Former south Sudan rebels not yet ready to rejoin government

Oct 17, 2007 (AFP)

A former south Sudan rebel group acknowledged Tuesday President Omar al-Beshir's cabinet reshuffle but said it would not rejoin the government it quit last week until its other demands were met.

"The southern ministers are ready to take their new positions as soon as the differences with (Beshir's National Congress Party) are resolved," Bagan Amon, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement secretary general told AFP.

The SPLM recalled its ministers from the cabinet on Thursday over what it called Khartoum's failure to implement a 2005 peace deal between north and south Sudan that ended a decades-long civil war.

The group said it would be willing to rejoin the government if Beshir meets its demands -- of which the reshuffle was one. Other demands focus on getting Khartoum's troops out of the south and resolving the fate of the disputed oil district of Abiye.

It had also cited Beshir's refusal to reshuffle the southern ministers in the cabinet as pivotal in its decision to pull out.

The new ministers "will stay out of government until the application of the terms of the peace accord which have not yet been implemented," Amon said.

He said that the new posts announced by Beshir corresponded roughly to a list the SPLM handed the president though "some names were not chosen."

The most important change was the appointment of a new foreign minister. The post, currently held by Lam Akol, will go to another southerner, Deng Alor.

According to Amon, SPLM chief and first vice president Salva Kiir is due to hold talks with Beshir in Khartoum on Thursday to find ways to break the stalemate.


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