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Sudan President Bashir Hold Talks with Former Rebels

The Vice President of Southern Sudan, Riek Machar says his meeting with President Omar al-Bashir was cordial and full of promise. This comes after former rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement's (SPLM) pulled out of the unity government Sunday after complaining that President Bashir’s government has refused to abide by a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) it signed with the ex-rebels that led to the end of a 20-year war and formation of the unity government. Machar said their pull out of the unity government was a strategic signal to President Bashir’s government about their unhappiness with its refusal to abide by the agreement.

He adds that first Vice President Salva Kiir is expected to arrive in Khartoum within the next 24 hours to hold talks with President Bashir to resolve the impasse. From the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba, Riek Machar tells reporter Peter Clottey that he believes President Bashir has the political will to resolve the impasse.

“It was a fruitful meeting. You would recall that on Sunday, I presented the interim political resolutions of the SPLM to the president through his minister for presidential affairs. Today we met and his request was that it would be good if the first vice president of the republic, Lieutenant General Salva Kiir Mayardit would come to Khartoum, and then they would resolve the issues. And according to him he felt that they could quietly work on these things,” Machar noted.

He said enumerated some of the issues his delegations presented to President Bashir.

“Well, basically it is our resolutions of the rule, which we broke down into four categories; the first category is six issues containing the non-implementation of the CPA. And in these are included the redeployment of Sudan armed forces from the two states in Southern Sudan, Unity state and Upper Nile state. Also, we discussed the issue of census, which is coming, the issue of borders, then the oil sector. These are within one category of non-implementation of the CPA. The second category was on violations pertaining to human rights, bill of rights, and arbitrary arrests of political leaders, including some of the political cadres of the SPLM. The third category was basically of the lack of inaction of affecting to reshuffle, which was requested by the first Vice President of the republic Lieutenant General Salva Kiir Mayardit,” he pointed out.

Machar said he believes President Bashir could resolve the impasse without much consultation with the first vice president.

“I personally feel that the president of the republic could act on most of these issues even without reference to first Lieutenant General Salva Kiir Mayardit who is the first vice president,” Machar said.

He denied their pull out of the unity government could have plunged the country into a full-scale war.

“We are committed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The action we did was a wakeup call. We decided that we would recall the ministers of the SPLM from the government of national unity, and that is the federal government excluding the state, so this by any means cannot bring about war, because I believe the two parties are committed to the CPA. But we must make sure that the CPA is implemented fully and correctly so that we could be engaged in national reconciliation and healing and prepare the whole country for the coming general elections,” he said.