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S. Kordofan MP’s call on SPLM-N fighters to abandon war

August 4, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The parliamentary bloc of South Kordofan state in Sudan’s National Assembly has appealed to the citizens of the state within the opposition Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to renounce violence and join efforts to develop the state.

JPEG - 50.9 kbSPLM-N fighters hold up their rifles near Jebel Kwo village in the rebel-held territory of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, May 2, 2012. (photo Goran Tomasevic Reuters)

The head of the bloc, Afaf Tawer, said in press statements yesterday that the bloc is currently developing an integrated vision for lifting the state from its current crisis, pointing out that they are closely working with ministries of defense and finance as well as other competent authorities.

She said that the major challenges facing South Kordofan state are security, repairing social fabric and engaging in dialogue with the citizens of the state who are part of the SPLM-N.

Taur further called upon all citizens of the South Kordofan to join efforts to develop the state similar to its peers.

Since June 2011 the SPLM-N have fought the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and their aligned militia the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) in South Kordofan state.

Last April, the first round of talks since 2011 between SPLM-N and the Sudanese government in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has adjourned without success in bridging the wide gap between the two sides.

Violence has mounted in South Kordofan state since last April when the SPLM-N and its allies in the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) captured Abu-Kershola before they were pushed back by SAF later.

In a separate issue, the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) women secretary has submitted a list of its nominees for the upcoming cabinet shuffle including a key ministry and state ministries.

The NCP’s women secretary, Ansar Abu Nagma, said in press statements yesterday that the NCP’s affirmative action policy gave women %25 of the seats in the parliament, adding that they were consulted on the upcoming cabinet shuffle.

She stressed that their nominations included a key ministry and state ministries and complained about the downsizing of the new cabinet, saying that it reduces the number of women in ministries.


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Sudan’s Bashir holds surprise meeting with Gosh, visits Turabi

August 1, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir met with two of his foes this week in separate occasions amid growing speculations about a new political initiative he is planning to launch.

JPEG - 36.6 kbSudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (C), Secretary General of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi (L), former director of National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh (R).

Sources told Sudan Tribune that Bashir invited the former director of National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh to an Iftar dinner at his residence on Wednesday where they discussed sensitive issues related to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the country.

The sources did not say whether the dinner was limited to Gosh and Bashir or it included other figures.

Gosh was freed last month after being detained last year in connection with a mysterious coup attempt along with other army and security officers.

The Sudanese president has excluded Gosh from several pardons he granted to other alleged conspirators who were convicted and received jail sentences. At the time sources said that the government was worried Gosh would use information he was privy to during his term as spy chief in order to undermine the government and the NCP.

Prosecutors struggled with compiling evidence against Gosh and his detention was extended several times by a judge to allow them to come up with charges against him. He was eventually accused of undermining the constitutional order, inciting violence to topple the legitimate government and breaching the anti-terrorism law. The counts carry the death penalty.

Before facing trial, the Sudanese attorney general abruptly dropped charges against Gosh and signaled that this was done in consultation with the presidency.

Gosh is better known for engineering deep cooperation with the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on counter-terrorism following September 2001 attacks in Washington and New York.

He was abruptly sacked as NISS director and demoted to presidential adviser for security affairs that was largely a ceremonial role.

In 2011, Bashir fired him again in the wake of disagreements he had with powerful presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie over dialogue with opposition parties. He was later stripped of his positions within the NCP and only maintained his seat in the Sudanese parliament as representative of a constituency in north Sudan.

Following his release, Gosh blasted unspecified NCP officials around Bashir saying they exploited their proximity to the president in order to badmouth him and fabricate stories. It was widely believed that the former NISS chief is in extremely bad terms with Nafie who asserted several times that Gosh will be prosecuted for his role in the coup attempt.

Gosh warned that he is willing to leave the NCP that should he be booted from the party then “all options will be open” for him.

The Sudanese president also visited the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi to pay condolences for him on the death of his brother. The 1st VP Ali Osman Taha did the same separately and left prior to Bashir’s arrival.

A PCP official reached by Sudan Tribune said that that Turabi and Bashir conversation was likely confined to the social aspect.

Turabi was once the godfather of the Sudanese Islamist regime but following a political fallout with Bashir and his deputy Taha in 1999, he formed his own party and become a fierce opponent of the regime.

The Islamist figure was placed under house arrest few times and was also detained over the years but was never charged.

The Sudanese government has long accused Al-Turabi of having strong ties with the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Turabi and Bashir have met in social events before but only exchanged niceties and handshakes.

It remains to be seen whether the encounters with Gosh and Turabi will yield any political ramifications.

VP Taha said last month that Bashir is working on a initiative to radically solve Sudan’s problems but offered no details.

The Sudanese leader has reportedly sat down several times recently with his former adviser Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani who is considered to be a strong proponent of reform within the NCP and the state.

This year, Al-Attabani was expelled from his role as head of NCP majority in parliament which observers believed it was in response to remarks by him stating that Bashir is constitutionally barred from running for a new term again in 2015.

Last March, Bashir reiterated his past intentions to step down at the end of his term in 2015 saying that Sudan is in need of “fresh blood” and that he spent enough time in power.

But in June he appeared to walk back his pledge by saying that NCP will have the final say on the matter.


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Sudan’s DUP says Mirghani to meet with president Bashir to discuss cabinet shuffle

July 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani, has disclosed that its leader will meet with Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir soon to discuss the current political situation as well as determining the DUP’s share in the upcoming cabinet.

JPEG - 26.1 kbFILE PHOTO – President Al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with DUP leader Mohammed Osman Al-Mirghani

The DUP’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Mirghani, said in press statements on Tuesday that the joint committee between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the DUP is following up on the 2011 partnership agreement between the two parties.

He said that the DUP has embarked on new discussions with the NCP on its share in the new cabinet.

The party official pointed that a meeting between Bashir and Al-Mirghani will be held soon, following the latter’s meeting with the First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, which tackled the current political situation.

Al-Mirghani further reiterated his party’s commitment to continue being part of the NCP-dominated government stressing that their decision to join was in response to a national necessity. He called on the government to open the door for all Sudanese forces to participate in drafting the permanent constitution.

Al-Mirghani’s DUP joined the government in December 2011, despite reports of internal dissent and against the wishes of Sudan’s other main opposition parties who have formed an alliance to try and end Bashir’s 22-year rule.

The decision drew anger among the party’s and even some of al-Mirghani’s aides.

Hatim Al-Sir, the party’s candidate for the presidential elections in April 2010, considered the withdrawal from the government as “national duty and party responsibility”.

Many observers say that the DUP’s role in the government is marginal as the NCP exercises hegemony over decision making.


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