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Sudan president calls on political parties to ready for elections

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January 1, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir urged political parties to prepare for the upcoming general elections promising that they will be conducted in a “fair” manner.

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Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses a military parade during Independence Day celebrations in Khartoum, December 31, 2008 (Reuters)

Al-Bashir speaking during the Independence Day show appealed to the electoral commission to speed up setting up a timetable for holding the elections.

“We call on all political powers to get ready for next phase; the phase of going back to the people. Renewing the mandate to rule the country through fair and free elections” Al-Bashir said.

“We reiterate our commitment to double efforts to create all the necessary requirements for that and clearing all difficulties that come in the way” he added.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which is signed on January 9 2005 between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) calls for elections no later than July 2009 as part of a democratic transition in the country.

But last November a UN consultative team of experts advised the semi-autonomous southern Sudan government to postpone the next year general elections to November 2009 till the end of rainy season in order to avoid the logistical complications.

The NCP however insisted that there would be no delay in elections.

The Sudanese president vowed to conduct a foreign policy based on “trying to befriend all countries and strengthening relations particularly African neighbors including brothers in Chad”.

He further thanked a number of countries for investing in his country including China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran and South Africa.

Reuters reported that the military parade held this year was described as a show of strength aimed at critics supporting a war crimes case against its president and Darfur rebels threatening more attacks.

Diplomats attending the parade told Reuters they saw several missiles and Iranian multi-barreled rocket launchers.

Four jet planes that flew over the crowd were said by the official announcer at the show to be Sukhoi Su-25s which were added to the air force in 2008. Diplomats said the Su-25, also known as the “Frogfoot”, was first developed in Russia.

In mid-July the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder and accused Al-Bashir of masterminding a campaign to get rid of the African tribes in Darfur; Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.

The ICC judges are still reviewing the evidence before making a ruling that could come as early as in a few weeks.

“On Sudan’s Independence Day, we reject any parties that want to target Sudan’s independence. We warn any enemies who want to target the independence and unity of Sudan” Al-Bashir said.

In late December the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) warned of imminent attack on the positions of the Sudanese government.

On May 10 JEM launched an attack on Omdurman, the twin city of the capital Khartoum. More than 222 people were killed in this raid.

The assault caused embarrassed the Sudanese government and its military. Sudanese lawmakers lashed out at the defense minister calling on him to resign.

(ST)

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Written by torit1955

January 2, 2009 at 6:16 am

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