Southerners suspend work in Khartoum government

The main party in southern Sudan has suspended its participation in the national government until its northern partners reignite a stalled peace process, the secretary general of the party said on Thursday.

Pagan Amum of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) told a news conference: “The SPLM has recalled all ministers and presidential advisers from the government of national unity.”

“Presidential advisers, ministers and state ministers will not report to work until these contentious issues are resolved,” he added. He said the northerners had failed to carry out many provisions of a 2005 peace agreement.

The agreement laid down wealth and power-sharing arrangements between the national government and the semi-autonomous government in the south.

The decision by the SPLM, the political wing of the southern rebel movement which fought the Khartoum government for more than 20 years, is the culmination of months of disagreement between the two main partners in the national government.

Analysts say it will force the National Congress Party (NCP), the northern party dominating the government, to take action on the deadlocked issues.

The SPLM has just over a quarter of government posts, including the foreign and humanitarian affairs ministries, the two key liaison posts with the international community.

One of the main northern opposition parties, the Umma Party, said the SPLM move would force the hand of the NCP.

“This is the ultimate thing that could have been done, it’s very serious, it’s very positive, and the NCP has to respond in a responsible way,” spokesperson Mariam al-Mahdi said.—Reuters

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