Sudan 1st VP defends signing of CPA, says rebellion days are over

September 19, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Taha spoke out for the first time against the growing number of critics who assert that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) gave too many concessions at the expense of the North.

In recent weeks many pro-government columnists have written fiercely against the US brokered peace accord in which Taha was the lead negotiator from the Khartoum government . The deal ended more than two decades of North-South war which was considered the longest conflict in Africa.

In accordance with the CPA, the people of South Sudan were promised a referendum in which they had the choice of voting for remaining united with the North or establishing their own state. The exercise which took place in January resulted in a near unanimous vote in favour of secession.

South Sudan officially became an independent country last July. The most visible aspect of the country’s breakup is losing 75% of the oil reserves which has already taken its toll on the North’s economy in the form of an acute shortage in hard currency.

Many observers say that the army in particular as well as hard line Islamists, are unhappy to see the South let go after the many sacrifices made during the civil war years.

Taha who arrived in South Kordofan’s capital city of Kadugli said that the room for peace allows for different views and interpretations but rejected arguments that too much were given to the South.

"We offered them [Southerners] incentives, which others viewed as concessions and compromising the rights of the nation at the expense of the public interest, but the diligence on which peace was built on was that he no concession supersedes the value of peace and enacting it” the 1st VP told South Kordofan’s legislative assembly.

"The shameful concession is one made to the enemy but compromises amongst the sons of the nation is tolerance of brotherhood" Taha said.

Sudan’s second top official also warned that the government will no longer tolerate any new rebellions and will only deal with it through military means.

"No to rebellion, treason, and going against legitimacy. No return afterwards except through consultation, uniting ranks, respecting other opinions, adherence to the rule of law and the provisions of the constitution," Taha said.

He said that anyone who attempts to achieve demands through bearing arms would be dealt with swiftly by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

Serious fighting has erupted between SAF and fighters from Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) on the North-South border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The two sides have traded blame over who started the fighting.

The territories are still home to tens of thousands of people from ethnic groups that sided with the south during the civil war that preceded South Sudan’s independence.

Efforts by the African Union to broker a peace deal and ceasefire have failed so far.

The fighting in Blue Nile prompted President Omer Hassan al-Bashir to declare a state of emergency there and sack the elected governor, Malik Agar, who is also the SPLM-N chairman.

The party, an offshoot of the ruling party in South Sudan, was shut down shortly afterwards and dozens of its members arrested.

On Monday, SPLM-N claimed to have repelled an attack by SAF in South Kordofan.

"Yesterday (Sunday), the SPLM was attacked by the Sudanese armed forces near Talodi. There was heavy fighting and the army was repulsed by the SPLM-North" Yasir Arman Secretary General of SPLM-N told Agence France Presse (AFP) by telephone from London.

"As a result, the government lost three outposts at their garrison in Talodi. Our forces are now besieging Talodi," Arman said.

SAF spokesman al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad denied there had been serious fighting in Talodi, saying only that troops retaliated after the SPLM-N tried to "disrupt the security" in the area.


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