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Former US Envoy Fears Disintergration Of Sudan

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) speaks with African leaders during talks in Addis Ababa, June 12, 2011

The former U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, blames "radical" religious elements within Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) for the political instability that has engulfed the country since South Sudan's declaration of independence in July. Natsios believes that President Omar Al Bashir’s approach to conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile could lead those states to seek independence, furthur dividing Sudan.

Natsios, who is currently a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, linked the current rebellions in Southern Kordofan, Darfur and Blue Nile states to the pre-colonial struggle where the Sultanates of Funji and Fur, in what is today Blue Nile state and Darfur, fought the British for legitimacy in 1821.

Natsios warned that any military approach by the NCP to address the conflict in Sudan will not bring peace in the areas currently engulfed in fighting. He said President Bashir’s party should call for an inclusive political conference to address issues of a new constitution and press freedom. He also called on Khartoum to resolve the crisis in Blue Nile by reinstating the SPLM Governor, Malik Agar, who was elected last year. Agar was removed from office by Sudan's President on Friday.

VOA’s John Tanza reached Andrew Natsios at his office in Washington, DC. You can hear the interview by clicking the link below, or at the top right of the page.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon