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Sudan opposition alliance to sign AU- proposed peace road-map

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- A major opposition alliance in Sudan on Monday declared its agreement on an African Union (AU)-proposed road-map to end war in the country.

The opposition Sudan Call, an alliance bringing together Sudanese armed groups and opposition parties, said it would sign the road-map, proposed last March by the AU.

“We will sign the road-map during a meeting between the leaders of the parties and the AU mediator Thabo Mbeki, to be convened soon in Addis Ababa or Johannesburg,” Omer Al-Digair, head of the Sudanese Congress Party, a major party in the opposition alliance, said at a press conference in Khartoum, without giving a specific date for the meeting.

“The matter depends on the mediator’s acceptance of our demands, including the call for a preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa,” he added.

Mariam Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, Deputy Chairperson of the opposition National Umma Party, for her part, said “there will be nothing to prevent us from signing the road-map after agreeing on our demands.”

Last March, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) proposed a road-map agreement for the Sudanese rivals, stipulating arrangements related to cease-fire at South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions, entering a peace process and involving the armed movements in the national dialogue currently convened in Khartoum.

The Sudanese government unilaterally signed the road-map agreement, while the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector, the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLA)/Minni Minnawi faction and the opposition National Umma Party refused to sign the deal.

The Darfur armed groups and the SPLM/northern sector insist that a preparatory conference should be held, according to decisions by the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council, to bring together all the Sudanese political forces to agree on procedures to initiate an equitable dialogue with the government, a demand that the Sudanese government rejects.


Arab League voices concern over South Sudan deadly clashes

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) voiced concern over the recent deadly clashes in South Sudan between loyalists of the country’s president and vice-president in the capital Juba, the pan-Arab body said in a statement Monday.

"Escalation of violence and fights to reach several areas in South Sudan topped by the capital city Juba may have serious consequences that could be hard to control or completely contain in the short run," the statement warned.

Hundreds have been killed in the recent three-day confrontations in South Sudan’s capital Juba between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and troops backing his rival Vice-President Riek Machar. South Sudan’s health ministry said 271 were killed in the fighting on Friday alone.

"This issue raises great fears about the future of security and stability in this newly-established country that represents an important neighborhood to the Arab region," the AL statement added.

That Arab organization also urged the fighting parties to abide by the peace agreement they signed in August 2015, which ended a civil war that broke up in December 2013.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Ministry also expressed "great concern" over South Sudan deadly clashes, calling both sides for self-restraint to avoid returning to war and destruction and waste the gains of peace.

"Egypt will always be ready to provide assistance to the brothers in South Sudan to overcome their disagreements," the Egyptian ministry said in a statement Monday, voicing support for every regional and international effort to end bloodshed and restore stability in South Sudan.

Sudan’s president accuses ICC of corruption

NOUAKCHOTT Mauritania (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of engaging in corruption.

The Sudanese president was speaking during the 27th edition of the Arab League Summit that was held in Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.

"This institution is undermined by corruption and its actions do not contribute to justice at the international level, but only tarnishes our country’s image," al-Bashir said.

"Media recently released information linking ICC to corrupt activities and we have documents that show real evidence," the Sudanese president said.

In 2009 and 2010, the ICC issued two arrest warrants against al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide.

The two arrest warrants are in relation to the violence that occurred in Darfur, western Sudan, where over 300,000 lives were lost.

Arab League chief reiterates support for Sudan

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) Secretary General has re-iterated the AL’s support for Sudan, noting that the league will stand with Khartoum to foster cooperation among Arab countries.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday received Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, who arrived in Khartoum in his first visit since assuming his post.

"All Sudan’s initiatives before the coming Arab summit will receive the league’s concern, and the AL has prepared a report about president al-Bashir’s initiative on the Arab food security that will be presented to the Arab leaders to find a mechanism to fund the project," Aboul-Gheit told reporters following his meeting with al-Bashir.

He said he discussed with al-Bashir the efforts to reactivate the mechanisms of joint Arab action.

State minister of Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Obeid-Allah Mohamed Obeid-Allah, for his part, told reporters that "Sudan welcomes the visit of the AL chief and supports his tasks under the great challenges facing the league."

"Sudan supports the secretary general and will cooperate with him in a manner that strengthens the relationship between Sudan and the Arab league," he noted.

Sudan-China week in Khartoum to promote bilateral ties

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Green Square, the largest square in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, has taken on Sudanese and Chinese flags as well as posters and slogans glorifying the historic ties between the two countries in Sudan-China Relations’ Week.

It’s organized by the Higher Committee for Supervising Sudanese-Chinese relations in cooperation with the Council for International People’s Friendship (CIPF) and the Chinese Embassy in Khartoum.

The week includes political, cultural, heritage and sport activities as well as exhibitions.

Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, Sudanese official in charge of Sino-Sudanese relations’ file, and Li Lianhe, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan, inaugurated an exhibition about Chinese culture and the Sino-Sudanese ties.

“The week reflects the remarkable development in the deeply-rooted Sino-Sudanese ties,” Al-Jaz told reporters.

“The Sudanese and Chinese youths are the ones that make this event, and despite the fact that they speak different languages, they act based on common respect. This is the message of the Sino-Sudanese relations’ week and we hope it would be a foundation for further activities,” he said.

Al-Jaz reiterated Sudan’s willingness to enhance the partnership with China in all fields, saying “Sudan highly expresses its appreciation for China’s historical stances towards the Sudanese issues and for the valuable assistance China has provided to Sudan without bargaining or extortion.”

Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Li Lianhe, for his part, expressed his country’s appreciation for the efforts made by Sudan to preserve the deeply-rooted relations between the two countries.

“The ties between China and Sudan is historic, and since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship, the bilateral ties have witnessed continuing development in all fields,” said Li.

He stressed China’s commitment in enhancing its cooperation with Sudan for the mutual interests of the two countries’ peoples.

The diplomatic ties between Sudan and China were established on Jan. 4, 1959. The first protocol for commercial exchange between the two countries was signed in 1962.

China is Sudan’s biggest trade partner; Sudan, in turn, ranks third among China’s African economic partners.

Sudanese pound registers unprecedented decline against U.S. dollar

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese pound on Tuesday sharply declined against the U.S. dollar, with exchange price of a dollar reaching 14.5 Sudanese pounds, according to currency dealers.

"The exchange rate of one U.S. dollar reached 14.5 pounds, the lowest rate which has been registered by the pound so far," dealers in foreign currencies at the parallel market told Xinhua Tuesday.

The official price of the dollar, set by the Central Bank of Sudan, is 6.6 Sudanese pounds.

The dealers expected the dollar price to hit 15 pounds within the coming two days.

The Sudanese pound has been declining in an unprecedented manner since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which caused the country to lose around 70 percent of its oil revenues, creating a big gap in the foreign exchange market and the exchange rate.

The separation has also negatively affected the state budget which dropped to around 50 percent, causing a huge budget deficit.

The Sudanese government has adopted a package of economic measures to revive the economy, including an increase in oil prices, but it has not prevented the Sudanese pound from declining.

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