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Far-right group slams government over four freedom deal with South Sudan

March 14, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The far-right Just Peace Forum (JPF) of Sudan has launched severe criticism against the government for signing an agreement on four freedoms with neighbouring South Sudan, saying the move poses a threat to national security.

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JPF leader Al-Tayyib Mustafa among his supporters celebrating the secession of South Sudan in July 2010 (GETTY)

Sudan and South Sudan inked on Tuesday a framework agreement allowing citizens of both states to enjoy “freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom to undertake economic activity and freedom to acquire and dispose property".

The deal allayed concerns over Sudan’s decision to strip its former southern citizens of their nationality following their massive vote for the independence of their region, which was declared in July last year. Millions of southerners began an exodus back home after Khartoum announced that as of 9 April this year, they will have to leave the country or regularise their stay as foreigners, a move that drew criticism from human rights groups locally and abroad.

Al-Tayyib Mustafa, the leader of the JPF and a close relative of Sudan’s President Omsr Al-Bashir, described the agreement signed in Addis Ababa as a “humiliating compromise”.

Speaking to reporters in the capital Khartoum on Wednesday, Mustafa revealed that his party intends to oppose the deal through all possible means, including the launch of a popular campaign and use of religious leaders.

The ultra-conservative figure called on his nephew and president Omer Al-Bashir to scrap the deal, similar to what he did with the Addis Ababa framework agreement signed in mid July between his close aide, Nafie Ali Nafie, and rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) who are fighting the government in South Kordofan and Blue Nile State.

Bashir’s disavowal of Addis Ababa agreement with the rebels was a testament to the political clout of the JPF and its controversial leader.

The JPF had campaigned intensively through its daily mouthpiece, Al-Intibaha, for the secession of South Sudan and expulsion of southern citizens. Most recently, the party’s leaders and writers have been calling on the government to invade Juba, the capital of South Sudan, in retaliation for the south’s alleged support to Sudanese rebels.

Mustafa said that the new Addis Ababa deal was a dangerous development and a threat to Sudanese national security. He further said that the government must either scrap the deal or exit power to allow the people to select the leaders who can “defend their sacred principles”.

According to the JPF leader, the government had signed the agreement under intensive US pressure after a group of congressmen introduced a law that would impose new sanctions on Khartoum.

Mustafa said there was pressure from the US and UK on Sudan to give southerners their citizenship back and allow them the four freedoms. He added that the presence of southerners in Sudan threatens the social and political security of the north.

Similarly, the JPF senior member and editor-in-chief of Al-Intibaha, Al-Sadiq al-Rizigi, said that “an American stench can be smelled in the agreement”. He further said that the deal “was not worth the value of ink with which it is written and will not success because it compromises our rights”.

Ishaq Fadul Allah, another JPF stalwart and an op-ed writer at Al-Intibaha, berated Sudan’s negotiators who signed the deal, saying they should be punished by being sent to the battlefronts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.