July 9, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir today inaugurated the first embassy for the North in Southern Sudan as the latter joined the international community as the world’s newest nation.
- Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir addresses the Independence Day celebrations in South Sudan’s capital Juba, July 9, 2011 (Reuters)
In an address at the South’s independence ceremony in Juba, Bashir called for coming up with creative political thinking to resolve the outstanding issues that are part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The Sudanese leader noted the importance of reaching arrangements that considers the joint border strip between the North and South. He also hailed the recent accord signed in Addis Ababa between his National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) saying it enforced security for citizens on either side.
Bashir also commended the work of the African Union (AU) panel headed by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki who is mediating between the North and South.
However, the Sudanese president affirmed his government’s rejection for the extension of the mandate of United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) despite pressure from Washington on Khartoum to allow its presence in several flashpoints including Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
“UNMIS mission is over and we thank them for what they have done,” he said.
South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar speaking at the event described Bashir as “brave man of peace”.
But Bashir also expressed regret over failure of the North’s strategy to make the South opt for unity as part of his vision for a united Africa. He stressed however, that he respects the choice made by Southern citizens at the referendum held last January which resulted in a near unanimous vote in favor of secession.
“In the name of all the people of Sudan I tell the people of Southern Sudan that we will be your support to bypass the bitterness of the past and our hope is that with your resources that you can move ahead and we are confident that you are aware of the challenges and able to overcome them” Bashir said.
He urged the US administration and international donors to fulfill their pledges by lifting sanctions and providing money for development projects for infrastructure.
The NCP in a separate statement said that July 9 will be a date remembered by the North and South as they establish new dreams for building their states on the basis of humanitarian links.
It further emphasised that the party has been committed to the full implementation of the peace accord based on its long-standing conviction that peace is the ultimate goal that deserves any price paid for it.