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Sudan headed towards partition?

Leader of the Sudanese opposition movement – the Popular National Congress – Hasan A-Turabi, has given the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat an interview, in which he expressed his concerns about the possibility that southern Sudan would soon be separated from the country.

The government of Sudan signed a peace agreement on January 9 with its main opposition in the south, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Since then, a new constitution has been drafted, and a new government and parliament have been established, including a vice president from SPLA, the movement which rules southern Sudan.

According to the agreement, after a period of six years, during which the south of Sudan will be given an autonomy status, the southern autonomy will hold a referendum to decide if it wants to part from Sudan and establish its own state.

“The agreement does not include any guarantees for the unity of Sudan, and things are heading towards Sudan’s partition,” said A-Turabi. He then added that in his opinion the south will not wait until the referendum, and that the partition will also spread to Darfur and to the eastern regions of Sudan.

Hasan A-Turabi was the main ideologue of the Islamic fundamentalist government that was set up after President Al-Bashir seized power in 1989. In 1999 Al-Bashir accused A-Turabi – then the speaker of parliament – of trying to seize power. A-Turabi was stripped of his role and formed the Popular National Congress and has since become the most prominent Islamist in opposition.

During the interview, A-Turabi also criticized Washington and other Western capitals of “inventing” Al-Qa’ida for their own propaganda purposes.