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Sudan’s Blue Nile state governor calls for resistance against proposed law

July 18, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The governor of Blue Nile state Malik Agar on Monday slammed the proposed amendment to the Popular Consultation law that was endorsed by the Sudanese cabinet today.

Malik Agar, head of the northern branch of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) speaks during a joint news conference with SPLM north’s secretary general Yasir Arman, in Khartoum, July 3, 2011 (Reuters)

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) said that the council of ministers headed by vice president Ali Osman Taha approved a draft bill for organizing the popular consultation in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states for 2011 presented by justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa.

The cabinet’s spokesperson Omer Mohamed Saleh told reporters that the proposed law would extend the popular consultation in the two states for a period of six months. It also empowers the Sudanese president to extend it further at the request of the commissions administering the exercise.

The popular consultation process in the two states is a mechanism mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to ascertain local views on the implementation of that agreement and how governance relationship with Khartoum should be re-organized.

However, the process has stalled in the Blue Nile while South Kordofan descended into violence between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLA since early June.

Agar responded to the new draft law through a statement attributed to him saying that this is a violation to the CPA and that he would not recognize it. The head of the northern branch of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the government bypassed the Blue Nile state government and its elected governor when it approved the draft bill.

He called on the citizens to "resist the unjust and oppressive law which was passed by a single party that represents no one but itself".

The SPLM figure did not say what aspects of the law he objected to. He has warned earlier this month that if the ongoing fighting in South Kordofan spilled into his state and Sudan’s war-torn western region of Darfur, it would be "coordinated," because "the enemy of your enemy is your ally".

In July, Agar signed a preliminary accord with top presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie in the Ethiopian capital, that sets the groundwork for a comprehensive political and security settlement in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, both home to a large number of SPLM supporters.

But President Omer Hassan al-Bashir came afterwords and rejected the agreement and ordered continuation of military operations in South Kordofan which a secret UN report said involved what could amount to war crimes.

(ST)