A statement by the European Union’s foreign policy chief on Sudan’s unity is generating unease in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Javier Solana said shortly after holding discussions with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he favors a united Sudan.
But the SPLM said Solana’s statement undermines the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended over two decades of civil war between the north and South.
Under the agreement, the south has a six-year transitional period of autonomy and takes part in a unity government until the scheduled 2011 referendum to determine whether to be independent or remain part of the north.
Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of Southern Sudan’s mission to the US said that Solana’s statement was ill-advised.
“The statement is not in line with the CPA spirit because in the CPA one of the options is united Sudan and another option is separation of the south to be an independent state. So, yes all of us have agreed that we are going to make unity attractive to the southerners so that they can vote for unity in 2011. But if the unity is not attractive to them at all, then they also have another option, which is separation,” Gatkuoth said.
He described as unfortunate Solana’s pronouncement about Sudan’s unity.
“It will not be wise for one person or individual to say that this is the only option that the people of Southern Sudan should explore… we want to say to the EU that in the CPA there are two options,” he said.
Gatkuoth said the European Union should respect the provisions of the CPA as well as the choice of Southern Sudanese.
Meanwhile, the SPLM has distanced itself from a group that goes by the same acronym, SPLM-DC.
The Southern Sudanese government said there are indications that the SPLM-DC was created and financed by the National Congress Party, (NCP) to destroy the implementation of the CPA as well as deny Southern Sudanese self-determination.
But the NCP has denied the allegations.
Gatkuoth expressed suspicion about the activities of the group.
“SPLM-DC which is headed by Lam Akol who is a known traitor to the people of Southern Sudan his actions are not new to us, SPLM-DC is nothing more than the National Congress Party itself,” Gatkuoth said.
He said there is proof that the NCP backs the activities of the SPLM-DC.
“We have evidence that they (NCP) are financially supporting Lam Akol. The Friendship
Hall that they are having the conference in is the building of the NC even for you to secure it to have a convention in it the NCP (has) to approve it. It is very strange for any political party to have this hall if you are not in line with the NCP,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US special envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration recently travelled to the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba to monitor a bilateral action plan between the SPLM and the NCP which is intended to complete implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Pic: Sudan SPLM member