Sudanese President vows not to surrender contested areas to SPLA

Nov. 07, 2003 (dpa)

Sudanese President Omer Ahmed Al-Bashir Saturday pledged that his government would never surrender to the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army(SPLA) three areas at the centre of a territorial dispute.

Addressing a rally organized by the pro-government Popular Defence Forces (PDF) in the Sudanese town of Obeid in Kordufan, western Sudan, Al-Bashir said he would preserve the Sudanese border as it was when the country moved from British colonial rule in 1956.

The three marginalised areas of the Blue Nile, the Nuba Mountains and Abyei are directly administered from Northern Sudan, but the SPLA claims that it has a presence in the region.

Al-Bashir went on to tell the PDF, a special force established in 1991 to fight the SPLA alongside the regular army, that the government would strengthen the force in the belief that it could play a positive role in post-war Sudan.

"The Popular Defence Forces are the sole pillars and corner stone of the government of national salvation revolution," Al-Bashir said.