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South Sudan calls on Khartoum to fully cooperate with US new policy

By James Gatdet Dak

October 22, 2009 (JUBA) – The Juba-based semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan has welcomed the new US policy on Sudan, and called on the Government of National Unity in Khartoum to fully cooperate with it.

South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar (Reuters)

In a press statement on Wednesday, Southern Sudan’s Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar said the policy was positive and would result to the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the successive American administrations if Sudan responded positively.

He said there would be no logic to continue with the sanctions in the country if the issues highlighted in the policy were addressed and fully resolved.

Sudan would also be removed from the list of the states that sponsor terrorism if it practically cooperates with the policy, he added.

Dr. Machar, who is also the Deputy Chairperson of the ruling party in the South, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) explained that the new US policy would help his government in trying to speedily curb the ongoing inter and intra-tribal fighting in the region.

SPLM and its peace partner, the northern ruling National Congress Party (NCP), which signed the North-South peace deal in 2005, last week achieved a breakthrough by agreeing on the final draft bill for the conduct of the Southern Sudan referendum on secession in January 2011.

SPLM officials however accuse their northern partner of dragging its feet on implementing a number of other outstanding issues in the agreement, such as the North-South border demarcation and national security law needed for the conduct of the upcoming elections due in six months.

They also accuse them of arming certain groups to destabilize the region.

The US policy which calls for engagement with the Khartoum government spells out the use of ‘stick and carrot’ approach to deal with the regime.

It calls for a campaign of "pressure and incentives" to pressure Khartoum into pursuing peace in the troubled Darfur region, settling disputes with the semi-autonomous government in Southern Sudan and providing the United States greater cooperation in stemming international terrorism.

Washington said it would set strict time lines for the Sudanese President, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to fulfill the conditions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).