Bashir declares war on South Sudan

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pretoria - Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir on Wednesday declared war on South Sudan, and vowed to bring down the government of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba, at a time of escalating military confrontations on the border between the two countries.

Addressing a rally of members of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the Sudanese president announced that "from today, our slogan is to liberate the citizens of South Sudan from the rule of the SPLM..."

"We've made a mistake historically to enable the SPLM to rule the south, but we will correct this mistake, and we have a moral obligation for our people in South Sudan, that is to save them from the SPLM," al-Bashir added.

Al-Bashir accused the government of South Sudan of failing to commit itself to the agreements and treaties the two countries had signed, saying "these people do not keep promises and not adhere to the documents, and they are traitors".

He continued saying "Sudan should not be ruled separately in the north and the south, either they (SPLM) come and control Khartoum or we go and control Juba".

The remarks came as fresh clashes reportedly erupted near the town of Aweil, South Sudan, about 160 km west of the Heglig oil field near the border between the two countries, which have been seized by the South Sudanese army since 10 April.

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday reiterated its call for Sudan to stop air strikes and South Sudan to withdraw from Heglig.

"Council members discussed ways to leverage the influence of the council to press the parties to take these steps, and included in that a discussion potentially of sanctions," US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters following a council meeting.

The oil-rich Heglig region on the north side of the 1956 border between Sudan and South Sudan has been captured by the South Sudanese army since Tuesday.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit said last month that Heglig belonged to his country, but both Khartoum and the African Union denied the claim.

The pan-African body, along with the United Nations, called for an unconditional withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Heglig.

The Sudanese parliament decided last Wednesday to announce a general mobilisation and stop negotiations with South Sudan.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by the South Sudan embassy in Pretoria, that country said for the conflict to end, the international community needed to ensure the full implementation of CPA provisions and protocols without any delay.

Reiterating calls for a peaceful settlement, the embassy also called for a neutral force to be deployed in Panthou/Heglig to maintain the cessation of hostilities and monitor the demarcation of boundaries, as well as an immediate withdrawal of SAF from Abyei to allow the return of displaced civilians.

Meanwhile, South Sudan became the 118th member of the sister institutions, the IMF and World Bank.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde welcomed South Sudan to the global lender, saying the "IMF will do its best to assist the country in setting up the foundations for economic stability and growth in the period ahead".

South Sudan had approached the IMF for technical assistance in building the capacity and institutions to manage its nascent economy.

South Sudan applied for membership of the IMF in April 2011 before it became independent in July 2011.