Juba, Asharq Al-Awsat – Sudanese First Vice President, and President of the Southern Sudanese government, Salva Kiir, told Asharq Al-Awsat that what has been said about the Southern Sudanese government having ties with Israel is untrue and inaccurate.
Asharq Al-Awsat learnt that during a closed meeting with Arab League Secretary-General in Juba, Kiir comprehensively denied reports about the existence of ties between Southern Sudan and Israel, and said that he understood the Arab sensitivity towards this issue.
In a press conference held following Kiir’s meeting with Moussa, the Southern Sudanese government president confirmed that he would not resort to war or violence, and that he will seek to make security “the primary issue.”
Answering a question put to him by Asharq Al-Awsat about the possibility of a meeting being held with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to discuss the outstanding issues and reduce the tensions between the north and the south, Kiir said that “we have agreed to discuss all outstanding issues with the National Congress party via dialogue, without resorting to violence or war. We hope to make security top of the agenda, and to solve all issues by dialogue.”
As for his position with regards to the forthcoming southern secession referendum that is scheduled to take place on 9 January 2011, Kiir said “if the people vote for unity, we will accept the results, and we are working to ensure that the referendum takes place in a transparent and free manner, to allow the citizens to choose either unity or secession.”
As for the future in any potential southern Sudanese state, Salva Kiir told the press that “if the referendum results in the creation of a [new] state, we have potential to draw upon, and we open the door to all our friends [to assist us]. We will not rely upon any one individual…we will rely upon ourselves.” As for whether he would accept support from the north, he said “we will not reject any support from the north.”
Asharq Al-Awsat obtained information about the discussion held between Salva Kiir and Amr Moussa during their closed meeting which focused upon the possible relationship between southern Sudan and Israel. Salva Kiir and a number of his ministers confirmed that what is being reported [about the existence of such a relationship] is inaccurate, and that Southern Sudan understands and appreciates the sensitivity of this issue. Salva Kiir also asked the Arab League Secretary-General to open an independent diplomatic embassy in Juba, which Moussa said is an issue that he will raise with the Arab League.
Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that Moussa told Salva Kiir “you have many different titles, the First Vice President, the President of the Juba government, and perhaps soon this will only be one title [if the south chooses secession]….so what is it that you want; many different titles, or just one, following the referendum?”
Sources revealed that Kiir answered “anybody who looks at the hats that I wear, will see that these are hats worn by the people of the south, who will decide what they want in the referendum” He added that “with the support of the Arab League, we will be able to overcome any problems.”
Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that Salva Kiir expressed his satisfaction with regards to the good news brought to him by Amr Moussa from the north, over its desire to have good relations with any possible southern state. He said that balanced relations will always be in the interest of stability. Kiir also confirmed that the unity government [in the north], the southern Juba government, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] and the National Congress party, will continue to cooperate for a common future. Salva Kiir also thanked Moussa for the effort he had exerted since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and for his support of [Sudanese] stability, as well as his initiative to attract Arab development to southern Sudan.
Salva Kiir said that southern Sudan’s relations with the Arab world must not end after the referendum. Sources quoted Kiir as saying that “Southern Sudan will continue to have good relations with the entire Arab world without exception.”
Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that Kiir and Moussa spoke in detail about holding the necessity of holding another Juba Summit for economic development, and the importance of supporting economic development in southern Sudan.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salva Kiir said that “since the era of colonization, and until Sudanese independence, and even until today, the south has been marginalized and deprived of [economic] development.””
Salva Kiir also welcomed the Arab states who are concerned with southern Sudanese development, saying that “this period is witnessing media tension which for its part is affecting the political situation, but we must deal with all of this tension in a firm manner, and not believe in rumors and accusations.”
He added “we are certain of the presence of our Arab neighbors…and this will help us in confronting the economic crisis, which will result in stability in this important region.”
Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that Moussa revealed that he has “strong feelings” that there is a “strong desire for a friendly and healthy relationship between the [northern and southern Sudanese] neighbors.” Moussa added that “the past is the past” and that “we must prepare for the future based upon a solid foundation.”
During the closed session, Asharq Al-Awsat also learnt that Moussa revealed that preparations are ongoing for the second Juba summit in two months, and that Moussa pledged to continue to call for Arab development in southern Sudan. The Arab League Secretary-General also said that the Arab League supports peace and stability in Sudan, and that “every problem has a solution.” He stressed that the people of Sudan are not voting [in the referendum] to incite war, but for peace, good brotherly relations, and mutual respect [between north and south Sudan].