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Former Sudan Rebels Question Power-Sharing Arrangement

An official in southern Sudan says the former southern rebel group is unhappy with certain aspects of Sudan's new power-sharing government.

The undersecretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications in the southern Sudanese administration, Mustafa Diong, tells VOA he thinks the ruling National Congress Party, based in Khartoum, has too much control over the economic sector. But, he adds, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement is generally satisfied with the new power-sharing government.

Earlier this year, the former rebel group and Sudanese government signed a peace agreement to end more than two decades of war.

Contained within the agreement were arrangements for the two sides to share power in a new interim government, which was announced Tuesday. The agreement also provides for a semi-autonomous administration in the south.

Mr. Diong says that the former rebel group is unhappy that the ruling National Congress Party is heading up both the finance and energy and mining industries.

"For the economical sector, we feel that we have not been given what we wanted, because either we take the ministry of finance or energy," he said.

Mr. Diong says the former rebel group agreed to allow the ruling party to head these ministries "for the sake of peace and stability."

An advisor in the information and communications ministry in Khartoum, Rabbie Abdel Atti, says he has heard that the former rebel group may be able to head the energy ministry after two years.

He says he is confident that arrangements made under the peace agreement will continue.

"I think that, according to the peace agreement and the distribution of wealth and power, I am certain now about the distribution of power," said Rabbie Abdel Atti.

Who controls the energy ministry is a point of contention, as much of the fighting during the civil war was a struggle over the oil-rich fields in the south.

Crude oil production in Sudan averaged 343,000 barrels per day in 2004.