16 August 2014

Sudan: Khartoum Maintains Denials Over Support for S. Sudan Rebels

Photo: Human Rigths Watch
A home burns in Malakal, South Sudan

Khartoum — Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson Khaled al-Sawarmi reaffirmed that his country does provide any support for the South Sudanese rebels led by the former vice-president Riek Machar who visited Khartoum last week.

During a two-day visit to the Sudanese capital, Machar met with president Omer al-Bashir and his vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh. Khartoum was keen to say that the visit comes in the framework of the efforts exerted by the IGAD to end the eight-month conflict in the neighbouring country.

However, Sudanese army once again had to distance itself from the warring parties in South Sudan.

"Riek Machar's visit to Khartoum recently, came within the framework of mediation that Sudan is doing to end the conflict in South Sudan," al-Swarmi said in a short statement released by the official news agency (SUNA) on Saturday.

He added that president Salva Kiir and South Sudan's defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk were also received in Khartoum but that does not mean "we do not support any party against the other".

The military spokesperson did not refer to any recent accusation from Juba after Machar's visit to Khartoum. However reports from Juba say that defence minister Juok Manyang Juuk recently renewed accusations that Khartoum supports rebels. .

Sudanese foreign ministry, last April, on the other hand, accused Juba of using a Darfur rebel group to fight the SPLM-in-Opposition in the Unity state. After referring to a UN report on the matter, Khartoum said the implication of the Sudanese rebels confirms Juba support to these groups.

Foreign minister Ali Karti explained last July that his government preferred to give way to the east African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and to not to be directly implicated in the resolution of the conflict in order to avoid accusations that Khartoum tries to take advantage of the situation.

Since the South Sudan's secession in 2011, the two countries have several outstanding conflicts related the demarcation of the border areas and a referendum to be held on the future of Abyei region.

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