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SPLM Calls for International Pressure on Bashir

By Peter Clottey
13 October 2009

The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) is calling for more international pressure on President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The SPLM is accusing President Bashir and his National Congress Party (NPC) of "stalling" the implementation process, a charge the NCP sharply denies.

The agreement, which ended more than two decades of civil war between the North and South, has one more year before expiring.

The SPLM is expressing concern that tensions between North and South could worsen if the CPA is not fully implemented before the expiration date.

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth head of Southern Sudan's mission to the United States said that international pressure is the only way to force President Bashir to implement the CPA.

"We have been actually having serious concerns about the CPA implementation. Now the parliament is going to be open, and they are discussing laws that need to be repealed, especially the security law that they have actually passed unilaterally," Gatkuoth said.

He said the SPLM is proposing topics relating to the CPA to be discussed by its northern partners.

"The laws that are actually meant for democratic transformation in the country, it is very important to discuss the media laws, the security law, and all the laws that need to be enacted before election next year. The second one is the referendum… and the third one is the budget," he said.

Gatkuoth said the NCP has so far refused to discuss their proposals.

"Of course, the National Congress Party is actually proposing different ideas. These are irrelevant. We need to discuss the issues that are connected to the CPA, and it is very important," Gatkuoth said.

He said the NCP is not committed to implementing the CPA, a charge the party denies.

"You can see the reluctance of the National Congress Party. They are not really interested in moving forward with the implementation of the CPA," he said.

Gatkuoth said the NCP often uses its parliamentary numerical advantage to push through its agenda.

"In the CPA formula we have only 28 percent in the national assembly and also in the council of ministers. So the National Congress Party, they have 52 percent (and) they have the mechanical majority to pass any law that they want… So yes, we are junior partners in this government," Gatkuoth said.

He said the NCP has refused to hold a consensus discussion despite the SPLM's peaceful overtures.

"We are saying that it is very important for us that the two parties and other political parties discuss and reach a consensus instead of actually bulldozing (things through)," he said.

Gatkuoth said group members will soon embark on a demonstration to press home their demands.

"We are going to call on our supporters to go and demonstrate and make their voices heard on the street," Gatkuoth said.

He praised the mediation efforts of Scott Gration, the United States special envoy to Sudan.

"The initiative of General Scott Gration is very good, and we really appreciate that. What we are saying is that the NCP should not actually use this process to renegotiate the CPA. What we are saying also is for General Gration to use IGAD (Inter Governmental Authority on Development.) countries… so when they are involved in implementing the CPA, then we would be able to move in the right direction," he said.

The SPLM has often accused its northern partners of refusing fully to implement the agreement despite the mediation efforts by the U.S. special envoy.

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