The formation of the Presidential Cabinet provides a glimmer of hope for the Sudanese peace process despite reports of continuing violence. The Cabinet includes members of the government and the southern rebel leadership.
AP – President Omar el-Bashir said Tuesday he had formed his unity Cabinet, ending weeks of tough negotiations between his party and former rebels and taking another step toward securing peace. The United Nations, meanwhile, said Sudanese rebels have captured a southern Darfur village, placing more than 30,000 civilians at risk and forcing humanitarian workers to flee.
The president, in a brief national television appearance, called the new Cabinet “a beginning of a new era” and an expression of his people’s desire for peace and unity.
El-Bashir did not immediately name the members of the Cabinet, an indication of the sensitivity of the process, but the official Sudan Media Center said Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz of the National Party remained minister of energy and mining. That ministry reportedly had been the subject of tough negotiations as the two parties work out how to share Sudan ‘s oil wealth.
The media center also said the Cabinet included Lam Akol of the one-time rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement as minister of foreign affairs, replacing Mustafa Osman Ismail of el-Bashir’s National Congress.
A Cabinet with ministers from the SPLM and the National Congress was among the provisions hammered out in negotiations that led to a January peace accord ending 21 years of war between the Arab Muslim-dominated north and the African Christian and animist south.
The accord provided for an autonomous south with its own army, national power and wealth-sharing, religious freedom and a new constitution during a six-year interim period. After those six years, the 10 southern states will hold a referendum on independence.
Earlier Tuesday, Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit said in a decree that Southern Sudan ‘s autonomous legislature would meet for the first time Sept. 27 [Go To Full Story]