23 September 2011

Sudan: SPLM's Arman Urges U.S. Congressmen to Support No-Fly-Zone in Country

Washington — The Sudan People's Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) today urged the US Congressmen to support the imposition of a no-fly zone in Sudan, warning that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum represents a threat to South Sudan independence.

US special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman rejected last week previous appeals by the SPLM-N and other rebel groups in Darfur for a no-fly-zone in the Blue Nile, Darfur and Southern Kordofan, saying that means more violence and military confrontation on the ground.

However the SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman accused the Sudanese government of killing thousands of civilians in the war affected regions and reiterated before Congressmen his appeal for a no-fly-zone in the three regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile.

"We count on you to lead the international community to put an end to these atrocities by imposing a no-fly zone from Darfur to Blue Nile. That is the only way to protect millions of Sudanese civilians," said Arman in a testimony before the Congressmen at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Thursday.

The fight between the SPLM-N rebels and the Sudanese army started in Southern Kordofan last June after the contested election of a governor form the NCP in May.

After the refusal of President Omer al-Bashir of a framework agreement signed on 28 June between the NCP government and the SPLM-N , the latter formed an alliance aiming to overthrow the NCP regime with Darfur rebel groups.

As expected the clashes erupted in the Blue Nile three months later on 1 September.

Arman pressed the US lawmakers to put more pressures on the government. He stressed that Sudan's ruling "National Congress does not respond to niceties; they respond only to pressures". He further went to say that the "relative peace" the US brought in the Sudan through the independence of the South Sudan is now threatened by the "fanatic leaders" in Khartoum.

"They talking a lot about the new Republic of South Sudan as an escape goat for their own problems," stressed the SPLM-N secretary general.

Among the presence there were Congressman Frank Wolf and Congressman Jim McGovern, both co-chair the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and strong supporters of South Sudan independence.

Arman told the caucus that they sought in vain to negotiate a peaceful solution to the southern Kordofan conflict but as the Sudanese president refused the Addis Ababa deal and the fight extended to the Blue Nile.

"We believe the only way left for the Sudanese people is to overthrow the National Congress regime and Bashir," he suggested before to add that fears of political chaos in the country are unjustified if Bshair is removed.

"Sudan is a country that is seven thousand years old. It is much older than Bashir and its fate and future cannot lie on a man who is wanted by the ICC. The Sudanese political life and political actors are much more mature than in many countries that have recently witnessed change."

He also said that South Sudan's stability can only be achieved through a democratic regime in Khartoum. According to Arman the Sudan and South Sudan "can be re-united again in a union of two independent countries". This confederation will pave the way for strategic relations between the two neighbours and peace and stability in the region, he concluded. .

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