Home | News    Monday 8 March 2010

Taha, Kiir to represent NCP & SPLM in Kenya’s IGAD summit

March 7, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The First Vice president of Sudan Salva Kiir and 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha will fly to Nairobi next week to take part in the extraordinary summit of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi that starts on Tuesday, state media reported today.

The conference held primarily with the purpose of bridging differences between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

IGAD is a seven-country regional development organization of East African nations, with headquarters in Djibouti. Kenya has been the venue of the final negotiations between Khartoum and the Southern rebels held under the auspices of IGAD.

President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir was invited to represent NCP but Khartoum said he is occupied with preparations for the elections. However, Bashir who returned from a one day visit to neighboring Eritrea on Friday likely stayed away to avoid the risk of apprehension in Kenya as he is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for charges of masterminding crimes committed in Darfur.

Sudan has sought to delay the summit till after the elections but the Sudanese foreign minister Deng Alor who is also an SPLM official said that NCP boycott of the conference will cause it to fail adding that it “takes two to dance tango”.

Kenya is a signatory to the Rome Statute with an obligation to arrest Bashir should he set foot on its territory. The Sudanese head of state has avoided visiting any country which is a member of the Hague based court.

Furthermore, unlike the SPLM, the NCP has been reluctant to have IGAD involved in the dispute with the SPLM. Last December, the political Secretary General of Sudan’s ruling NCP Ibrahim Gandour rejected SPLM’s call for IGAD intervention saying that the CPA has its own mechanisms for arbitration when there is a dispute.

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that the summit will be preceded by meetings of the IGAD ministerial council.

Alor, and the State Minister at the Presidency, Idris Abdul-Gadir, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mutrif Sideeg, will take part at the meetings of the IGAD ministerial council.

The spokesman of the foreign affairs ministry of, Muawiya Osman Khalid, said that the summit “represents a new boost of the IGAD to the implementation of the CPA, provides an opportunity to be informed about the various implemented aspects of the CPA and gives encouragement to the Sudanese parties to implementing the remaining few aspects of the peace agreement”.

In 2011 South Sudan will decide in a referendum whether or not they want to form their own state. However, countries in the region are wary of that happening for concern over potential instability.

(ST)