Home | News    Wednesday 29 April 2009

Sudanese president hints at souring relations with Egypt, hails Hezbollah

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April 28, 2009 (CAIRO) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir made surprising remarks downplaying the strength of his country’s relations with Egypt and said that Libyan weapons find their way to Darfur rebel groups.

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File photo showing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 (AP)

Egypt was the second country among half a dozen states to receive Bashir since the warrant for his arrest was issued on March 4th by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

In an interview with Egyptian independent newspaper Al-Shurooq published today Bashir was asked whether his attendance of Qatar hosted summit on Gaza despite Cairo’s boycott impacted relations.

“The relations with Egypt are neither cold nor warm but nonetheless they are positive. The understanding and mutual understanding is in place between the two countries and this is the most important thing” Bashir responded.

“Sudan was the first to call for a summit when the aggression against Gaza took place and I phoned [Syrian] president Bashar Al-Assad for that purpose. So when Qatar offered to host the summit we were in the front of those who accepted it” he added.

The summit held to discuss the Israeli assault on Gaza strip was boycotted by Arab heavyweight including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmood Abbas.

Egypt views Qatar as a country promoting and supporting militant groups including Hamas movement which controls the Gaza strip. Furthermore Cairo sees Qatar’s growing prominence as a challenge to its status as a regional power.

Qatar helped broker goodwill agreement between the Sudanese government and Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) last February pledging to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Darfur conflict.

The Sudanese president took another hit at Cairo when he suggested that the accusations against Lebanese group Hezbollah of planning attacks in Egypt are overblown.

“We trust Hezbollah and its leadership and we consider them a genuine resistance group deserving respect and honor” he said.

“We know that they [Hezbollah] have never carried out activities against Arab or non-Arab countries. We hope to contain the crisis as soon as possible so that attention is not diverted from Israel which is the main enemy” Bashir added.

Since the uncovering of the plot by Cairo, Egyptian state media and political figures launched an intense media campaign against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah going as far calling him a “monkey sheikh”.

The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last week issued a subtle warning to Hezbollah and its suspected allies Iran saying that he would not tolerate “the intervention of regional powers that are hostile to peace and that aim to drag the region into the abyss”.

It is not clear what prompted Bashir’s remarks at a time when Egypt was seen to be one of his main supporters in the row with the ICC. The Sudanese head of state was reportedly scheduled to visit Cairo last week.

Khartoum has rejected an Egyptian proposal for an international conference on Darfur saying this will internationalize the issues. Cairo has though to reassure their southern neighbors about their initiative but with little success.

In the interview Bashir disclosed that they arms used by Darfur rebels were found to be of Libyan origin.

“They [rebels] get their weapons from Chad because of tribal ties and Chad gets theirs from Libya. We spoke to the Libyans in this regard and their response was that they give weapons to Chadian government and not to the rebels” he said.

Sudan and Chad have long accused each other of supporting the opposition rebel groups to oust their regimes.

The Sudanese state reiterated his position on the aid agencies Khartoum expelled last month saying they have “strong” evidence of “conspiring” and working for Zionist circles.

SOUTH LIKELY TO VOTE FOR UNITY

On the issue of the South Bashir denied that moving elections date from July 2009 to February 2010 is related to fears of the upcoming referendum in 2011 in which the south will choose whether to remain part of united Sudan or secede.

“The delay was caused by the fact that the preparations for elections in constituencies were not completed. Also the census results did not satisfy the Government of South Sudan which insist that the percentage be 33% but the scanning administered by Southern states showed that they are only 21%” he said.

The results of the fifth census has not been formally announced but reports leaked said that the population of the South came out to be 8.2 million out of 39 million.

Furthermore, the number of displaced Southerners in North Sudan has been reported as 500,000. This figure was disputed by Southern officials.

The fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was conducted from 22nd to 30th April 2008. It was the first all inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since the country’s independence in January 1956.

The census will help decide how wealth and power are ought to be shared in Sudan.

“We are not worried about the referendum results which we accepted to resort to and so far there are 40% of Southerners want to stay as part of the united state. This percentage is increasing particularly in light of conflicts between Southern tribes some of which refuse to accept the SPLM. These conflicts did not stop in the last few years” Bashir said.

The Sudanese president referred to the violence that erupted in Jonglei state that led to the death of 170 people and displacement of thousands.

Some observers have pointed out that security challenges in the South may prevent conducting the national elections in February 2010 and the 2011 referendum subsequently.

The South insists that the referendum process be held as scheduled in 2011.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 29 April 2009 06:55, by MADIT MAJAK CHOL

    Hi Mr. Bashir,you are lair, i know you are worried because southern Sudanese people don’t like you, and the world don’t like you too, because your are criminal. you kill many people in southern Sudan, and western Darfur. I don’t know who will be supporting you when election come in 2011. only your Arab people will supporting you, but will not win because Sudan is not belong to Arab it is our land. you said that 40% southern need united Sudan, this 40% you said are the people you paid to do your dirty work in southern Sudan, but when the time come they will be know the true from wrong. also you said that you are not scared for anything, but you better to be scared Mr. Omer Bashir, because ICC are still waitting for your arrest. southern Sudan they want their referendum. it is southern Sudan time to have their own government. I don’t know about you guys, but I myself I don’t want to be united with Bashir government, but I want a separation from the northern. I am challeging all southern Sudanese people to vote for their right,and freedom.
    Madit

    repondre message

    • 1 May 2009 12:31, by Joseph Dut Gak

      Bashir should not!
      makes so harden u to associated with those groups lebelled the dangerous like Bezbollah, take care .

      Dut

      repondre message

  • 29 April 2009 08:18, by DAVID N.

    Please if I would ask President Bashier, "I wouldn’t like unity in Sudan as North ans South be united as one country again." South Sudan should separated completery from North Sudan. Their origin of ethnicity are far difference, culture and shouldn’t be put together with Northern Sudan.
    I wouldn’t vote, if Mr.Bashier will unity Sudan. Give Abyei, if they wanted, but never put with them the sneaks!

    repondre message

  • 29 April 2009 08:36, by Koja Rubi

    I don’t accept Bashir’s statement that 40% of the Southern Sudanese are pro unity of the Sudan and that some southerner do not like the SPLM. I think that is what Mr. Bashir wanted to hapen.
    What Southerns know is that Bashir’s party is funding/arming afew Southerns to against them selves to course insecurity in the South, so that the people of the South may see SPLM as incapable ruling party and that way people would opt for a better governement, which would then be NCP government. These are tricks which are no longer new to the Southern Sudanese.
    Wast your time and lastly the South will secede. There are other competent political parties in South which are ready prepared to challenge the SPLM after the South secedes but not NCP.
    I argue the other political parties of the South to unite and preach pro secession of the South to our people before it is too late. the SPLM is in a weaker position to talk of secession at the monent.

    God bless the Sovereign South Sudan to be!!!!!!!!
    Southern Sudanese Oyeee!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    repondre message

    • 29 April 2009 16:25, by Akol Kiir

      I don’t care if we have bad relations with Egypt. They never treated us fairly anyway, not even the Northern Sudanese. I disagree with President Bashir about 40% wanting to vote for unity. It’s more like 70%. The SPLA has failed us in the South. The North has so many projects built and every week a new road/bridge is being built. We have none of that in the South.

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  • 29 April 2009 16:38, by Kur

    It is clear that Bashir is fueling the tribal conflict in Jonglei. The Government of South Sudan must then take this statement seriouly. The plans to derail the vote in 2011 are now underway and our people must be prepared for this malicious policies of the NIF regime.

    kur

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    • 29 April 2009 21:56, by southern war veteran

      You Tribes of Salva, please stop fuking eyes of people with your dilute comments.

      repondre message

      • 30 April 2009 13:37, by Arochthon

        To war veteran

        you are a wrong war veteran, but just to second under some circumstances veteran of rapes and abduction of children and enough.
        I would like to pose some questions on to you, who is a southerner? is it Salva Kiir’s tribe or the whole marginalized region of south Sudan? female talk, I agree with Akol that Omar’s party is funding some individuals to let their national conflict party rather than national congress party win the forth coming elections. Please, I urge you even if you vote for unity or Omar’s party with that 1% of yours with its stained blood on it, it can not let south Sudanese lost elections unless you used other means although their intention is not for unity, rig it do whatever you like but our independent is is imminent. It is quite clear that not every citizens is a patriotic and your comment entailed who you are.If you are a south Sudanese then you are using the word war veteran at irrelevant phase.

        Arocthon

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