June 16, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The newly appointed foreign minister in Sudan Ali Karti started his job on a critical note pointing blame at Egypt and other African nations for their policies towards his country.
Karti was sworn in along with his peers today as part of the new government announced this week which follows April’s multi-party elections, which were the first since 1986.
The conservative Islamist who was the former coordinator for the popular defense forces during the 90’s called for dealing with referendum as a "reality".
"We are well past time where we can talk about a miracle during the [remaining] period to talk about searching for miracles to make unity attractive" Karti said at a forum on South Sudan self determination.
"The pressure and media [that is] charged for unity is raising expectations high for the people at a time when no satisfactory [was done in unity]" he added.
The top Sudanese diplomat called on the media to address the parties that has clout over the referendum calling for a realistic perception of the process for a better assessment on the odds of unity versus separation between North and South.
The Sudanese government signed a peace agreement with the ex-rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005 that ended a devastating civil war that killed two million people and lasted more than two decades.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) also gave South Sudan a measure of autonomy until the future of the country is determined in a referendum due to take place in January 2011.
Most observers predict an overwhelming vote for independence by Southerners.
Karti directed unexpected criticism at the Egyptian government describing their engagement in the issues in Sudan as "weak".
"The Egyptian role in the issues of the country is weak", adding that the Egyptian elite’s knowledge of the situation and complexities in Sudan is shallow.
"Sudan is the strategic backyard of Egypt" Karti said.
Relations between Egypt and Sudan witnessed a silent crisis over hosting the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim last month.
The Sudanese foreign minister also accused some unspecified African nations of promoting secession "for their own greed" before naming Uganda as one of them.
Many countries in the region are wary from the possibility of a new state in Africa fearing it could encourage secessionist sentiments in other parts of Africa.
Last month, the African Union (AU) chief Jean Ping publicly spoke about the fears shared by many African states.
"From the outset we’ve argued in favor one of the options, making (Sudan’s) unity attractive," Ping told journalists during events marking Africa.
"That’s a major problem for all African countries which could be confronted by similar situations, that’s what concerns us," said the AU Commission chief.
"Such a decision could lead us again to a number of major difficulties, including war."
However, Ping said that if the referendum does go forward "we have no other choice than to respect the decision of the Sudanese."