15 October 2009

Zimbabwe: Sudanese VP Briefs President

Harare — SUDANESE First Vice President Mr Salva Kiir Mayardit arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday to consult and update President Mugabe on the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the government in Khartoum.

Vice President Mayardit doubles up as the President of the Government of Southern Sudan.

President Mugabe told journalists after a two-and-half-hour closed-door meeting with the Sudanese Vice President that Zimbabwe supported the CPA, also referred to as the Naivasha Agreement.

The CPA was meant to end the second Sudanese civil war, develop democratic governance countrywide and share oil revenues.

It also set a timetable by which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence.

"We talked about the comprehensive peace agreement -- the progress or lack of it. As Zimbabwe, we support this agreement. If there are handicaps, we want to know the reasons. This is with a view to seeing a referendum being held in 2011. Sure, the whole of Africa will give support to the referendum," President Mugabe said.

Southern Sudan will hold an independence referendum in March 2011 on whether or not it should remain part of Sudan.

This is part of the 2005 CPA between the Khartoum central government and the SPLA.

Vice President Mayardit also briefed journalists on his visit and the talks he held with President Mugabe.

"We came here to meet his Excellency President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to brief him about the situation in Sudan -- how we are implementing the comprehensive peace agreement," he said.

Vice President Mayardit led a powerful delegation that included Madam Rebecca de Mabior, widow of the Sudan People's Liberation Army leader Mr John Garang.

He said it was now time for the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement and development in the war-torn Darfur region.

"This is all we talked about and how to continue our bilateral relations, not only with Zimbabwe, but the whole region of Sadc," Vice President Mayardit said.

Commenting on progress achieved so far by the agreement, Vice President Mayardit said there were a number of areas of concern.

He singled out the referendum law that he said had not yet been passed and the demarcation of the border between North and Southern Sudan.

Vice President Mayardit spoke of the need to repeal some laws that he said "were in conflict with the constitution".

Vice President Joice Mujuru, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials welcomed Vice President Mayardit and his delegation at the Harare International Airport.

Vice President Mayardit took over the leadership of the Sudan People's Liberation Army following the death of its leader Mr John Garang in a helicopter crash on July 30 2005.

He proceeded to appoint Madam Mabior (Garang's wife) as his advisor on human rights issues.

Vice President Mayardit is a founding member of the SPLA and was chosen by SPLA leaders to continue a peace process that ended the second Sudanese civil war in January 2005.

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