On the press conference of the SVP Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and on the SPLM reactions

Media Monitoring Report, 22 October 2007
(Various sources)

BBC Monitoring
The second vice-president of Sudan, Ali Othman Muhammad Taha, held a news conference at the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on Sunday 21 October to discuss the current political situation in the country. Taha discussed the south-north crisis and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the ruling National Congress and the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

The following is an excerpt from the news conference broadcast by stateowned Sudanese TV on 21 October.

Taha rejects "political blackmail" by ex-southern rebel movement
Vice-President of the Republic and Deputy Chairman of the National Congress [Party] Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, has stressed rejection of political blackmailing, calling on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to reconsider its stances and resort to the mechanisms and institutions stipulated by the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and be committed to the implementation of the agreement, in which much has been accomplished.

"The [ruling] National Congress Party [NCP], I say, is committed to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and is also committed to remain in partnership with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement [SPLM]. However, the NCP will not work under provocative political threats and will not work under immense political pressure.

"This [SPLM] negative position does not serve the interest of anyone. Our appeal to the SPLM is to return to the institutions and mechanism of the CPA so as to give these mechanisms a big impetus for the realization of what is contained in the CPA. We shall act according to the constitution and shall not violate it. We shall not violate the CPA and we shall be ready to listen to our brothers in the SPLM through the institutions and mechanisms established by the CPA for a positive cooperation and joint benefit. Thank you very much."

Commitment to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
Speaking in a news conference held at the Friendship Hall here Sunday [21 October], Taha reaffirmed the keenness on pressing ahead with the implementation of the CPA and commitment to the agreement and the constitution. He criticized the conduct of the SPLM of escalating the issue via the international community, saying that the Sudanese will is capable of resolving it.

Criticizing international community
Taha criticized the attitude of the international community and its failure to fulfil its pledges after the realization of peace, describing its contribution as disappointing. Taha reiterated pressing ahead with the implementation of the CPA and commitment to the constitutional and legislative responsibilities stipulated by the peace agreement whatever the hardships and obstacles after Sudan has entered a new era of peace after the signing of the CPA in January 2005.

"We must say here that if any of the parties, international or regional, is committed to the CPA more than the Sudanese people, then they should produce evidence of this commitment. The CPA and the Oslo agreement which we submitted to the donors conference in Oslo on the role of the international community to assist in the
implementation of the CPA by funding development projects to facilitate the return of the displaced people, refugees and offer, then the essential services, which without them the CPA would be meaningless. What was the stand of the international community?"

"We all know that the contribution of the international community was disappointing. And from here, we say whoever is committed to the CPA should produce evidence, and honor their pledges they promised before giving us advice or are keen to interfere in the affairs of the Sudanese people by planning their internal affairs."

No return to regional and international forums
"We do not need anybody to ring alarm bells for us on our responsibility to implement the peace agreement, or somebody who comes to us from across the borders. The mechanisms for implementing the peace agreement are those spelled out in the peace agreement. Any attempt to deviate with the peace agreement from the course drawn by the agreement would be the biggest blow directed to the peace agreement."

"There is no going back to the international or regional forums, and we still believe that the country is capable of uplifting this achievement at the will of the two partners and other powers in the country, whether the government or the opposition. We are satisfied that the CPA grants to whoever is a stockholder or an observer from the regional or international powers, mechanisms and institution through the Evaluation and Assessment Commission to say what they want."

Accusing ex-southern rebel movement of troop build-up
Vice-President Ali Othman Muhammad Taha urged the Sudan People's Liberation Movement [SPLM] to exercise self-restraint and not wave the war card again. About military escalation, Taha said, this is also one of the issues to which we draw the attention of public opinion.

"The SPLM reiterates and repeats that there is no return to war. This has been affirmed by Mr. Salva Kiir himself, and I trust what he says. But the facts on the ground show that the SPLM is moving its forces, amassing its forces, and staging military build-ups at more than one location, at the borders between Upper Nile and White Nile, and between Blue Nile and White Nile, and in the areas of Bahr al-Ghazal."

"We urge the SPLM to exercise self-restraint and stop waving the card of the return to war again, and to abide by what is stipulated in the peace agreement. In any event, these movements and build-ups have now been referred to the Political Committee for Monitoring the Cease-fire which is investigating them and
making representations about them. This is a committee which comprises UN observers, in addition to the two parties to the Agreement."

Hinting at US involvement in SPLM decision to recall ministers
(Sudan Tribune.com – 21 Oct. KHARTOUM)
Sudan Second Vice President pointed fingers at the US as being behind the decision of southern ex-rebels to suspend participation in the Government of National Unity.

Sudan’s news agency quoted Ali Osman Mohamed Taha during a press conference in Khartoum yesterday as saying that there are “elements from foreign lobby” that were present in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, during the meetings of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Last week an official from Sudan’s ruling party, National Congress Party (NCP), accused the former Special Envoy on Sudan for the State Department Roger Winter, who is believed to be in Juba of masterminding the escalation between the SPLM and NCP.

Timing of SPLM decision raises questions
(Akhbar Alyaum)
Vice President Taha said the timing of the SPLM decision of pulling out from the GoNU raises questions as it coincides with the eve of the peace talks on Darfur scheduled for end of this month.

Hindering work of most important mechanisms for implementing the CPA
(Akhbar Alyaum)
Speaking to journalists, Taha said "if you refer to the CPA you would find that the most important mechanisms for implementing the CPA are the Government of National Unity (GoNU) at the national level and the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) at South Sudan level. They include the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the GoSS."

The decision of the SPLM Politbureau, Taha believes, hinders the work of these important CPA mechanisms. "Thus, we consider it a violation for the CPA," he said. Contrary to what SPLM argues, the pull out from the GoNU will not help speeding up the process of implementing the CPA.

Criticizing SPLM Government of Southern Sudan
(Rai AlShaab)
Taha criticized the SPLM GoSS for its failure in delivering services and development projects in South Sudan. He also criticized the GoSS human rights record and argued that the SPLM cannot achieve democratic transformation even in South Sudan.

"I can't see any reason for the SPLM`s decision," Taha said, criticizing the former rebels for bemoaning the progress of Sudanese democracy because many of their activists are currently being held in Khartoum jails. According to Taha, the SPLM could not at the same time criticize the sluggish pace of reform and slow it
down by quitting government when electoral reform legislation is in the process of being adopted.

Presidency meeting of 14-16 September 2007
(Akhbar Al-Yom)
Taha told the journalists yesterday that the Presidency has held important meetings from 14 to 16 September in which it has discussed all pending issues (borders demarcation, elections, population census and Abyei). At these meetings, he explained, the Presidency agreed on a time table for resolving all these issues by January 2008.

Appealing to SPLM to rejoin GoNU
"We call on the SPLM to go back on its decision if it wants to save the CPA," said Taha, who along with late rebel leader John Garang is considered the main architect of the increasingly fragile peace deal.


(Akhbar Alyaum)
FVP, President of GoSS and SPLM Salva Kiir is expected to hold a press conference today at the evening in Juba to comment the statement which VP Taha has made at a press conference yesterday in Khartoum.

(AlRai AlAam)
SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum described the statement made by VP Taha at a press conference yesterday as “adding fuel to the fire”. He said it is strange that accusing SPLM of blackmailing came this time from Taha who we respect and consider as one of the wise leaders.

SPLM considering suspending participation of MPs in National and State Assemblies
(AlSahafa, AlRai AlAam)
As crisis between CPA partners continues the SPLM has yesterday boycotted the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers. It has also asked Ethiopia to intervene to solve the problem. According to press reports the SPLM will consider freezing its participation in the National Assembly, state assemblies and state
governments if the NCP does not change its position.

The SPLM said its participation in these institutions depends on outcome of studying the statement made by VP Taha yesterday

SPLM to continue freeze up to fulfillment of demands
(Khartoum Monitor)
Sudan People`s Libration Movement (SPLM) Chairman Salva Kiir said, SPLM ministers will not go back to their ministries unless the National Congress Party implements the remaining items of demands raised by the SPLM last week.

The remaining items include the implementation of Abyei protocol, withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces from South Sudan, the demarcation of boundaries between the South and the North which is closely related to the census and realization of democratic transformation.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Spokesperson Omer Mohamed Salih quoted the Minister of Federal Government Chambers Abdel Basit Sabdrat as saying that, the political committee of the Government of National Unity asked the SPLM to reverse its decision to freeze its partnership with the NCP in the Government; saying that negotiations is the only way to solve the differences between the two parties.


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