Text of report by Sudanese radio on September 26, 2003
The minister of defence, Staff Maj-Gen Bakri Hasan Salih, this morning met the leaders of the armed forces at the General Command Office, where he briefed them on the agreement reached between the government and the [Sudan] People’s [Liberation] Movement [SPLM] on security arrangements.
The minister said that the rounds of talks, which added up to about 14 formal and informal ones before the agreement was reached, dealt with need to specify the size of the forces to be deployed from both sides. He said this was in the context of affirming the national sovereignty in defending and securing the boundaries and regions of national resources and the vitality of strategic goals, roads and airports.
The rounds of talks that discussed the specification of the forces arrived at the resolution that there should exist joint forces which should consist of 24,000 soldiers, with 50 per cent coming from each side. The situation should remain so until the end of the transitional period in southern Sudan, on condition that the rest of the armed forces would withdraw to the north during the first two years of implementation of the agreement.
Regarding the Nuba Mountains and [southern] Blue Nile, it was agreed that there should exist joint forces the size of a brigade with 50 per cent of the soldiers being deployed from either side, with all soldiers from the Movement coming from the people of the region and that the rest of SPLM soldiers over and above the stipulated number withdraw from the region, with the rest of the armed forces soldiers currently in the region remaining in the region.
The agreement also stipulates the establishment of a joint defence force the size of a brigade in the capital with 50 per cent deployment from each side.
Regarding the east, it was agreed that SPLM soldiers withdraw from the region after the signing of the final agreement.
Concerning friendly and allied forces affiliated to either of the two sides, it was agreed that each side should take control of the forces affiliated to it and incorporate others wishing to join the armed forces and unified police force, [as well as recruit into] the rest of security organs and civil service, according to the specific regulations governing each institution.
Meanwhile, the armed forces agreed that friendly forces working with them were part and parcel of the armed forces, who will be taken care of, with the rights of each member being safeguarded because the role they played is appreciated countrywide.
For their part, the leaders of the armed forces affirmed their support to the agreement and their support to every step being made towards peace, security and stability, and that they would stand by the national interests and territorial integrity and unity.