London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] have condemned reports coming from sources within Khartoum saying that President Al-Bashir summoning Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor for questioning on statements he made during a his recent visit to Washington.
These statements revolve around the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court [ICC] against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. Alor played down these reports, and stressed that he visited Washington with SPLM Secretary-General Pagan Amum in his capacity as an SPLM member, and not in any official capacity.
Following his return to Khartoum Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor told Asharq Al-Awsat “I informed President Al-Bashir that I would be visiting Washington ob behalf of SPLM leader Salva Kiir, and that the visit was specifically for the SPLM. I asked him if he had any views he wished expressed to the relevant parties in the US administration.”
He added “President Al-Bashir asked me to inform the US administration that the Sudanese government was willing to enter into unconditional dialogue with it, and this is what I informed Washington which welcomed what we passed on to them from Al-Bashir.”
With regards to the press reports in Khartoum on his statements, these came during a seminar in Washington. He said that he answered a question on the views of the SPLM and on the differences of opinion within the movement, especially with regards to the ICC. Alor said that he made clear that prior to the issuance of the ICC arrest warrant against Al-Bashir the view of the SPLM had not crystallized, but following its issuance the SPLM agreed on the need to engage with the UN Security Council in order to deal with the international community, as well as the need for the government to cooperate with the ICC.
Alor said “We have the right to discuss [different] opinions on issues affecting the SPLM” adding “as for the issue of the government’s expulsion of international organizations [from Sudan] our position is clear and unequivocal, and that is that the SPLM, and at the highest level, was unaware of this decision until after it was issued, and it came as a surprise to us all.”
SPLM spokesman Yen Mathew informed Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone that “We are not students at the school of international conferences in the way that they think.”
He stressed that that the expulsion of the international [aid] organizations was something that the SPLM openly rejected saying “This was a decision taken by head of the Security Service General Salah Abdullah and we reject it.”
He added that the National Congress [Sudanese ruling party] previously tried to make allegations against Pagan Amum but had failed saying “These are hallucinations and phobias spread by the influential in the ruling party…they should [instead] seek solutions to problems facing this country.”
With regards to US envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration SPLM spokesman Yen Mathew said “The USA dispatched envoy Gration to become acquainted with Sudan in order to form an opinion on the issues that confront us, and to listen to all parties and to submit a report to the Obama administration.”
On a separate issue, informed sources in the SPLM said that the United States approved a request made by the movement’s delegation that recently visited Washington to strengthen the air defense capabilities of south Sudan, which SPLM governs as a semi-autonomous region under the comprehensive peace accord between it and the north. The sources said the US Congress agreed to support the government of the south with $275 million in order to redress the deficit in its budget.
Other sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SPLM delegation asked for action to strengthen the capabilities of the People’s Army that belongs to the south Sudan government. The sources explained that the SPLM delegation made this request at a meeting at the US Defense Department with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Theresa Whelan and (Patricia Jacobek), the department’s official in charge of the Sudan program, during the delegation’s recent visit to Washington.
The sources added that the Pentagon pledged to reinforce the south army’s air defenses and other military units. However, the sources did not elaborate. They did not say whether the reinforcement of the air defense capabilities will include planes or antiaircraft guns. SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum only said his delegation’s visit was successful and fruitful and that it achieved all its goals for which it came.
The US Congress pledged to give $275 million to support the government of south Sudan, which is led by the SPLM under the leadership of Sudanese First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The aim of the aid is to redress the government’s budget deficit.
Meanwhile, sources that chose not to give their names told Asharq al-Awsat that the US Congress pledged to redress the budget deficit of the government of the south, which faces difficulties as a result of the drop in oil prices because it depends on the oil revenues that it shares with the government of the north.
The sources said that the SPLM delegation, led by SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum, Foreign Minister Deng Alor, and Official in charge of the Darfur issue Abdulaziz al-Hilu, submitted a request to the US Administration for a financial aid to the government of south Sudan in order to redress its budget deficit.
The sources added that the chairman of the Congress’s Africa Committee, (Donald Benn), conveyed to the SPLM delegation at an official meeting the approval to give $275 million.
Meanwhile, Edward Lino, a prominent leading figure in the SPLM, dismissed reports in Khartoum that he submitted to SPLM Leader Salva Kiir Mayardit a request in writing to resign his port in the SPLM.
He jokingly said: “News of my resignation from the SPLM is an April fool.”
He added: “I assert to the SPLM followers in the name of the martyrs who fell under the banner of the SPLM that I will not leave my post in the SPLM and the People’s Army at all. I will remain a dedicated soldier struggling for our people’s rights.”
He accused the National Congress Party of fabricating the report.