Sudan: UN Head Welcomes South Kordofan/Blue Nile Agreement

Khartoum — UN chief Ban Ki-moon Wednesday welcomed the signing of a framework agreement between Sudan's government led by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) to settle their dispute in South Kordofan.

The two parties inked Tuesday an agreement on political and security arrangements for Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan brokered by the AU high level panel in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Clashes erupted early this month in South Kordofan between the Sudanese army and the SPLA in South Kordofan over suspicions of rigging in the gubernatorial elections that took place last May there.

UN agencies said more than 70000 people fled the region as result of the fighting there and rights groups expressed serious concerns over killing and arrest of civilians in the Mount Nuba.

"The Secretary-General welcomes the signing today in Addis Ababa of the Framework Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) on Political Partnership between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM-North, and Political and Security Arrangements in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States" said a statement released by the spokesperson of Ban Ki-moon..

The framework follows a cessation of hostilities deal the parties signed on 16 June to end violence but the SPLA continued to claim that Khartoum kept aerial attacks on its positions in the region but Khartoum denied the accusations.

Ban further urged the Sudanese parties to conclude a cessation of hostilities and to ensure the protection of civilians and full humanitarian access to the needy in South Kordofan.

NCP officials said Sudanese aid groups will ensure the distribution of humanitarian assistance and refused to allow the establishment of camps for the internally displaced people arguing they refuse to repeat the experience of Darfur camps allegedly transformed to dens of rebel supporters.

The African Union and the Arab league also praised the framework deal and expressed their appreciations for the efforts conducted by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki to reach this agreement.

In the Addis Ababa deal, which establishes a political partnership between the NCP and SPLM-north, the parties agreed to form a committee to address all issues related to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile which are supposed to hold popular consultations in line with the 2005 peace agreement.

The framework agreements also provides to integrate the SPLA soldiers from the two northern Sudan regions or to disarm them.

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