UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
SUDAN: Khartoum plays down alleged strain on peace pact
NAIROBI, 12 May (IRIN) - Sudan has played down media reports that the 1997 peace agreement has been put under severe strain by recent fighting over the control of oilfields in the southern state of Unity, and that the United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF) wants the pact revised.
A spokesman at the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi told IRIN on Wednesday that while there had been violence when "something went wrong" in Unity state, "the government does not have any difficulties with the United Front" nor with its leader, assistant president Riek Machar - a former rebel who was brought into government after the 1997 peace pact.
UDSF spokesman Makuac Teny Youk, a state minister in the Khartoum government, told AFP news agency on Monday that the fighting had led it to seek "to eliminate the shortcomings and assess abidance by the two parties to the provisions of the agreement". On Tuesday, Reuters reported Youk's claim of fresh clashes between government troops and the UDSF's military wing, the Southern Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), at Mayen Dit, north of Ler in Unity state.
Youk blamed the government for the violence, saying the 1997 peace pact had put oilfields in Unity under SSDF control and that an increase in government troop numbers in Ler in early May "impaired the government's sincerity towards achieving peace and eliminated the chances of success of the forthcoming peace negotiations" with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army in the south.
The Sudanese embassy spokesman told IRIN the fighting in Unity state had been "contained" and that a joint committee of government and SSDF forces had gone to the area to "work out a solution" to any outstanding issues.
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 17:05:37 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: SUDAN: Khartoum plays down alleged strain on peace pact 
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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