3 June 2012

Sudan: Khartoum Welcomes Juba's Decision to Expel Sudanese Rebels

Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) welcomed Sunday a decision by the South Sudanese government to expel Sudanese rebels from its territory. But, Juba denied the measure saying there are no insurgents to push out.

The NCP did not say how they learnt the decision but its political sector was briefed in its weekly meeting on the latest developments in the talks between Sudan and South brokered by the African Union mediation in Addis Ababa.

Following the meeting, NCP spokesperson Yasser Youssef stated that the Party welcomes Juba's decision to expel rebel groups from the South Sudan. He also expressed hope that this measure be implemented effectively on the ground, the official SUNA reported.

The implementation of this decision "will help to move forward in addressing the security issues between the two countries," Yasser pointed out.

Sudan says Juba established military camps for Darfur rebel groups in Jonglei, Bahr El Ghazal and the Equatroria states. Also it accuses Juba of providing military and logistic support to the SPLM-N fighters who have some presence on the border from the two sides.

Such decision implies that Sudan would also cease any support it provides to South Sudanese rebel militias operating in Unity and Upper Nile states.

A joint political and security committee chaired by defense and interior ministers and chiefs of intelligence services will meet in Addis Ababa on Monday to discuss security issues like rebel presence in the two country, and the establishment of a buffer zone and a mechanism to monitor the 2000 km border.

Khartoum and Juba used to deny the presence of South Sudanese and Sudanese rebels in their territories despite different reports mentioning that.

South Sudan information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin and Sudan People's Liberation Army spokesperson Philip Aguer denied such decision arguing that there is no Sudanese rebels in the newly established country.

"I do not have any idea of this information. There are no Sudanese rebels that I know in South Sudan", Aguer said when asked by Sudan Tribune to comment.

South Sudanese government spokesperson , Barnaba denied in similar words that his government harbour Sudanese rebel groups.

"They are actually the ones supporting militia against the republic of South Sudan. And we have more than enough evidence," the minister reiterated to Sudan Tribune.

Khartoum says the settlement of the rebel presence is crucial for the resumption of talks on the remaining files particularly the exportation of South Sudanese oil.

Sudan also banned the border trade between the two countries in a way to exercise economic pressure on Juba and to force it to stop backing rebels from South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement -North (SPLM-N) which fights Khartoum mainly in South Kordofan was part of the ruling party in Juba before the independence of South Sudan.

The road map designed by the African Union and endorsed by the UN Security Council provides that Khartoum has to engage talks with the SPLM-N over the implementation of a protocol related to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states based on a framework agreement signed on 28 June 2011 but rejected by the Sudanese president.

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