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Al-Bashir vows to achieve peace in South Kordofan

President Omer al-Bashir in Kadugli on 31 July 2017 (SUNA photo)
July 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Monday has pledged to continue efforts to achieve peace and development in South Kordofan state.

South Kordofan and the neighbouring Blue Nile state have been the scene of violent conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) and Sudanese army since 2011.

Al-Bashir, who addressed a public gathering at the opening of South Kordofan 2nd Festival of Tourism, Investment and Shopping in Kadougli Monday, said “war brings nothing but destruction”, pointing it hinders development and construction.

He said that South Kordofan’s peace is a top priority for his government, stressing they would continue to launch development and reconstruction projects.

For his part, the governor of South Kordofan Essa Adam Abakar said security has been achieved in his state, praising al-Bashir’s successive decisions to extend the ceasefire.

“Our forces have complied with the ceasefire and we say with all courage that the SPLM-N is also abiding by it,” he said.

Abakar revealed that his government is in direct contact with SPLM-N leadership, making a personal appeal to the Movement chairman Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu to return to the homeland.

Talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access under the auspices of the African Union are stalled since last August.

The SPLM-N demands to deliver 20% of the humanitarian assistance through a humanitarian corridor from Asosa, an Ethiopian border town.

But the government rejects the idea saying it is a breach of the state sovereignty and a manoeuvre from the rebels to bring arms and ammunition to their locked rebel-held areas in the Two Areas.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one in South Kordofan led by al-Hilu and the other in the Blue Nile state led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other issues.

(ST)