Home | News    Wednesday 31 August 2005

Sudanese first Vice President makes first foreign trip post-Garang


Aug 31, 2005 (Cairo) — Sudan’s new First Vice President Salva Kiir is to arrive in Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in his first visit abroad since succeeding the late John Garang, officials said.

Kiir, who took office and became head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) after Garang’s death in a helicopter crash, is seen as lacking the international contacts built up by his charismatic predecessor.

Egypt, which shares a massive desert border with Sudan, is a key regional player and is also the base of many leaders of the umbrella Sudanese opposition grouping the Northern Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Kiir was also to hold talks with Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa during which the pair will discuss "recent development in Sudan and particularly in the south and in Darfur," an Egyptian official said.

Kiir’s visit comes on the heels of the first session of Sudan’s post-war parliament on Wednesday, as the country moves towards implementing a peace agreement that ended 21 years of north-south conflict.

While a January peace deal ended in war in the south, conflict is still raging in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where left 300,000 people have been killed and 2.4 displaced.

However Garang’s death has raised doubts over the sustainability of even the north-south peace deal, which envisages a six-year period of transition leading up to a referendum on southern secession

Unlike Garang, who travelled around the world to espouse the cause of the south, Kiir has up until now spent most of his life in Sudan and lacks his predecessor’s rhetorical ability.


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