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Former Sudan Rebels Say Bashir Can Resolve Political Impasse

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
24 October 2007

Former rebels of the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) say President Omar Al-Bashir is the only one who has the political will to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005, which effectively ended the country’s war. This comes after President Bashir rejected calls by the SPLM for outside help to resolve the political impasse after the SPLM withdrew its ministers from the unity government. The SPLM is accusing the National Congress Party of stalling in implementing the CPA. However, President Bashir says he is committed to implementation of the pact.

Meanwhile, Chairman Alpha Konare of the African Union has urged both parties to the CPA to take the steps required to address outstanding issues and ensure its successful implementation.

From the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba, Vice President Riek Machar tells reporter Peter Clottey that the political impasse can only be resolved after the provisions of the CPA are implemented.

“You know the issues containing the stalemate pertain to provisions in the CPA which have not been implemented. This is because the National Congress is dragging its feet on its implementation; one is the Abay Protocol. Two is the re-deployment of troops, Sudan armed forces, from two states in Southern Sudan, Unity State and Upper Nile State. The third issue pertains to the oil management and marketing, and the fourth issue is the census,” Machar said.

He maintains that President Bashir could end the political impasse by implementing the signed CPA, which ended the war in 2005.

“All these, we believe, is President Bashir wants to resolve them. They are within his reach. He could give the necessary instructions because they are within the agreement. There is no need of renegotiating the agreement or renegotiating the implementation of that agreement unless he says he does not accept the agreement,” he noted.

Machar said the unwillingness of the president’s party to implement the agreement could potentially undermine the CPA.

“Definitely it is because if one side is refusing to implement it, then it is in jeopardy. We as a result are seeking for people who can assist us. Yes, we would accept such an assistance either from IGAD (The Intergovernmental Authority on Development) or from the African Union, or from the UN Security Council or from the Americans who tabled the Abay Protocol,” Machar said.

He blames the president’s party for refusing to share the oil wealth in the Abay area, which he said the sole cause of the political impasse.

“The implementation of the peace agreement takes two. It takes two to tango; the partnership between the SPLM and the National Congress. So what was signed and agreed by both is to be implemented by both. The National Congress sees that Abay area has so much oil that it does not want to share the oil because once the Abay Protocol is implemented, it means that the oil of Abay would be divided 50:50, like the oil which is in the south, which is divided 50:50,” he said.

Machar reiterated that the bone of contention is the sharing of the oil, which the president’s party is refusing to share.

“So, basically it’s oil. When you talk about borders, it also is oil. When you talk about the deployment of troops, it is oil. So it is more or less the fact that the National Congress does not want to share oil with the rest," he said.

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