Sudanese President Says Coming Year Will Be Devoted to Peace
Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir said Friday that he would devote the coming year to achieving peace in his war-torn country, said AFP.
Addressing a ceremony held Friday commemorating the 12th anniversary of his seizure of power in a coup d'etat, Beshir said achieving peace "will be one of our greatest battles in the new year," -- his 13th in power since June 1989.
"We will reach peace whatever the difficulties may be," Beshir vowed, noting that development programs which he said were being launched in southern Sudan would help the peace process.
The ceremony was attended by Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who was decorated by Bashir during the ceremony, and delegates from Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Africa, Senegal and other countries, said agencies.
Beshir said he was willing to improve relations with all countries, without mentioning any one in particular.
"We are ready to establish positive relations with all countries of the world based on mutual interests and non-interference in the domestic affairs of any country," said Bashir in his televised speech.
He declared support for the Palestinian people and for their "just cause," denounced "the Israeli oppression" and called upon the international community to assume a supportive position on the Palestinian cause.
Beshir also called upon the international community to lift sanctions on Iraq.
Earlier, Bashir held talks with Moussa on efforts to bring about peace in Sudan.
Moussa, who received on Thursday the head of the opposition Sudanese National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mohammad Al Mirghani, discussed with Bashir the new version of the Egyptian-Libyan peace initiative that has been unanimously adopted by an assembly of Sudanese southern and northern opposition groups.
The opposition groups have unanimously approved a new version of Egyptian-Libyan peace plan that calls for a transitional government.
The National Democratic Alliance, which includes the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army and northern opposition groups, "unanimously approved" the plan Thursday following three days of meetings in Cairo, NDA spokesman Hatem Al Sir Ali said.
Diplomats from Egypt and Libya on Tuesday submitted the plan in a memorandum to the Sudanese government, the NDA and the separate northern opposition Umma Party.
"The memorandum focuses on the principles and foundations proposed by the two countries, including setting up a national transition government, with the participation of all Sudanese parties," Ali said.
Ali said the plan was a "new version" of the one first proposed by Libya and Egypt two years ago, adding it contained principles for resolving differences that were not included in the original plan.
According to independent Sudanese newspapers, those principles include unity, citizenship as a basis for rights and duties, recognition of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, introduction of a pluralist democracy, guaranteeing basic freedoms and human rights, establishment of a decentralized system of rule, and pursuance of a foreign policy that guarantees national interests and respects good neighborly relations.
The memorandum also calls for the formation of a transitional government of all political parties to undertake implementation of the agreement, hold a national conference for revision of the Constitution, and organize general elections.
It provides for an undertaking by all parties of an immediate cessation of fighting.
Ali said Khartoum had rejected the plan.
However, a Sudanese government official was quoted by AFP as saying in remarks published Friday in Khartoum that the memorandum was "under study" by the Sudanese authorities – Albawaba.com
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