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From left: Southern Sudanese youths perform a traditional dance at the gravesite of late southern Sudanese leader John Garang during a protest in favour of separation from northern Sudan in Juba yesterday. Sudanese men carrying ballot boxes for the upcoming referendum. A southern Sudanese military policeman places flowers on the gravesite of late local leader John Garang.
By Fazeena Saleem and Ahmed El Amin
DOHA: Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir yesterday hinted that the referendum in the South beginning tomorrow could lead to its separation from the north.
He alluded that if the South separated from the North, Khartoum would not take offence to Juba establishing links with Israel.
“Juba’s relation with Tel Aviv should not affect the north,” said Al Bashir, in an exclusive interview with the Al Jazeera Arabic channel.
In the interview broadcast last evening, he told the interviewer Ghada Uwais, that Israel already has embassies in neighbuoring countries, in what was apparently a veiled refernce to Egypt and Jordan.
However, he assured that the southerners living in the northern part of Sudan will not be ill-treated if the country is split by the referendum.
“They will live as foreigners, enjoying some advantages and privileges. None will be sent out of their homes. Now there are 20 percent of southerners employed in the public service including military jobs, if there is a division, we will give these jobs to the northerners but we will assure all rights of the southerners according to the civil service regulations,” said Al Bashir.
He also said a European-style pact will be possibly established with the South because there are many social, cultural and economic ties between both parts of the country. Answering a query about the border between the northern and southern parts of Sudan, Al Bashir said that the present boundary will remain as it is until the committee appointed to decide on it reports its findings.
He denied allegations that he has been instyrumental in dividing Sudan. He blamed the international community for a conspiracy against Muslim countries.
“I don’t feel that I’m the reason for the unrest in Sudan, since we are only applying the comprehensive peace agreement signed in 2005, which clearly gave people of the south the right to choose separation or unity,” said Al Bashir.
“But historically the British rule was the main reason for dividing Sudan according to racial, linguistic and cultural components. And now there is a conspiracy led by the international community to weaken the Arab Muslim countries through wars and social disorders,” he added.
However, he said America may not military intervene in Sudan and repeat its mistakes like in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Referring to the Doha Forum negotiations, Al Bashir said the military movements which participated in the Doha talks cannot be considered representatives of the people and negotiations with the people in Darfur will soon begin, he added.
“Those military movements are not the real representatives of the people in the war, though they have presence on the ground. In the coming days, we will deal with people living in Darfur, who have their own political, economic administrative institutions,” he said.
He also admitted that Abeyi Region will be treated according to the memorandum, which speaks clearly about Dinka Angoog and other citizens living there. Therefore, both the government and the Sudan People Liberation Movement should control their people to avoid bloodshed.
“From our side I guarantee that the Messira tribe will not commit any hostility, but we don’t guarantee the reaction if they act,” he said.
Further, all accusations of the International Criminal Court against Sudan are only politically motivated accused, Al Bashir, claiming that all African countries are against the court. However, he said Sudan will deal with America and European countries with good diplomatic relationships.