|Africa News Digest
Sudan President Vows Aid the South if it Secedes
Jan. 7 (EIRNS)In an extraordinarily strong statement for a Sudanese government leader, given the years-long Sudan civil war, President Omar al-Bashir emphasized that although he favored unity for the North and South of Sudan, that he would recognize the South as a new state, if the voters so chose, because his strategic objective is peace with the South no matter what the outcome of the referendum (voting begins Jan. 9).
Bashir made his statement during a Jan. 4 visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. He stated that the problems of Sudan could not be resolved as long as there was war between the North and the South. He expressed satisfaction that the referendum will take place peacefully, in the face of many dire predictions from Sudan detractors that the referendum could not take place peacefully.
He pledged economic cooperation with the South, and said he would be happy, even if separation is chosen, if the outcome would lead to the start of new development for the North and the South, "to build our country and its reconstruction and advancement."
Although he is impeded in his efforts by charges against him by the International Criminal Court, an arm of the British financial empire, which make him persona non grata, and therefore unable to engage in negotiations to carry out the goals he laid out, Bashir added that he had as a priority, helping the new state in the South, if it is founded, with technical, logistical, or any other kind of help.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, whose week-long visit to Sudan coincided with Bashir's Juba visit said Jan. 5 that he was pleased by Bashir's efforts and "his statements that the referendum would be safe and successful and that its outcome will be respected by everyone."
Kerry said that the U.S. government was ready to assist in removing the obstacles of economic sanctions and foreign debts facing Sudan. He added: "I think at this stage we're seeing the foundation of good economic relations with America and we could also see security relations as well as other types of relations."
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said the United States was "extraordinarily pleased" by Bashir's statements.