December 26, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) Monday has demanded the Arab Gulf States to not take any arbitrary measures against Sudanese opposition activists on behalf of the Sudanese government.
- In this undated photo released by the SPLM-N shows the three leaders of the rebel group - Malik Aggar SPLM-M chairman (C) Abdel Ziz El-Hilu (L) and Yasir Arman (R) in a meeting held at an undisclosed area in South Kordofan.
SPLM-N request comes following media reports that Saudi Arabia has arrested several Sudanese opposition activists who participated in the electronic media campaign to organize the recent civil disobedience actions in prelude to hand them over to the Sudanese government.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Monday, SPLM-N appealed to the Gulf State “and in particular Saudi Arabia to differentiate between the Sudanese people and the regime”, saying the latter would end but the Sudanese people will triumph.
The statement urged the Gulf State to not allow the Sudanese regime use their powers to punish its opponents, saying the only guarantor of the Gulf States’ investments in Sudan is the Sudanese people not the regime.
In 2005, the interior ministers of Saudi Arabia and Sudan signed a security pact in Khartoum which included clauses related to preventing any activities by residents or citizens on their territories that are hostile to the government of the other side.
Saudi Arabia is generally very sensitive to any foreign political activities on its territory.
In 2011, the Saudi government issued a decree banning any events of political nature without prior permission and warned of consequences to foreign nationals for violating this order which included deportation.
On July 23rd 2015, Saudi security arrested the Sudanese blogger Waleed al-Hussein who runs the Sudanese opposition website Al-Rakooba from his home in the city of al-Khobar in Saudi Arabia. He was released 8 months later and allowed to leave the country.
Sudan’s foreign relations have witnessed a remarkable shift since fall of 2015 particularly in its rapprochement with the Gulf States following years of chilly ties.
The east African nation participates with over 850 troops in the Saudi-led "Decisive Storm" against the Iranian-allied Houthi militants in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has the largest Arabic investments in Sudan that expected to reach $ 15 million by the end of 2016. Some 196 investors from Saudi Arabia are active in producing fodder, wheat and sorghum, which are exported to Saudi Arabia.
NEW INTERNATIONAL POLICY TOWARD SUDAN
Meanwhile, the SPLM-N said it has conducted extensive contacts with a number of European nations and the European Union during the past two weeks to inform them on the recent developments in Sudan.
According to the statement, SPLM-N informed the Europeans that a new political reality has recently emerged in the country which requires the international community to adopt a new policy toward Sudan.
It pointed out that the new policy must take into account a number of issues including the desire of the Sudanese for change, the need to deal with the humanitarian issues as a top priority away from any political agenda besides making pressure to release the political detainees.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune on 20 December, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasser Arman said that the objective conditions have been met to overthrow the ruling regime and to achieve democratic change in Sudan.
He called on the African and international community to reconsider its policies toward Sudan especially as “things have changed and we are sure that our people have acquired a new weapon”.
He was alluding to the new generation of youth activists who launched wide media campaigns to engage the Sudanese in two civil disobedience actions during the last month.
A WAR BUDGET
In another context, SPLM-N has described Sudan’s 2017 budget announced this week as “war and levies budget”.
It pointed that the residents under the 2017 budget would be killed by bullets in war zones or hunger in the rest of the country, stressing the government has allocated the country’s resources to war.
The statement further said the government call for peace negotiations is nothing but “throwing dust in the eyes”.
It is noteworthy that Sudan has appropriated more than 29 billion pounds (SDG) (about $1,8 billion) to defense and security which represents the largest single spending item in the 2017 budget.
The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.
Last August, after a week of negotiations over a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements, the African Union mediation suspended the discussions between the government and rebels in Sudan’s two areas and Darfur region.