Home | News    Monday 12 November 2007

South Sudan could secede unilaterally if Abyei unresolved-Turabi


November 11, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — South Sudan could unilaterally split from the north because of a dispute over the oil-rich region of Abyei in Africa’s largest country, leading Islamist opposition party leader Hassan al-Turabi said on Sunday.

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Hassan al-Turabi

The former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) withdrew from government a month ago in protest over slow implementation of a landmark 2005 peace deal which ended Africa’s longest civil war.

Observers say the biggest obstacle to reconciliation is the unresolved status of Abyei, which is on the north-south border.

"I realise now that this is a very critical issue — it could risk something very serious for the whole deal," Turabi told Reuters in an interview. "It might provoke the south to proceed directly towards a proclamation of secession."

He said he was not surprised by the SPLM withdrawal from government but said southerners were partly to blame by focusing too much on the south at the expense of national politics, where they are the junior partner in a coalition government.

Turabi, who was President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s ideologue before a split in 1999-2000, said if borders were decided, Abyei should become a buffer zone, with free trade and movement and its oil revenues shared to avoid a return to civil war.

Both Bashir’s northern National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM could not agree on Abyei in negotiations and charged an arbitration by independent experts to define the borders. The NCP rejected the commissions findings.

Turabi said Abyei’s borders had been extended further north to include some Arab tribes and other populations. But he said any return to war would be frowned on by allies of both sides.

"They should arrange for something more amicable even before any proclamation (of independence)," he warned.

On a separate conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, Turabi said Bashir still had not accepted a joint U.N.-African Union 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for the region the size of France and was finding new ways to hinder its deployment.

"The government now has a veto — actually it has stalled completely these international forces," Turabi said.

"Now he’s (Bashir) trying to use other ways to destroy the whole thing," he added, referring to the fact that Sudan has still not approved the list of troop contributing countries.

He was more hopeful on the political front, although he said the peace talks had to switch venue from Libya.

"If it’s a reasonable venue with reasonable attendance with observers not to just sit and watch but to try to mediate and reconcile ... it’s not that difficult," he said.


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  • 12 November 2007 03:12, by Deng

    Why can shortup man you are too old to talk to sudanese people,we hit you, you are not sudanese national you are from Niger, your parent came from there and you got this beautfull land and you did n’t return back because you donot have beautful land like what we have.

    SPLA is stronger then any other party that you are thinking about. you better stop talking otherwise we will kick you out from that area. No more majihindin, they where captured by the SPLA and they are now in the prison. you are so stupid..

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    • 12 November 2007 05:30, by MawienKuol

      We know you are an old political prostitute who could analyze Sudan politics better than any other devil. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease shout your mouth and leave the South a lone. Have you been satisfied by those imprison you? In fact you are happy with your husband your biased analysis explains that you have been satisfied. Believe or not you will by heart attack like those who went you contributed a lot in destroying this beautiful country ever.

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  • 12 November 2007 10:19, by Nak I kau

    You said, "It’s oil shared to avoid a return to the civil war" South Sudanese are not after the oil but the people of Abyei and the land that naturally belongs to South Sudan. A South Sudan unilateral declaration of statehood will just create something very ugly to describe and to escape from if confronted militarily. Remember that days of oppression, servitude and abjection of all South Sudanese to a severe poverty and neglect are over. This is the time to exercise the right for all marginalized Sudanese people.The history of Sudan’s instability doesn’t leave you(Hassen al- Turabi) out at all and I believe that the people of South Sudan and the history itself will judge you whether dead or alive. the issue of Abyei will take whatever we’ve got and will even demand much more that we can’t be able to provide.
    God bless South Sudan

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  • 12 November 2007 15:17, by Chance Baniko

    Turabi is probably right to predict that the south would eventually go given the tricky nature of the National Congress Party over the issue of Abyei.The Tactics employed by the ruling National Congress in dealing with the SPLM over Abyei,defeats simple logic;They have 50% of the oil revenue according to the comprehensive peace agreement.The SPLM has 42%,and the remaining percentages(8%)is given to the rest.Inspite of this,they still do not want to implement the agreement.What a greedy heart you have NCP!Mahatma Ghandi once said that there is enough resource on earth to meet every man’s need not greed.

    Even if Turabi’s prediction about the south touches my emotion,does he have the guts to speak for the south.Infact Turabi represents a philosophy that is morally unacceptable and socially suicidal.Turabi’s education has done more harm than good in a country he claims its patriotism.His philosophy has destroyed this country so much that he should be ashamed to talk about hot issues like Abyei.Old man YOU keep quiet.

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  • 13 November 2007 00:51, by Muhammad Elamin

    It’s unfortunate to read quite immature responses to a serious initiative on a very serious issue.

    Dr Al Turabi for one was requested by senior members of the SPLM to mediate in the issue of Naivasha and he suggested a national approach to the issue whereby asking other national leaders of the country to participate with their efforts. In fact a daily newspaper in Khartoum today has hinted that veteren politicians such as the journalist Mahgoub M Salih of Al Ayaam newspaper, Dr Abdul Nabi of the Umma party, Ibrahim El Sheikh of the Sudanese Congress party and Osman Abdalla of the Intifada government were all favourable of this initiative.

    Besides if the whole grudge is an issue of ageism it doesnt bode too good towards other elders and the nation’s self respect !

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