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Sudan Tribune

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Government slams foreign organizations’ report on return to war in Sudan

January 8, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese Foreign Ministry criticized a conclusion reached by some NGOs operating in southern Sudan that said that Sudan may be heading for a new cycle of war under the current prevailing conditions in the South.

The report, “Rescuing the Peace in Southern Sudan”, was written on behalf of ten international non-governmental organization. It said that the upsurge of violence during the last year “could escalate even further and become one of the biggest emergencies in Africa in 2010.”

In response, the official spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Muawiya Osman Khalid, told the Sudan News Agency that the conclusion reached by those organizations that the north and the south are doomed to go back to war, was not correct. He said the conclusion was not backed by the facts on the ground, particularly the fact that the leadership in the country in the persons of the President of the Republic and his First Vice President have reaffirmed that there would be no return to war whatever may be the challenges facing the country

The spokesperson has however said some of the evidence cited in the report were correct in regard to the fact that there is need for realizing stability and achieving security in the south beside the fact that there is need to boost the essential services such as health, education and provision of food. But he said a return to war was not a possibility under any circumstances because the country had tasted the woes of the war and its repercussions.

Much of the NGOs’ report had emphasized the need to protect civilians in rural areas. Some 2,500 people were killed in violence in South Sudan last year and more than 369,000 fled their homes.

The report had also called for boosting the resources of the UN Mission in Sudan, and making its officers more aware of their civilian protection mandate, rather than just their peacekeeping role.

But Khalid said the report of said organizations has avoided “in a very suspicious manner” any mention of Sudanese unity and reflected the choice of separation as if it were the reality upon which all future arrangements are to be based.

The Sudanese diplomat urged all the sectors of the international community to shoulder their responsibility in boosting the unity option and tilting it against the other option and to work with the various Sudanese parties so that unity would be an attractive option under the commitments made by all parties to honour the choice that the southern Sudanese people would make when voting on the plebiscite, when its time comes.

(ST)