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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Khartoum Votes to Extend State of Emregency

September 12, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese parliament on Monday endorsed the extension of the state of emergency in the border state of Blue Nile and also approved the military campaign undertaken by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) against the fighters from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

The chairman of the national assembly's special session Ismail al-Haj Moussa announced the decision by the legislative body concurring with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir's imposition of emergency law this month.

Moussa said the parliament called on the government to continue the “military resolution of the insurgency irrespective of any talks”.

But MP Mohamed Al-Hassan al-Amin from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) objected to the indefinite extension of the emergency state saying it is unconstitutional.

Al-Amin said that article 211 of the constitution states that the state of emergency can only be extended for a specified amount of time.

However, he was countered by the parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir who said that his objections were raised after the resolution was already adopted.

Fighting broke out this month in the Blue Nile state between SAF and SPLM-N but circumstances regarding who started it remain unclear.

The Blue Nile governor Malik Agar who is also the head of SPLM-N was removed by Bashir and declared a fugitive by other Sudanese officials.

This follows fighting in South Kordofan last June between government forces and SPLM-N units led by former deputy governor Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu.

Bashir rejected a framework agreement on cessation of hostilities in South Kordofan that was mediated by an African Union panel despite being signed by one of his key aides.

The Sudanese parliament expressed its total rejection of any foreign interference and urged the government not to bow to any pressure» exerted to stop the military campaign.

Meanwhile the defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein told the national assembly that the SPLM-N forces have sustained heavy losses in the Blue Nile. He said that the SPLM-N lost around a 100 fighters including seven officers as well scores of injuries and POW's.

He also disclosed that SPLM-N made several attempts to take over the town of Geissan most recently a few days ago with the participation of a battalion from the Republic of South Sudan. Hussein stressed that SAF is imposing a blockade Kabbanat region where he said SPLM-N units have assembled.

At today's session MP's shouted slogans describing Agar as a “traitor” and vowed not to negotiate with him.

Last week the United States special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said the situation in the border States is “very dangerous”.

"The two sides are not still talking to each other. That means the situation remains very dangerous. Fighting is going on," Lyman said after meeting Sudan's Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, and other officials.

Lyman also criticized Khartoum's decision to close down SPLM-N offices.

"If there is going to be a discussion and political talks, who are you going to talk to? Of course you are going to talk to the SPLM-North. It's a major political party in Sudan. Closing down offices does not help," he said.

The US official also warned Sudan that the normalization of ties process is in danger given the humanitarian situation in the two states.

Tensions have mounted in Blue Nile and other territories along Sudan's poorly-defined border with South Sudan since the south declared independence in July.

The territories are all still home to tens of thousands of people from ethnic groups that sided with the south during decades of civil war that led up to independence.

The Rest @ Sudan Tribune

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