Sudanese rebels accuse government of violating truce; Bashir promises a just peace
Sudan, Politics, 1/2/2003
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has promised working for maintaining a peace agreement with the southern rebels movement. This agreement guarantees vast participation in decision making and sharing the authority.
The Sudanese President stressed in a speech he delivered yesterday at a ceremony marking the Sudanese Independence day, held in the southern city of Malkal, that the peace he seeks "is a peace for all citizens in the North and South of Sudan."
Bashir called on all the Sudanese parties to exert more effort in order to achieve peace in the country. He said that what was achieved of agreement on certain fundamental issues does not mean the elimination of all obstacles, rather all sides should be pushed to highlight the values of the homeland, stressing that achieving peace is the greatest gain for all parties concerned.
President Bashir commended the efforts exerted by the Arab League to help the peace operation in Sudan, noting the meeting of the Arab ministerial committee meeting over Sudan which will be held on January 14.
In the celebrations which were held for the first time in Malaka, the Higher Nile state, the speakers were several Arab ministers including the Egyptian minister of information Safwat al-Sharif and the assistant secretary genera of the ruling Baath party in Syria Abdullah al-Ahmar.
Bashir's speech comes at a time when peace talks are expected to be resumed in the second week of January in Mashakos, Kenya, between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (rebels). The next phase of negotiations will deal with the issue of sharing resources especially oil reserves in southern Sudan.
On the other hand, the rebels accused the government forces of launching a large- scale military operation in an oil area in the downtown of the country, and thereby violating a truce declared three months earlier. The rebels held Khartoum responsible for the consequences of what is taking place on the peace efforts.
The rebels said in a statement that the government forces equipped by tanks and helicopters is carrying out a large scale attack against the movement's positions to the west of the Higher Nile state.
The spokesman for the rebels Yasser Araman said that the government used in the attack 1500 troops, adding that the movement was able to capture 125 members of the invading forces.
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