S Sudan says it will suspend talks with North

Last Updated: Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 22:03

Juba: Southern Sudan is suspending
talks and diplomatic contact with northern Sudan over claims
that the northern government is funding militias in the south,
a top Southern Sudanese official said on Sunday.

The announcement, which follows clashes that have
killed hundreds of people in recent months, could further
destabilize what will become the world`s newest country in
July.

Pagan Amum, the secretary-general of the Sudan
People`s Liberation Movement, on Sunday repeated allegations
that the northern government is arming local tribes to use as
proxy forces, a tactic it has repeatedly used in both southern
Sudan and the western region of Darfur.

"The country is in a crisis because the (northern
ruling party) has been planning and working to destabilize
Southern Sudan," he told reporters in the southern capital of
Juba. He offered to provide documentary evidence on Monday.

The oil-rich south voted in January to secede from the
north, but there are many issues that still remain
unaddressed, including the sharing of oil revenues, the status
of southerners or northerners living across the border, and
who controls the disputed border region of Abyei, a fertile
area near large oil fields.

Many southerners fear the north does not want to lose
southern oil revenues and the two regions may resume their
decades-long civil war.

Amum said that the northern government wanted "to
overthrow the government of Southern Sudan before July and to
install a puppet government" in order to "deny the
independence of Southern Sudan.

"They have stepped up their destabilization of
Southern Sudan by creating, training, and arming and financing
various militia groups in Southern Sudan," he said.

Negotiations over the future of the volatile and
contested north-south borderland of Abyei were set to resume
Monday in Khartoum between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
and southern leader Salva Kiir, with former South African
president Thabo Mbeki mediating the talks, but Amum said
Sunday that these negotiations would not go ahead as planned.
"We have nobody to talk to (in the north)," said Amum.

The northern government has "been arming Arab tribes ... so
that they carry out genocide and destroy Southern Sudan ...
like what they have done in Darfur."

Amum called on the United Nations Security Council to
investigate the allegations.

The suspension of talks follows a raid by rebel forces
opposed to the southern government early Saturday. The rebels
attacked southern army forces in the strategic town of
Malakal, capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 22:03

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