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Sudan’s Bashir declares end of cessation of hostilities with rebel groups

Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir speaking at speaking at the military Merwoe Archery Festival on Thursday 22 Dec 2016 (Kuna photo)

December 22, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir has threatened to take decisive military action against holdout armed groups that reject his calls to join the national dialogue, pointing that the unilateral cessation of hostilities will terminate within a week.

Last October, the Sudanese president extended an unilateral cessation of hostilities for a two-month period, and renewed call to the armed and political opposition groups to join the internal national dialogue process.

"The cease-fire will end by the end of December, and "the one who refuses to come has only himself to blame and we will bring him alive," said al-Bashir in remarks he made Thursday at the Sudanese army Archery Festival in Merowe, Northern State.

He further renewed calls for the armed groups to join the dialogue process, adding "There is a place in the country for everyone, and it is the government that has initiated the dialogue (process) and those who refuse reconciliation will regret it"

On Wednesday, The African Union mediator for peace in Sudan Thabo Mbeki said he discussed with ¨al-Bashir the extension of the cessation of hostilities and resumption of the stalled negotiations to end the conflict in the Blue Nile aand South Kordofan states and Darfur region.

Peace talks with SPLM-N over a humanitarian truce are stalled over the access to the rebel held areas as the government refuses to allow relief delivery from Ethiopia directly. On Darfur, the major point of discord remains the rebel demand to open the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.

TOTAL SUPPORT TO AL-BASHIR

Speaking at the event, the Chief of Staff of Land Forces Gen. Alsir Hussein assured that they would not allow any body to affect the national security or to act against its president, and said they are ready to protect the country.

"Al-Bashir is a red line and we will not accept anything against him," he said.

We will not allow to those people who are playing tennis abroad and others to decide who rule us," he further said.

The army general turned addressing his speech to al-Bashir saying "Do not worry about Tennis people and the (rebel) movements we will crush them in no time," he stressed.

The military public support to al-Bashir comes as Sudanese activists continue to prepare for a third round of civilian disobedience against the government to protest the increase of fuel and electricity prices in the country.

They already launched two calls with a relative success on 27 November and 19 December, as the opposition groups announced their support for the nonpartisan protest movement.

(ST)