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China supports unity of Sudan, urges transparent and credible referendum

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July 4, 2010 (Khartoum) The Chinese envoy to Darfur Liu Guijin on Sunday said his country favors unity of Sudan and a political solution to Darfur conflict.

The Chinese official reaffirms his country commitment to peace in Sudan. He praises progress made by the NCP and the SPLM on the CPA implementation.

"We are supporting the two major partners to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the National Congress Party and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to work together to try to solve the difficulties and obstacles on the way and to have a credible, transparent and fair referendum," Liu told reporters in Khartoum.

Sudan’s minister for cabinet affairs in the unity government, Luka Biong Deng, a leading figure in South Sudan’s ruling party, met with the Chinese official. They discussed the upcoming January 2011 referendum, Darfur problem, and many other issues.

"China wishes to cooperate with the North and South," Liu said.

“Beijing was in favor of the unity of Africa’s largest country”, AFP quoted the Chinese envoy as saying.

Mr. Liu Guijin also met with Ghazi Salahedden, Omar al-Bashir’s adviser on Darfur.

"The only way to resolve the problem in Darfur is through peaceful negotiations, through the political process, any boycotting of the political process, any choice of remaining outside the political process is not acceptable, is not conducive to peace and to the resolution of the problem," Chinese special envoy to Darfur told reporters after meeting with Salahedden.

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UK aid Agency accuses SPLA of arresting and beating its employees

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July 3, 2010 (Malakal) Four employees of the UK-based aid agency, Tearfund, were detained and bleated by the semi-autonomous army of Southern Sudan – agency officials have said.

SPLA denied the accusations and said “all four employees were arrested on suspicion of helping anti-government militias”.

One employee is a Kenyan, and the other three are Sudanese, according to a statement released by the agency.

The Southern army said they stopped Tearfund employees because some people from Shilluk tribe told them that the four aid workers were transporting medicines to Dr. Lam Akol’s forces believed to be in the area.

"Our staff were transporting medical supplies to medical facilities in the area … At the roadblock the four staff were detained by SPLA forces and they were accused of having a political motive … I can confirm they were beaten in detention," said Tearfund spokesman Jonathan Spencer.

“The men were moved to Southern capital Juba later in the week and all four had since been released and told to wait in the city to face more questioning”, he continues.

Tearfund said one of its employees need medical treatment and the other three were badly hurt.

“Soldiers stopped the four men on Sunday at a roadblock near Kodok in the South’s Upper Nile state, aid officials told Reuters.

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Battle for the Nile intensified, Rivals race for diplomatic solutions

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June 25, 2010 (SSNA) —This week, fight over who owns the Nile has reached political peak, with Cairo leading the way on diplomatic fronts. During the colonial era, Egypt was the only nation to oversee and manage the use of Nile waters. But now, things have changed.

Egyptian Finance Minister Youssef Botrous Ghali travelled to Burundi earlier this week for talks regarding the treaty, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

"This is serious," said Henriette Ndombe, executive director of the intergovernmental Nile Basin Initiative, established in 1999 to oversee the negotiation process and enhance co-operation. "This could be the beginning of a conflict."

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief, is in talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala over differences concerning the recent Nile basin agreement, Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported on Thursday.

"We were saying: ‘This is crazy! You cannot claim these rights without obligations”, Isaac Musumba, Uganda’s state minister for regional affairs, and its Nile representative, told the Guardian.

In May, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania signed a "River Nile Basin Co-operative Framework" agreement. Kenya which was first seen as less interested in the agreement later signed on. Burundi, along with Congo, abstained from signing the agreement.

Under the agreement, each state’s share of the Nile Basin water will depend on climate, economic, population, social, and other important issues.

“All the upstream states saw the move by Egypt (Sudan has a more passive role) as "tantamount to an insult", Minelik Alemu Getahun, one of Ethiopia’s negotiators, was quote by the Guardian as saying.

If the deal is ratify, a body to decide on water allocation will be set up without Egypt and Sudan that need the river most. This causes panic in Cairo.

The 1929 bilateral treaty gave Cairo a power to veto any water development project in the Nile basin.

In 1959, Egypt and Sudan signed a deal that gave them "full utilisation of the Nile waters".

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Kiir Forms First Elected Government

June 21, 2010 (Juba) — The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir, has appointed his new cabinet. Names of those who have been appointed in the new government are as follows:

1. Mr. Kosti Manibe Ngai – Minister of Cabinet Affairs

2. Mr. Pagan Amum – Minister of Peace and CPA Implementation

3. Mr. Nhial Deng Nhial – Minister of SPLA and Veteran Affairs

4. Mr. Deng Alor – Minister of Regional Cooperation

5. Dr. Cirino Hitend Ofuho – Minister in the Office of the President

6. Mr. John Luyk Jok – Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development

7. Mr. Gier Chuon Aluong – Minister of Internal Affairs

8. Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth – Minister of Parliamentary Affairs

9. Mr. David Deng Athorbei – Minister of Finance and Economic Planning

10. Gen. Oyay Deng Ajak – Minister for Investment

11. Mrs. Awut Deng Acuil – Minister of Labour and Public Service

12. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin – Minister of Information

13. Dr. Luka Tombekana Manoja – Minister of Health

14. Dr. Samson Lukare Kwaje – Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

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SPLA clashed with Athor’s Loyalists, 13 dead

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June 16, 2010 (Khartoum) — South Sudan’s army said on Wednesday 10 members of a renegade militia and three soldiers were killed in a gunbattle in the region’s Jonglei oil state.

A 35-strong search team came across George Athor’s rebels on Tuesday, a day after it had flushed him out of a hideout, according to the southern army (SPLA).

Athor launched a rebellion after failing to win Jonglei’s governorship in an April election, accusing the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) of rigging the vote. Last month Athor said he was coordinating attacks with two other militia leaders in Jonglei and neighbouring Unity state, raising fears for regional stability in the run-up to a potentially explosive secession referendum due in January 2011.

There have been reports of scattered attacks but they have not coalesced into a large uprising.

"The reconnaissance platoon found his new place suddenly and there was an exchange of fire near Dier village in Khorfulus County," SPLA spokesman Kuol Diem Kuol said.

"From the SPLA side, three were killed and eight wounded and from Athor’s side 10 killed."

Athor did not answer calls on Wednesday.

Earlier Kuol said SPLA troops attacked Athor’s forces in the village of Wunlam on Monday night, after they were led to the hideout, also in Khorfulus County, by one of Athor’s men captured in an earlier fight.

"He is running with less than 30 soldiers. They are his close relatives from the village … Our forces are now pursuing him. We expect his capture within days," said Kuol, adding the SPLA captured 13 of Athor’s men and radio equipment on Monday.

Last week the SPLA said it chased militia commander Galwak Gai out of his base in Unity state, which includes oilfields operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), a consortium led by China’s CNPC. French group Total holds a largely unexplored oil concession in Jonglei.

South Sudan, the source of most of Sudan’s oil, secured a referendum on whether to split off as a separate country in a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war with the north.

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