Sudan's new cabinet won't solve crisis - opposition
Thu Dec 8, 2011 2:47pm GMT
(Adds quote from opposition Umma Party)
By Khalid Abdelaziz and El-Tayeb Siddig
KHARTOUM Dec 8 (Reuters) - Sudan's main opposition parties reacted
negatively on Thursday to a new cabinet formed by veteran President Omar
al-Bashir that includes more opposition figures, saying it would not help
overcome an economic crisis.
Sudan has avoided an Arab uprising such as in Egypt and Tunisia but dissent
is building over food price inflation and unemployment which add to
hardships faced by average Sudanese.
Khartoum and the underdeveloped east have seen small protests.
On Wednesday, Bashir's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) unveiled a new
cabinet, its first since South Sudan seceded in July under a 2005 peace
deal. It included more opposition figures than the previous lineup but kept
key portfolios in NCP hands.
Bashir had been trying to form a broader-based cabinet to strengthen his
position and tackle an economic crisis which has worsened since the South
left along with about three-quarters of oil production - the main source of
The main opposition parties dismissed the new cabinet, saying Bashir was
unwilling to give up real power.
"This new government is like the old one, same faces, same programme. They
won't be able to solve the problems," said Tamal Omar, Political Secretary
of the Popular Congress Party, headed by Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi.
"The NCP controls parliament, just everything," he told Reuters.
In the new cabinet the NCP will keep portfolios including finance, oil,
foreign affairs, defence and the interior.
Fourteen other parties were given posts but the only major newcomer is the
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which will get three posts.
"The opposition said that all the parties should sit together including the
NCP to discuss a new political formula to rule Sudan, but the NCP rejected
the proposal," said Communist Party central committee member Yousuf Hassan.
"This will not solve the crisis of the country," he said.
Sudan reported annual inflation of 19.1 percent in November, slightly down
from 19.8 percent in October but almost double the level a year ago.
The economic crisis has been worsened by fighting with rebels in southern
border states and in Darfur in the west, draining resources when the state
needs to cut expenditure.
"Sudan is definitely on a path to the Arab Spring. People are dissatisfied
because of poverty, hunger and the decline of the economy, health and
education," said Fadlallah Burma Nasir, deputy chairman of the opposition
"There's nothing new in this government. This government has no ability to
save Sudan from this economic and political crisis ."
Government officials say uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia will not be emulated
in Sudan, which would overcome lost oil revenues by expanding gold exports
South Sudan became independent after voting to secede in a January
referendum, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal after decades of civil war.
(Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexander Dziadosz, Edited by Richard Meares)
Sudan, S.Sudan armies clash in disputed border region
Thu Dec 8, 2011 5:46am GMT
By Hereward Holland and Khalid Abdelaziz
JUBA/KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The armed forces of Sudan and South Sudan clashed
in a border region claimed by both sides on Wednesday, in a rare direct
confrontation between the old civil war foes.
Both countries said they would bring complaints against the other to the
United Nations, moves likely to hinder already tense talks over issues such
as oil and debt that have been unresolved since South Sudan seceded in July.
South Sudan's military spokesman, Philip Aguer, said the Sudanese Armed
Forces (SAF) bombarded the Jau area with warplanes and used artillery to hit
positions of the south's Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
"The SPLA is trying to repulse the attackers, the Sudan Armed Forces," he
told Reuters. "The first attack was on Saturday when SAF started invading
... It is in South Sudan, there is no dispute about that. Jau is deep in
Al-Sawarmi Khalid, spokesman for Sudan's military, confirmed the clashes,
but said Jau was in Sudanese territory. "Now the Sudanese army controls the
Jau area, which is inside the Republic of Sudan," he said.
"South Sudan's army tried to attack six times today. This is an assault on
the Sudanese army and Sudanese land."
Neither spokesman gave a casualty figure.
Each country has accused the other of backing rebel groups on either side of
the border for months, but the fighting in Jau - which straddles the poorly
defined border - was an unusual direct clash.
The fighting drove "several hundred" civilians from Jau towards the Yida
refugee camp and also southwards, said Mimi Girard, an official with the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in South Sudan.
"Jau is a very strategic place so we feared that there would be more clashes
and there were more attacks today," she said.
SECURITY COUNCIL COMPLAINTS
Sudan's foreign ministry spokesman, El-Obeid Morawah, accused South Sudan of
attacking Sudanese territory on Tuesday and Wednesday, describing it as
"blatant aggression against Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"The ministry filed a complaint today to the U.N. Security Council regarding
this blatant aggression," he said in an emailed statement.
South Sudan's foreign affairs spokesman, Mathiang Ring, also said his
country would complain to the Security Council.
"We will say that the government of Sudan has attacked and invaded a piece
of land in South Sudan, in Jau. They captured one and killed one soldier,"
"It is premature to say that the two sides are at war, but the South is now
acting in self defence. We will not tolerate aggression by the north."
The two sides were already at loggerheads over what transit fees South Sudan
should pay to export its oil in pipelines running through Sudan, as well as
a range of other post-secession issues like pensions and the border's
A Western diplomat at the U.N. Security Council told Reuters the South
Sudanese had written to the council on Monday about the fighting, but the
letter had not been seen by all the council's members yet.
"We would have expected the letter to have been circulated to all Council
members by now in the usual way, but this hasn't yet happened," he said.
South Sudan voted overwhelmingly in January to secede in a referendum held
under a 2005 peace deal that ended one of Africa's longest and deadliest
The civil war, waged over ethnicity, oil, religion and ideology, killed an
estimated 2 million people.
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
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Received on Thu Dec 08 2011 - 14:50:00 EST