Sudan's president has said the government and the country's main rebel group were committed to a united Sudan although they have agreed a peace deal offering the south an option to secede in a future referendum.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir spoke late on Saturday on return from Uganda where he held his first meeting with John Garang, head of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) which has been fighting a 19-year-old civil war against Khartoum.
"Both the government and the SPLA expressed their acceptance of the Machakos protocol and commitment to peace and unity, voluntary unity in Sudan," Bashir said referring to the Kenyan town where the peace protocol was announced earlier this month. "The meeting of the three was good spirited and helped to create a personal relationship," Bashir said.
According to Reuters, analysts said the option of secession for the south could raise concerns in neighboring states, chiefly Egypt which shares the Nile waters with Sudan and other countries and would not want an additional state demanding a share of the resource.
Sudan's First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha is due to arrive in Cairo on Sunday as part of the government's diplomatic effort to explain the deal to nearby countries. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)