Sudan party slams ex-rebels' pull-out from govt

Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) of President Omar al-Bashir on Friday criticised the decision by former southern rebels to withdraw from the Khartoum government, accusing them of selling out to foreign interests.

“The heart of the problem is that a group within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] wants to end our partnership,” the northern NCP’s number two, Nafie Ali Nafie, told an overnight news conference.

“This group thinks that in allying itself with foreign parties [the United States] it can destroy our political project.”

Former rebels from the SPLM announced it was pulling out of the government on Thursday because of what it called Khartoum’s failure to honour a 2005 peace accord, which ended a more than two-decade civil war.

The SPLM said key problems were the failure to withdraw northern troops from the south, the fate of the disputed oil-rich region of Abiye and “the evolution of democracy in Sudan”, adding that the group would return to government once the differences were resolved.

Nafie acknowledged an “impasse” over Abiye but said 87,4% of northern troops had pulled back from the south while southern forces had only withdrawn 6,7% of their men from the north.

Another Congress leader said that in the main the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the two sides in 2005 was making good progress.

Sayed al-Khatib said: “The main merit of the CPA is that it allowed for war to stop. There has not been a single gunshot since 2005.”

The south-north war had lasted 21 years and caused at least 1,5-million casualties.

The withdrawal has hit preparations for talks due in Libya later this month on the troubled western region of Darfur amid reports that Khartoum forces and their allied Janjaweed militias have intensified attacks on the rebels, including the SPLM—the only faction to have signed a peace deal.

The October 27 talks in the Libyan resort of Syrte is the latest international effort to end a four-year-old war which the United Nations estimates has killed at least 200 000 people.—AFP

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