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Sudan says no dual-citizenship for southerners

July 17, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) has reaffirmed refusal to granting dual-citizenship to Southern Sudanese, in contrast with pledges by South Sudan to grant citizenship to northern Sudanese.

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NCP’s media secretary Ibrahim Gandur (FILE)

Citizenship is among a raft of issues being discussed between north and South Sudan in an effort to disengage the two countries after the south became independent on 9 July.

South Sudan president Salva Kiir announced on 10 July that his country is prepared to grant citizenship to northerners in the south, expressing hope that the northern government would do likewise.

However, northern officials maintained that southerners in the north would not be allowed to become citizens. Khartoum already terminated the employment of southern Sudanese in the government and the military.

This month the Sudanese cabinet approved changes to the immigration law which would automatically strip all Southerners of their citizenship though it is not clear how this would be practically implemented.

Explaining the government’s refusal to grant dual citizenship to southerners, NCP’s spokesman Ibrashim Gandur, cited the high percentage of south Sudanese’s vote in favor of secession as well as what he termed as the SPLM’s quest to monopolize the south’s resources while leaving its citizens to stay in the north.

According to Gandur, if southerners are given citizenship, seven million of them would remain in the north while the SPLM acquires the South’s resources with a population as few as 2m.

Many southerners fled to the north during the more than two-decade of north-south civil wars which raged mainly in the south and devastated the region. The war ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.

The NCP official further said that the issue of dual-citizenship would be sorted out as soon as borders between the two countries are established and the nature of bilateral relationship are known.