14 November 2012

Sudan Defense Minister Blames Juba for Failure in Reaching Security Deal

Photo: http://www.rnw.nl
Civilians are bearing the brunt of abuses in Sudan's simmering border conflict in Blue Nile state, according to Human Rights Watch.

Khartoum — The Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein blasted South Sudan government claiming that the latter caused the breakdown of the security talks in Juba this month.

Hussein told the parliament in a classified briefing that the two sides could not agree on the agenda as Khartoum insisted on including an item tackling alleged support by Juba to rebel groups fighting the Sudanese government.

The top military official in Sudan further said that his government asked Juba to furnish names of northern citizens seeking to join the southern army but the request was rejected.

Meetings in Juba chaired by defense ministers of the two countries convened to discuss the establishment of previously agreed demilitarized zone and the ways to end cross border attacks and rebel presence in both sides of border.

Khartoum persistently accuses Juba of backing the Sudan People liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) that is leading an insurgency against the Sudanese government in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. Juba routinely denies the charges.

However, U.S. and European officials have pressed South Sudan on ending support of SPLM-N fearing that it will poison post-secession talks between Khartoum and Juba.

The SPLM-N rebels had fought alongside the southern insurgents during that the north-south civil war but the country's breakup left them in Sudanese territory.

The Sudanese defense minister said that "combing operations" are underway in South Kordofan and that the army will soon turn the tables in the state. Recently SPLM-N rebels have been able to carry near daily shelling of South Kordofan capital causing casualties within civilians.

The violence in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile state, which both border South Sudan, has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, and aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the region as food supplies run low.

Hussein also spoke of a strategic plan to upgrade the army and warned that working in the military is no longer attractive due to lack of funding.

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