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Sudan president swears in new national unity cabinet healing north-south rift

Sudan president swears in new national unity cabinet healing north-south rift

A host of new ministers and presidential advisers in Khartoum's new unity cabinet were sworn in Thursday, officially ending a three-month-old opposition walkout and political crisis that had threatened to re-ignite Sudan's north-south civil war.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his one-time military rival First Vice President Salva Kiir swore in the new cabinet members at the Republican Palace before they went to the council of ministers to hold a symbolic opening session.
"This ceremony means the so-called crisis between the two partners is officially over now," the Presidential Press Adviser Mahjoub Fadul said in a statement following the ceremony.
Sudan's bloody two decade north-south civil war resulted in an estimated 2 million dead and only ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which envisioned creating a unity government including the southern Sudanese People's Liberation Movement.
The whole agreement was thrown into question, however, when the SPLM ministers walked out of the cabinet in October in protest of what it said was Khartoum's foot-dragging in implementing key points of the peace deal.
The new cabinet features several ministers from the SPLM, as well as strident government opponents, such as Mansour Khalid, who hails from a prominent northern family, and has held posts of foreign minister and education minister and has also fought the government on the side of the southerners.
"We are now looking forward to a new phase after the two parties have overcome their differences and we look to working in the coming phase to implement what has been agreed upon," he said after being sworn in as a presidential adviser.
SPLM's return followed negotiations earlier this month between al-Bashir and Salva Kiir in which the two agreed to resolve some of the issues that had prompted SPLM's boycott and thrown the country's government into its largest crisis to date.
The most prominent new appointment was that of Deng Alor, a former cabinet affairs minister who was named new foreign minister, replacing Lam Akol _ a southerner deemed too sympathetic to the north.
In total, the SPLM received three presidential adviser posts, seven ministerial appointments and six posts as ministers of state.
SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum was named minister for cabinet affairs . He is known as a hard-liner who has often clashed with al-Bashir's National Congress Party.
SPLM accused the government of not sharing the country's oil wealth as agreed, not pulling troops out of southern Sudan, and remilitarizing contested border zones where the main oil reserves are located.
But after al-Bashir and Kiir talks, the two sides said they had agreed on a timetable for the redeployment of their forces and the deployment of joint units in the sensitive oil field areas.
Among issues that remained unresolved is who would control the oil-rich Abyei region, contested by northern and southern Sudan.


Updated : 2021-04-12 20:07 GMT+08:00