Sudan Scott Gration
January 3, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Minni Minnawi has formally pulled out of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) he signed more than four years ago with the Sudanese government and called on rebel’s unity to overthrow the government of President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
Minni Minnawi (AFP)
Minnawi who was the sole rebel to sign the DPA on 5 May 2006 was appointed as Senior Presidential Assistant and head of Darfur Transitional Authority until July 2010 after the general election. Since, he moved to Juba while the Sudanese army declared war on his fighters in Darfur.
The Sudan Armed Forces said Minnawi’s troops are “legitimate target” and clashed with them several times since last year. The government also accused Juba of supporting the rebel leader as Washington pressed Juba to distance its self from the Darfur groups.
“We are free from Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006,” said a statement released on Wednesday by the leader of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) Minni Minnawi. “The Movement does not recognize the existing government because it lost legitimacy and we will work by all means to overthrow it,” it added.
Khartoum encouraged recently a splinter group led by, one of his close former aides Mustafa Tairab who declared his commitment to Abuja peace agreement.
The government withdrew its delegation from Doha, the venue of the peace negotiations with other rebel groups and announced a “new strategy” to achieve peace in Darfur through dialogue involving the different social forces and elected institutions but not the rebels.
Minnawi called on all the rebel groups in Darfur and the “Sudanese wide margin” to work together to overthrow the government. He also said his group prepared a strategy to solve the crisis of governance in Sudan and it will inform all the political forces about it.
He further called on the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to protect civilians in the restive region of Darfur from violence by the government troops.
The rebel leader appealed to the International Criminal Court to monitor closely the situation in Darfur particularly after the government’s new plans to close the IDPs camps and to intensify attacks on rebels’ positions in the region.
US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration attempted in the past to convince Khartoum to accept Minnawi’s inclusion in the Doha forum for peace in Darfur but Khartoum at the time objected and pointed out that his group is represented in the government delegation.
Gration meant to offer an opportunity to Minnawi and Khartoum to tackle their differences over the implementation of Abuja peace agreement within the framework of the peace process but the government thought his arrival would complicate the already difficult talks there.
Minnawi’s fighters on the ground are now taking part in the fighting between the government and the other rebel groups form the Justice and Equality Movement and the SLM of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur.
By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
January 18, 2011 (BENTIU) – A breakout of measles in Unity state has affected 95 people, killing four of them according to health officials. The four killed where from Mayom county, which had further cases 79 affected. Four cases each have been reported in Leer, Mayiandit and Rubkotna counties.
The director general of the state ministry of health, Dr Manong Thot Teny said that the spread of the disease had been caused by returnee children from north Sudan who had not been vaccinated before they arrived in the state.
Teny said that they had invited the government of South Sudan earlier to witness the health situation of returnees.
Officials say they are carrying out an awareness and vaccination campaign to address the issue.
In late last two months of 2010 over 55,000 people returned to south Sudan ahead of the region’s recently completed independence referendum.
Teny said that the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS)need to consider the health status of returnees.
“We in Unity State, have invited their partnership especially the World Health Organization, UNICEF and others international organizations to extended their assistant in the entire ten states of South Sudan particularly Unity State”.
Unity state has seen a high number of returnees and more are expected, with results from the referendum vote expected in early February.
Earlier this month the US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration promised to build School, health services facilities by making partnerships with both state and regional government in order to bring infrastructure to the underdeveloped region.
January 16, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – The U.S. president Barack Obama on Sunday lauded the conclusion of the referendum process for Southern Sudan describing it as an “inspiration to the world”.
U.S. President Barack Obama (AFP)
“The sight of so many Sudanese casting their votes in a peaceful and orderly fashion was an inspiration to the world and a tribute to the determination of the people and leaders of south Sudan to forge a better future,” Obama said.
“The past week has given the world renewed faith in the prospect of a peaceful, prosperous future for all of the Sudanese people — a future that the American people long to see in Sudan,” he added.
The independence vote caps the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of civil war between the mostly Muslim north and the south, where most follow Christianity and traditional beliefs.
The results while far from complete appear to suggest an overwhelming vote in favor of secession rather than unity which comes to nobody’s surprise inside Sudan and across the globe.
“The referendum now moves into another phase, and while official results will not be available for some time, independent observers have been extremely encouraged by the credibility of the process to date,” Obama said.
“We urge all parties to continue to urge calm and show restraint as the parties work to complete implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” he added.
Separately the U.S. special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration met with foreign minister Ali Karti in Khartoum to discuss with him the future of bilateral relations following the referendum conclusion.
Washington promised removal of Sudan from list of terrorism sponsoring countries by July if it recognizes the outcome of the vote.
Karti told reporters afterwards that there are encouraging positive signs from U.S. officials particularly their commending of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir’s speech in Juba earlier this month.
He said that he discussed with Gration issues relating to debt relief, bilateral ties, upgrading diplomatic representation and unilateral sanctions.
The top Sudanese diplomat said he hoped for more dialogue on normalizing ties and follow-up with agreed timetable to fulfill U.S. promises to Sudan revealing a meeting in mid-February to continue relevant discussion.
However, he warned that putting any new conditions on normalizing ties to include Darfur conflict resolution “would not be suitable”.