Southern Sudan’s envoy to the United States has expressed shock after an advisor of President Omar Hassan Bashir reportedly said the semi-autonomous south’s possible independence could lead to “war.”
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said the advisor’s pronouncement shows Khartoum’s “sole” interest in natural resources rather than the country’s unity.
Presidential advisor Ghazi Salaheddin, who is also a leading member of the National Congress Party, was quoted by Sudan’s media as saying that the south’s independence vote next year will lead to a new war unless key concerns about a north-south border, nationality, and external debts are resolved.
Salaheddin called for issues surrounding the demarcation of Sudan’s border to be addressed.
But the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) rejected Salaheddin’s statement and accused him of wanting to re-write the peace deal.
Envoy Gatkuoth says the SPLM is cooperating with the body mandated to address issues concerning the border.
“We have a committee working on the demarcation of the border. So the border will be demarcated before 2011. Yes, the issue of the 2011 arrangement, which he was referring to in article 67, we have agreed that we are going to discuss them. It is in the interest of the people of Sudan if the two entities are disengaging peacefully,” Gatkuoth said.
Meanwhile, while addressing heads of civil services, Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha was quoted as saying the country will encounter many political, economic and security challenges if southerners chose separation.
According to Sudan’s Al-Ayyam newspaper, Taha urged civil servants to leave their offices and head to the south to engage in dialogue to secure the country’s unity.