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West waging economic war against Sudan, official says

April 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) –A senior Sudanese official has accused Western countries of waging an economic war against his country and aiding neighbouring South Sudan in its alleged support of Sudanese rebels.

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FILE - Sudan’s presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie

Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese presidential assistant, said while addressing a rally in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the West is aware that “the rebels and mercenaries” had destroyed oil facilities in the Heglig area which was captured by South Sudan’s army last week.

“They [Western countries] believe this could weaken the Sudanese economy” he said before adding that the government knows how to run the battle and organise its priorities.

Heglig, which produces half of Sudan’s daily oil production of 115,000 barrels a day, was occupied by South Sudan’s army last week in the most dangerous escalation of military confrontations between the two neighbours since the south gained independence last week.

In his speech, Nafie said that Sudan must talk to its friends in the international arena in order to prevent Western countries from supporting Sudanese rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) via the UN.

His statements appears to be related to international efforts spearheaded by the US to allow aid groups to the country’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where Sudan’s army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels since last year.

Nafie went on to dismiss concerns that his government would use the war over Heglig as a pretext to increase repression of dissent but he put a caveat saying that Khartoum will not tolerate “traitors”

“There will be no curtailment of public liberties but traitors are entitled to no freedom” he declared.

Nafie further accused the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF), a rebel coalition including the SPLM-N, of occupying Heglig and then hand it over to the “enemy”, meaning South Sudan.

He described SRF’s supporters as “agents and traitors” and reiterated Khartoum’s commitment not to negotiate with South Sudan’s government.

He further sought to allay concerns that the government would terminate fuel subsidies against the background of losing Heglig’s oil, saying that such actions would only occur unless within calculated measures.

Sudan admitted this week that the loss of Heglig’s oil will affect government income but government officials said that plans have already been initiated to assimilate the deficit.

(ST)