A leading member of Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) has rejected U.S. Senator John Kerry’s proposal saying his party will not accept any suggestions that the disputed, oil-rich Abyei should be part of the semi-autonomous south Sudan.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA the NCP will not commit to Senator Kerry’s proposals contending that they contravene the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
“We consider such proposal as trying to bypass what is mentioned in the CPA because we will not agree that Abyei should be part of the south because this will be against the CPA (and) because the CPA mentioned clearly that there should be a referendum for Abyei. And, this referendum for Abyei should be done by the people of Abyei.”
This came after Washington offered to drop Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism if Khartoum successfully carries out January’s referendum in south Sudan.
Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)
President Barack Obama reportedly made the offer through Senator Kerry during his recent visit to Sudan.
But, Obeid said Washington does not have the right to impose sanctions or give incentives to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government over the upcoming referendum.
“I don’t think the United States, even now or before, they don’t have the right to impose sanctions against our country and against our people because we did nothing against the United States. And, I don’t think the United States, John Kerry or any envoy has the right to represent one of the parties in the CPA.”
Under the plan, Sudan would be dropped from the list in July 2011 if the referendum takes place on time and the Sudanese government respects the results, including on such matters as oil-revenue sharing and questions of citizenship.
Separate sanctions on Sudan over the conflict in Darfur would remain in effect. South Sudan votes on 9th January on whether it will become independent. Separately, voters in Abyei region would decide whether to remain with the north or join the south.
But, preparations for the two votes are far behind schedule. Both sides are also squabbling over who is allowed to take part in the Abyei vote.
The referendums are part of a 2005 peace deal that ended a long civil war between the north and south.
Along with Sudan, other countries currently on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list include Cuba, Iran, and Syria. Countries on the list face trade and other financial sanctions and are not eligible for U.S. aid or weapon sales.