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Sudan’s NCP rejects talks with Blue Nile’s rebels

September 7, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) has vowed to squash the rebellion in the country’s southern state of Blue Nile, saying it is a prerequisite to any dialogue with the armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

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NCP’s Vice-President Nafei Ali Nafei (FILE)

Sudan’s Blue Nile state last week plunged into an episode of violence that has recently engulfed the country’s border areas with the newly established Republic of South Sudan, including South Kordofan state which descended into violence in early June.

The country’s army known as the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) clashed with SPLM-N forces led by the state’s governor Malik Agar who was elected to his position in 2010.

Sudan’s president Omer al-Bashir declared a state of emergency in the state and sacked Agar, appointing an interim military ruler in his place.

The presidential assistant and NCP’s vice-president, Nafei Ali Nafei, on Wednesday said that negotiating a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Blue Nile is contingent on the SPLM-N’s renunciation of its arms.

Speaking upon his return from a visit to Somalia, Nafei asserted that the events in Blue Nile represent a rebellion against the state and that SAF was doing its job in quelling forces "destabilising" the country.

He further reaffirmed the NCP’s rejection to any foreign mediation for talks with the SPLM-N.

Efforts by the African Union and Ethiopia to broker a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Blue Nile and South Kordofan failed as the NCP rejected the SPLM-N’s demands for a third-party talks and recognising the movement as a legal political party in the country before disarming its fighters.

Sudan accuses South Sudan’s ruling SPLM of supporting the SPLM-N but the SPLM-N say they are no longer part of the South’s ruling party.

Meanwhile, the meeting of the NCP’s leading bureau called on the country’s opposition forces to declare a clear position on the rebellion led by the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The party’s media secretary Ibrahim Gandour on Wednesday said that what was happening does not accept “opaque” stances by political forces.

He further said it was important for these forces to stand firmly behind SAF because what was happening is an attempt to undermine the state’s system and security.

Sudan’s opposition forces have planned a protest march on Friday to demonstrate against the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The parties intend to submit a memo to the president denouncing the war in the two states.

The democratic opposition forces demand to stop hostilities and to hold a national conference to solve the armed conflicts in southern and western Sudan.

But Gandour urged opposition forces to put national agendas ahead of their own goals, adding that the political parties’ law does not permit registration of groups with armed forces, in reference to the SPLM-N.

The NCP’s meeting also censured the government of South Sudan for the support it allegedly provides to the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The meeting, which was chaired by Vice-President Ali Osman Taha, reaffirmed support for SAF to fulfill its duties in quelling forces trying to undermine security and stability in the country.