From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Jan 11 2011 - 06:44:43 EST
Sudan rejects Carter's remarks on debt
By the CNN Wire Staff
January 11, 2011 -- Updated 0825 GMT (1625 HKT)
* Southern Sudanese are voting on whether to separate from Sudan
* If they choose to secede, a new country could emerge in July
* At least 23 have died in violence leading up to and during the
* A 2005 peace treaty ended 22 years of war that killed at least 2
Juba, Sudan (CNN) -- Sudan's foreign affairs ministry is contradicting
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's statement about Southern Sudan's debt
On Monday, Carter told CNN that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir "said the
entire debt should be assigned to north Sudan and not to the southern part
of Sudan. So, in effect, Southern Sudan is starting with a clean sheet on
debt. They'll have to make some arrangements for other sources of income, of
The Sudan News Agency reported Monday the country's foreign affairs ministry
"categorically refuted the statements."
It said the ministry's spokesman, Khalid Musa, explained that during the
Carter meeting, al-Bashir affirmed
<http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Sudan> Sudan's strong call on the
international community to take the initiative in writing off Sudan's debts
as part of the Debt Relief for Developing Countries and the Heavily Indebted
Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative "in a view that the country, both in the
north and south, have not enough resources to pay these debts."
Musa also noted the expected decrease of the north's oil revenues if
southerners choose separation, the news agency said.
According to Musa, al-Bashir said debt is a joint responsibility of the
north and the south "under joint negotiations of the two partners," the news
A Carter Center representative said Tuesday she would seek comment from
Carter and respond later.
Meanwhile, voters in Southern Sudan prepared Tuesday for the third day in a
week-long referendum on independence.
The south would become a new nation in July if voters choose independence
and no other obstacles emerge.
The referendum was called for in the 2005 peace treaty that ended 22 years
of war between a government dominated by Arab Muslims in the north and black
Christians and animists in the south. That war killed at least 2 million.
At one polling station in Lologo, on the outskirts of the southern capital
of Juba, some people slept nearby or arrived early Monday. The reason: So
many voters had showed up on Sunday that some were turned away.
Mary Luluwa shuffled to the front of the line with her wooden cane. Nearly
blind, she had to be shown by election officials how to place her
Luluwa said she was not sure how old she is, but she said she is certain how
she will vote.
"For freedom," she said. "I am very happy to vote, it's my first time, I am
old and I can't see much, but I voted for my children."
But Tuesday's voting follows several days of violence that flared up in a
disputed region between north and south.
At least 23 people have been killed in ongoing clashes around the disputed
region of Abyei, an oil-rich area that the British transferred to Sudan in
1905. A 2005 peace agreement called for people in Abyei to vote this week on
whether to remain part of the north or return to the south, but that vote
has been delayed.
Clashes have erupted for four days between members of the Ngok Dinka ethnic
group, which tend to have more in common with the south, and the Misseriya,
a nomadic Arabic tribe that comes in and out of the Abyei region and whose
sympathies would most likely tilt toward the northern government.
Thirteen of the 23 were Misseriya, according to hospital officials in nearby
Muglad. Ten were reported dead in Abyei, said John Ajang, secretary general
of the Abyei government.
Ajang said Monday that he believes the armed militias that clashed with
Abyei government forces were not Misseriya tribesmen, but rather Sudanese
government-supported militias. He said witnesses described heavy weaponry
inconsistent with the automatic weaponry seen carried by Misseriya tribesmen
in the past.
"We believe this is an attempt by the Sudanese government to take Abyei
while the government of south Sudan forces are busy with the referendum,"
Observers from around the world are monitoring the historic referendum.
The Atlanta-based Carter Center has about 70 observers in Sudan and 30
observers in eight other countries where Southern Sudanese are living and
voting, according to David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program at the
Representatives of the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League
and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development are also observing the
Southern Sudanese people who lived in the north for decades have crossed
back into their homeland to vote in the referendum. Meanwhile, some voters
in the north said they voted for unity, including one woman who said she
didn't see a point in splitting up the country.
Prior to the voting, Southern Sudanese diplomat John Duku said a unified
Sudanese nation "means only one thing -- it means war."
"Over the years, unity has imposed war on us, the unity has imposed
marginalization on us, the unity has imposed slavery on us," he said. "So,
what is the meaning of unity? For the people of south Sudan, it means only
The south has repeatedly accused the north of trying to stoke tension by
supporting rebels troops to destabilize the south, an allegation the Arab
Muslim-led government in Khartoum denies.
Even with a secession vote, stumbling blocks could remain -- about 20% of
the border area has not been demarcated, and the division of oil revenues
between the two sides could be an issue.
CNN's David McKenzie and Ingrid Formanek contributed to this report from
Juba, Sudan; CNN's Ben Wedeman from Khartoum, Sudan and Journalist Nima
Elbagir from Balom, Sudan.
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