson’s dedication and leadership at the helm of UNMISS since its inception in July 2011.

The spokesperson for the secretary generals said she had a “wealth of experience in peacekeeping and international affairs”, previously serving as special representative to the secretary general and head of the UN mission in Liberia from 2008-2012.

According to the world body, Loj also held various senior positions in her country’s foreign affairs ministry and served as Denmark’s permanent representative to the UN.

Loj, however, takes her new position at a time when South Sudan faces serious humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the seven-month old conflict that has killed thousands and displaced nearly 1.4 million people.

Also, nearly 100,000 civilians are seeking shelter at UN base across the country as violence continues in the nation, despite an agreed ceasefire between the two warring parties in the conflict.

In May, the UN Security Council extended UNMISS’s mandate for six months and revised its roles to give priority to the task of protecting civilians and to address the security, humanitarian and political crisis in the country.

Born in 1948 in Gedesby, Denmark, Loj holds a Masters degree in political science from Copenhagen University.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
Sudanese journalists protest against assault on Al-Tayyar newspaper

July 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Hundreds of Sudanese journalists have demonstrated in the capital, Khartoum on Sunday to protest against the assault carried out by unknown gunmen against the editor-in-chief of Al-Tayyar newspaper, Osman Mirghani.

Sudan’s Mahdi sets condition for resuming participation in national dialogue
   

A group of masked gunmen on Saturday stormed the building of Al-Tayyar daily newspaper in Khartoum and assaulted Mirghani. They also confiscated all cellular phones and laptops of the newspaper’s staff and attacked several journalists before leaving.

About 500 journalists had gathered outside Al-Tayyar headquarters in Khartoum before marching to the National Council for Press and Publications (NCPP) holding banners calling for freedom of expression and press.

The protestors handed the NCPP a memorandum demanding it to bear its responsibilities in protection of journalists.

The head of the NCPP, Ali Shomo, described the assault against Mirghani as “brutal, savage, and strange”, stressing that free opinion must not be faced by beating and threats.

Shomo, who addressed protestors in front of the NCPP headquarters, underscored the need for making a solid stance against this type of “terrorism”, calling upon police to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

He added that if Mirghani’s opinion doesn’t appeal to other people, they should talk to him instead of using force, saying that “brave men” do not resort to this kind of practice.

Shomo further asserted the NCPP supports freedom of expression and opinion, noting if press were not free, it means that it is not press.

The head of the pro-government journalists syndicate, Muhy al-Din Titawi, described the assault as “cowardly act” which we must denounce, saying they refuse to respond to opinion through violence.

Meanwhile, the Reform Now Party (RNP) led by Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Attabani, condemned the assault on Mirghani and Al-Tayyar.

It said in a statement on Sunday that the criminal attack against Mirghani reflects the painful and miserable situation in the country, adding that free people are being targeted by those who lack morals and values.

The RNP pointed the country reached a point where the social contract between the state and people has decayed to the extent that some social components are adopting the “law of the jungle”.

It considered the assault an attempt to confiscate the divine rights of freedom of expression and opinion, calling for conducting an investigation on the incident and bringing perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

X-rays and medical tests which were conducted to Mirghani have shown that no serious injuries exist but some bruises in the head and the right eye.

Mirghani has recently debated in a TV talk show program the issue of normalising relations with Israel. He also wrote a column on the same issue in Al-Tayyar.

He said in reply to his critics that the program was recorded more than three weeks ago but broadcasted in conjunction with the Israeli attack on Gaza strip, questioning the timing of the broadcast.

On the day of the incident, Mirghani wrote a column criticising an Imam (prayer leader) of one of Khartoum’s mosques who denied asking Allah’s (God) mercy and forgiveness for the famous Sudanese musician and violinist, Mohamed Abdallah, who passed away last week.

PRESIDENCY INSTRUCTS TO ARREST CULPRITS

Sudanese vice–president Hasabo Abdel Rahman told journalists on Sunday that the presidency instructed the security service and the police to take the necessary measures to arrest the assailants who attacked Mirhgani and to bring them to justice.

Speaking during a Ramadan breakfast organised by the Sudanese Journalists Union on Sunday, Abdel Rahman condemned the attack and said that all the security agencies are currently working to catch the perpetrators of the attack.

He further said that the presidency also instructed to protect the headquarters of newspapers.

The leader of the National Umma Party who participated at the journalists’ breakfast asked the government agencies to quickly arrest the culprits. He also called to impose the maximum penalties on attackers in order to dissuade similar assaults on journalists in the future.

Meanwhile the director of criminal police in Khartoum state, Maj-General Abdel Aziz Hussein Awad stated on Sunday night that police forces are able to identify the offenders, adding they have already collected information about them but refused to elaborate on the ongoing investigations.

Mirghani’s incident is a reminiscent of that of Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, former editor-in-chief of al-Wifaq newspaper.

Ahmed, was snatched from his home in a northern district of Khartoum by masked gunmen in September 2006 a day before his decapitated body was found.

The previous year, he had sparked controversy when his paper republished an article from the Internet that questioned the parentage of the Prophet Muhammad. Death threats were issued against him by angry Muslims, and the paper was fined by the government.

Southern Sudan TV Live :: SSTV :: شاهد تلفزيون جنوب السودانSudan TV Live :: SUDAN TV :: شاهد تلفزيون السودان
Sudan chief editor severely beaten after call for Israeli ties

July 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) — A group of masked gunmen on Saturday had stormed the headquarters of Al-Tayyar daily newspaper in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum and assaulted its editor-in-chief, Osman Mirghani.

Sudan’s Mahdi sets condition for resuming participation in national dialogue
   

Mirghani was subsequently transferred to the hospital.

Eyewitnesses told the gunmen blamed Mirghani for his “disgraceful position” towards Israel. They also confiscated all cellular phones and laptops of the newspaper’s staff and attacked several journalists before to leave.

Sudanese government officials condemned the attack on the newspaper and its editor in chief.

Defence minister, Abdel Rahim Hussein, in a Ramadan breakfast with Sudanese journalists described the assault as "unethical behaviour" strange to the Sudanese tradition.

Also, presidential assistant Ibrahim Gandhour and the minister of state for information Yasir Youssef paid a visit to the editor in chief at al-Zitouna Hospital in Khartoum. While the governor of Khartoum state, Abdel Rahman Khidir condemned the incident and vowed to track the assailants.

Mirghani has recently defended in a TV talk show program the issue of normalising relations with Israel. He also wrote a column on the same issue in Al-Tayyar.

He said in reply to his critics that the program was recorded more than three weeks ago but broadcasted in conjunction with the Israeli attack on Gaza strip, questioning the timing of the broadcast.

Sudan’s main clerical authority, the Religious Scholars Committee (RSC), issued on Friday a Fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting the calls for normalising relations with Israel, saying that calls to deal with the Zionist entity hurts Muslims feelings.

The RSC secretary general, Mohamed Osman Salih, pointed to the danger of calls to normalise relations with the Zionist entity at this time.

Hundreds of worshippers had demonstrated inside Khartoum’s grand mosque following Friday prayer against Israel’s air strikes and ground offensive on Gaza strip.

The pro-government Sudanese Students Union (SSU) last week donated $20 dollars in support of the Palestinian cause.

Mirghani’s incident is a reminiscent of that of Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed, former editor-in-chief of al-Wifaq newspaper.

Ahmed, was snatched from his home in a northern district of Khartoum by masked gunmen in September 2006 a day before his decapitated body was found.

The previous year, he had sparked controversy when his paper republished an article from the Internet that questioned the parentage of the Prophet Muhammad. Death threats were issued against him by angry Muslims, and the paper was fined by the government.

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Sudan’s Mahdi sets condition for resuming participation in national dialogue

July 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi on Tuesday criticised the recent wave of restrictions imposed on political freedoms and announced that they would only resume participation in the national dialogue mechanism if government adopts two laws for the national concord and peace.

Sudan’s Mahdi sets condition for resuming participation in national dialogue
   

Al-Mahdi, in his first speech to the party’s members since his release on 15 June, expressed optimism about the national dialogue and regretted government statements and deeds seeking to restrict the purpose of national dialogue to fit with its own agenda.

The opposition leader further said under such conditions, the only choice left was to unify all the political and armed opposition forces to work peacefully to achieve peace and re-establish democratic transformation in Sudan.

He reiterated that all these forces should unite under the “National Construction Charter: United Diversity” and use all the means to establish the new regime “except the armed violence”.

However, “if the regime realise the reality of the situation and decided to seriously take proactive steps to achieve the popular and legitimate demands the way forwards is to adjust the national dialogue process", he said.

“The way to do that is to adhere to policies protected from twists and embodied in laws, particularly two laws: the law of the construction of national concord, and peace-building law” added al-Mahdi.

According to the former prime minister, the national concord law should focus on issues related to the democratic transition, with the participation of “the six historical parties” and any other important new political formation. Also said this process should be headed by a neutral chairmanship rejecting the current leadership by president Omer al-Bashir.

Regarding the peace building law, Mahdi pointed that political parties implicated in the national dialogue process should be participate in the peace talks with the rebels groups . he also said the talks with the rebels on Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan should be mediated by the African Union with observers from the international community.

The Sudanese government rejects a demand by rebel groups to unify the two existing tracks for peace in Darfur and the Two Areas.

The NUP suspended its participation in the national dialogue following the detention of its leader in May because he criticized the government militia saying they committed crimes in Darfur. After his release, Mahdi said there is a need to review the current process.

Last Thursday the national dialogue mechanism held a meeting without the NUP and the Reform Now Party (RNP) led by the former presidential adviser Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani.

The RNP, which is established by a splinter group from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), said Monday they decide on resuming their participation in the process after a meeting of its leadership council.

Another, Islamist party, the Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan al-Turabi refused to suspend its participation in the national dialogue saying all the current difficulties can be resolved within the existing mechanisms.

Turabi’s party also said they would seek to persuade the NUP and RNP to rejoin the national dialogue.

RNP RESUMES ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Following a meeting held on Tuesday, the RNP political bureau decided to end its boycott of the political process vowing to work for a large political consensus to end war and restore democracy in Sudan.

"In consideration of demands from our political partners in the mechanism of national dialogue, based developments occurring in the path of dialogue and in order to test the government’s seriousness towards dialogue and its outputs, the political bureau decided to activate the participation of the Movement in the 7 +7 Committee and evaluate the subsequent political positions to the Movement in accordance with the outputs of the upcoming meetings," said a statement released at the end of the meeting .

"The RNP political bureau decided to coordinate with all political forces to achieve political consensus through a national project that gathers all Sudanese on the minimum necessary to build a state of justice", further said the communiqué.

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Sudan becomes second largest investor in Ethiopia after China

July 15, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudanese business firms have become the second largest foreign investors in Ethiopia after China, the state-run Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency said.

Sudan becomes second largest investor in Ethiopia after China
   

According Awad al-Kareem, president of the Sudanese Investors Society in Addis Ababa, the amount of capital investment made in Ethiopia by Sudanese firms has reached around $2.4 billion.

Al-Kareem said more and more Sudanese firms are investing in Ethiopia due the favourable investment opportunities created by the government comparing the existing difficulties in Khartoum to acquire investment licenses among others.

To attract more foreign investors, the Ethiopia government has made available a special loan fund through the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) enabling investors to have a loan of up to 70% of the cost of a feasible project.

Among other investment incentives the country offers for foreign investors, is land which is available to be leased at a very cheap cost.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Industry, currently there are over 800 Sudanese firms operating in the country in areas of Agriculture, manufacturing, construction and other areas.

Al-Kareem said the Ethiopian government is planning to amend the minimum investment capital for foreign investors from $200 to $3 million to encourage the flow of investors coming in.

Ethiopia has an immense potential in attracting investment into its agriculture sector with huge fertile arable land accounting around 515 million hectares of the total landscape.

The East African country which is Africa’s second most populace nation is also the continent’s political hub and geographical close to the Middle East and Gulf nations.

A survey conducted last year by the World Bank indicates that Ethiopia is one the few African countries where business was easy to start.

According to government figures the country has been registering double-digit growth of between 10 to 12 percent during the past 10 years, however, opposition political groups criticise the figures provides, saying they have been highly exaggerated beyond the actual growth figures.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), says actual growth is average 5 to 7 percent.

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Sudan’s Bashir defends RSF militias, says elections to be held on time

July 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, has renewed promise to end rebellion and tribal conflicts in the country by the end of 2014 and denounced criticism directed to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) from some political forces.

Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir shakes hands with Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party in Khartoum on 14 March 2014
   

Bashir, who received from the speaker of the parliament, Alfatih Izz al-Din, on Sunday the parliament’s response to the letter he tabled at the National Assembly, praised efforts of the Sudanese army and other regular forces in defending the country.

He further strongly defended the RSF, saying they defeated rebel groups in several areas in Darfur and South Kordofan.

“They [RSF] offered 163 martyrs and several of wounded within five months only to defend the country,” he added.

The Sudanese president denounced criticism of the RSF by some political forces, saying the latter turned a blind eye on the violations committed by the rebel forces in the localities of Haskanita, Al-li’ait Jar Alnabi, Altiwaisha, and Kalmando in North Darfur.

The RSF militia, which is widely known as the Janjaweed militias, were originally mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.

The militia was reactivated and restructured again in August 2013 under the command of NISS to fight rebel groups in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states following joint attacks by Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels in North and South Kordofan in April 2013.

Sudanese authorities arrested leaders of two opposition parties recently after accusing the RSF of committing serious abuses in conflict zones.

ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AS SCHEDUELD

The Sudanese president on Sunday also directed the National Elections Commission (NEC) to make the necessary arrangements for holding elections in April 2015, saying it is a constitutional requirement and there is no reason for delaying it.

Sudan’s opposition parties call for forming a transitional government and holding a national conference with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution for the conflicts in Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.

The interim government would organize general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime. But the NCP rejects this proposal saying opposition parties must simply prepare for the 2015 elections and that rebels should sign first peace accords.

Last week, Bashir issued presidential decrees appointing NEC chief, deputy chairman, and two other members.

The Sudanese parliament also passed amendments to the 2008 elections law amid accusations by opposition that the government plans to rig the election process through the new law.

Bashir said the amended electoral law would allow all political forces to be presented in the parliament.

Under the amended law, the percentage of proportional representation according to the draft bill went up from 40% to 50% with an increase in the minimum allocated for women from 25% to 30% and for the party representation list from 15% to 20%.

Bashir underscored commitment to widen the circle of political practice and allow public freedoms according to the law and without infringing on the rights of other people and public rights.

He called upon MPs to focus on resolving problems facing Sudan on top of which are the tribal conflicts which is fuelled by the enemies of the country.

Bashir renewed Sudan’s adherence to its principles, saying the country was targeted since a long time ago due to its geographical location

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Sudan underscores commitment to supporting stability in Libya

July 13, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese foreign Minister Ali Karti is set to participate in the two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers of Libya’s neighboring countries which will take place in the Tunisian capital on Sunday.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Saturday that Khartoum is joining the meeting out of its its keenness on the security and stability of Libya.

The statement renewed the call for all the neighboring countries of Libya, the Arab League, the African Union, the United Nations, and international community to contribute positively in supporting security and stability and promote the process of peaceful transition.

The ministry said that Sudan believes that Libya’s neighboring countries are concerned more than any other side on maintaining the stability of Libya and ensuring its security and are best able to provide help and assistance needed to support the government and people of Libya.

Last month, the retired Libyan general Khalifa Heftar who is leading the military campaign dubbed as ‘Operation Dignity’ against Islamist militias accused Sudan directly of providing aid to these groups.

“We have information confirming the undertaking by Sudan of providing aid to these groups. We refuse to see such behavior from Arab brotherly states and we hope that this information is incorrect,” Heftar told Saudi-owned al-Hadath TV.

“Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Mali and Niger and all neighboring countries support us through border control, yet we do not need any military aid from these countries,” he added.

South Sudan president sets conditions for Ugandan military withdrawal

July 10, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has set the conditions for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the country, saying the latter will only leave if a permanent peace agreement is attained.

Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir shakes hands with Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party in Khartoum on 14 March 2014
   

President Kiir made the remarks on Wednesday at an occasion marking the third anniversary of the country’s independence from neighbouring Sudan, from which it seceded on 9 July 2011.

Kiir said the Ugandan troops had been deployed via a “sovereign agreement” and would remain in the country until their mission was achieved.

The comments have raised concerns about the commitment of the Kiir-led administration to respect a peace deal he signed last June with former vice-president-turned rebel leader Riek Machar.

“We are committed to bringing peace as the government. We are committed to negotiating a peaceful settlement to end this conflict. We are not sparing any resources and time,” Kiir told a small crowd, mostly comprising of members of his cabinet and business associates.

POOR TURNOUT

The Independence Day function was poorly attended, unlike celebrations in previous years, which saw several heads of state and government representatives in attendance.

This year, Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was the only the foreign head of state to attend, with the leaders of Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Djibouti all absent.

The reason for the poor international showing remains unclear, with officials from the organising committee and the office of the president saying invitations were sent out in time.

“We have sent out all the invitations to all the expected guests in advance and we did not receive any notification indicating other commitments of the people who were invited,” Abdon Agau, the government’s secretary-general, told reporters at the conclusion of the function, adding that the event had nonetheless gone well.

“Our people came and they heard the messages of peace and unity from the president of Uganda and our own president,” said Agau.

Kiir himself also questioned why the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the peace process between the two rival parties, and former political detainees did not attend Independence Day celebrations. 

“I don’t know why Pagan Amum and Deng Alor did not come. They said when they met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month, that they would come to attend [the] independence celebration,” he said.

He said he would have asked the leaders of the intergovernmental authority on development (IGAD) how long government troops would continue to remain in their trenches when they have continued to face offensive from the rebel groups he accused to have violated the peace deal.

“I would have the IGAD leaders if they had come how long our forces would continue to remain in trenches in the light of these violations by the forces loyal to Riek and his group,” he asked.

PUBLIC REACTS

Members of the general during interviews on Wednesday expressed dissatisfactions with the performance of the government and the governing leadership

“The attendance itself explains the dissatisfactions with our people. I did not bother to go myself because I was not expecting any new statement from the same leaders today. They were going to repeat the same things we have heard time and again, claims of liberation struggle and claims we have done this and that even though they lack trace, Deng Mathuc, a native of Warrap, told on Wednesday.

Mathuc said citizens thought independence would come with a lot of changes in form of development activities, more employment opportunities, building roads and schools.

“The expectations our people had in minds have dashed. They thought that a lot of changes would come. The young people like me were expected more things in form of employment opportunities and the people in rural areas were expecting more development activities like the construction of roads, building more schools, funding agricultural projects,” he said.

“They thought that if we get this country, then everyone will enjoy life. But as you know, these hopes have been dashed and the life has been made difficult. So people feel unhappy and this is why many are not celebrating. You can see how many people are here and the celebration is continuing,” he added.

FRACTURED LEADERSHIP

The auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Juba diocese, Santo Laku, said he was not whether they leaders were serious with their messages about peace, pointing out that leaders appear more interested in preaching peace to buy time than showing leadership to end the conflict.

“Well, it is always to give fitting comments and say what you have seen. I say this country needs peace urgently and it must be brought so that this suffering is brought to an end,” said Laku.

The religious leader described the political leadership of the country as “fractured”, pointing out that the division within the governing leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) had left their followers and supporters alike wandering between who should be followed.

“Our political leader at this particular moment is fractured. People do not know who to follow,” he said.

“As we talk, the agenda of peace is not very clear. As we talk peace, there are people mobilising for war, which sends out another different messages to the people being affected by these activities and leave them confused of the current peace talks,” he added.

The influential Bishop, who was speaking to the faithful at the church, said the country was too young to be disunited, saying it was time to come together to call for peace,” added the young influential Bishop while speaking to the faithful at the church.

POLICY OF APPEASEMENT

Former Sudanese oil minister Lual Acuek Deng, now managing director of a Juba based local think tank, says that a policy of “buying peace” with a huge army and government explains why the economy of the oil producing nation has fallen into “intensive care” and sent fighters tired of waiting for services back to the bush.

Meanwhile, a release by the former political said the country was celebrating the third anniversary under circumstances warranting no jubilations.

“We mark this third anniversary of our independence not under circumstances of jubilation nor with the sense of pride and achievement, but in pain and sense of shame. Not only have the leadership failed our country and betrayed the ultimate and selfless sacrifice of our martyrs, but also failed our friends in the region and around the world”, a statement bearing the name of former justice minister John Luk Jok read in part.

Jok, whom many people believe contributed to the fomenting of the crisis, due to his chairing of a constitutional review committee which drafted the interim constitution that broadened president Kiir’s powers, said the occasion should be used for reflection on current events in the country, rather than spreading hateful messages.

“This independence anniversary should be a day for all to reflect on the sad and troubling events unfolding in our country; [it’s] not a day for revelry,” he said.

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