SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990707]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990707]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 7 July

Fighting in Unity State intensifies

A resurgence of fighting between two pro-government southern factions has been reported in oil-rich Unity State, news agencies said. Heavy clashes between the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) led by Riek Machar and the forces of Paulino Matib started on Saturday, BBC reported on Tuesday. It quoted an SSDF commander as saying SSDF forces had killed 200 of Matib's forces and taken another 109 prisoner. A Matib assistant told the BBC that SPLA rebels were fighting alongside the SSDF. Government troops in the area were reported to have not intervened to stop the fighting, it added.

Uganda accused of "masterminding" offensive

The Sudan government has accused Uganda of "masterminding" plans for a "wide-scale offensive" centred around Juba, AFP reported. Quoting the official SUNA news agency on Tuesday, it said Uganda, working with other countries in the region, was planning the assault for sometime in July. "Forces made up of three infantry brigades consisting of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), and mercenaries from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania and equipped with troop transport vehicles, tanks, artillery in addition to helicopters, have been massed inside Uganda to carry out the offensive," SUNA said, quoting military sources. The SPLA has denied the presence of any foreign elements in the rebel army.

OIC calls for end to sanctions

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has "reiterated its call to the United States to lift the unilateral economic sanctions imposed on the Sudan in view of their harmful effects and the losses incurred by the Sudanese people economically and socially". The call was made in the final recommendations of the OIC's 26th ministerial session, held in Burkina Faso from 28 June to 1 July. The OIC, 26 of whose 56 member states are in Africa, also backed Sudan's request for an "international investigating commission under the supervision of the Security Council to investigate US allegations that the Al Shefa pharmaceutical factory produces toxic chemical gases". It confirmed "full solidarity with Sudan in facing hostile designs against its security and national integrity".

Canadian grant seeks to "rekindle" peace process

Canada is providing 400,000 Canadian dollars to the International Resource Group on Disarmament and Security in the Horn of Africa (IRG) to rekindle the stalled peace process in Sudan. A report from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) said the IRG will act as an advisory body to the negotiations and "engage envoys to regularly brief participants in the peace talks". The IRG is an international panel of former ministers of African countries, former high-level international and regional government leaders, and leading academics, it said.

Meanwhile, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustapha Osman Ismail said on Wednesday that the next round of Sudan peace talks organised by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), scheduled for 19-24 July in Nairobi, will focus on "a comprehensive ceasefire, the transitional period, and a referendum," Sudanese Radio reported.

Bashir agrees to hold national conference

The government has agreed to hold a national reconciliation conference "to bring about unity, peace, freedom and progress" in the country, Sudanese television reported recently. It quoted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir as saying, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the coup that brought him to power, that the government would seek to expand power-sharing and freedom.

Meanwhile, Bashir inaugurated Sudan's first private sector oil refinery in the Khartoum suburb of al-Shajarah as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, news agencies reported. The Concorp installation will refine some 10,000 barrels per day, AFP said.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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