Umar al-Bashir, president of Sudan, has quit peace talks in Ethiopia that were aiming to end clashes in Southern Kordofan. This comes just 2 days before South Sudan is to become independent.
In a rally today in the White Nile state, Al-Bashir said: “There will be no more negotiations outside Sudan.”
That statement was made during a televised speech live on the state Sudan TV station.
More than 73,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since June 5th, due to the fighting between the Sudanese government forces and troops loyal to Southern Sudan's army in Southern Kordofan.
Southern Kordofan is still “tense and volatile” the U.N. said today, and concerns are now emerging in the country’s ability to establish and maintain peace during the period in which troops withdraw from the border, and the implications for the upcoming independence for the south.
Many are now concerned that the current situation could escalate and see the resumption of the 21 year-long civil war that ended in 2005.
Every day from since June 30, heavy gunfire and aerial bombardments have occurred around the state capital of Kadugli.
Emailed reports from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also explained that helicopter gunships “engaged in offensive air operations” west of Kadugli on July 4th.
In attempts to mediate negotiations on Southern Kordofan, Former South African President Thabo Mbkei went to Sudan from Ethiopia to meet with al-Bashir. However, the attempt proved unsuccessful.
The secretary-general of the northern branch of Southern Sudan's ruling party, Yasser Arman said today to reporters in Addis Ababa: “Unfortunately President Mbeki failed in his mission with President Bashir.”
Arman continued to tell reporters that “President Bashir wants to continue a new war in the north and it's known there are a lot of atrocities, especially in Southern Kordofan and there is an ethnic cleansing.”