March 14, 2007 (Xinhua)
Southern Sudan will not secede but remain united after the end of the five-year interim period of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), which ended the long-running war between the North and the South, a senior official disclosed Wednesday.
Addressing international investors in Nairobi, Sudan’s Energy and Mining Minister Angelina Teny said the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/A) has agreed to pursue unity of the country at the end of the five-year interim period of implementing the peace deal.
"As SPLM/A, we have resolved that working for a united Sudan is the only way to stability," Teny told investors attending the second annual international investment conference for southern Sudan in Nairobi.
"The voices thinking of an independent Southern Sudan will have to wait or if some things change drastically," she said.
The minister said the former rebel group, now the Southern Sudanese ruling party’s top organs, met recently and agreed to pursue the unity pact, noting that the country stood to benefit more as a united state rather than a separated entity.
Teny, a top-ranking official in Sudan’s Government of National Unity, was in Nairobi to address international oil experts and investors meeting here to discuss the investment potential in Southern Sudan.
The investors had earlier expressed concern that the country faced an oblique future as a result of the constitutional provisions allowing the Southern Sudanese to slip after six years. The decision, according to peace pact, was to be made at a national referendum.
"There are people in the SPLM/A who felt like giving up at some point on the unity due to the slowness of implementing the CPA. But we have agreed that we will still need to work on stabilizing both the north and the South," Teny told the foreign investors.
She said the decision was reached by the SPLA/M’s National Council, which met in the Southern town of Yie recently, to discuss the country’s political future.
"The core issue on the CPA is that it offers separation and unity..the issues which were causing the war were the geographical integrity and the issue of resources which were the causes of the 22-year war," she said.
The Sudanese belligerents signed the comprehensive peace accord on Jan. 9, 2005 in Nairobi, ending what was one of Africa’s longest running civil wars.
The deal was signed after decades of negotiations and resulted in a power sharing deal under which the South controls 30 percent of power while the North takes up the remaining 70 percent.
The area ravaged by war since Sudan’s independence in 1956 is said to be rich in natural gas, oil, gold, and other precious metals.
Investment opportunities increased after Khartoum and the SPLM/ A signed the CPA in Nairobi.
Under the landmark peace agreement, the SPLM/A was allowed to form a semi-autonomous government in the southern areas, which it controls.
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