Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sudan threatens to wage war against South Sudan

 KHARTOUM: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir threatened on Wednesday to overthrow the "insect" government of South Sudan, amid global efforts to pull the rivals from the brink of all-out war after the South seized a key oilfield.

"Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan's citizens from the SPLM ( Sudan People's Liberation Movement), and this is our responsibility before our brothers in South Sudan," Bashir said, adding that the southern government cannot be called a "movement".

"We call it an insect ... trying to destroy Sudan, and our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.

He spoke at a youth rally in support of troops who hope to reclaim Sudan's most important oil field, Heglig, from South Sudanese troops who seized it eight days ago.

"There are two choices: Either we end up in Juba or they end up in Khartoum. The old borders cannot take us both," Bashir said, predicting that the victory will be swift.

"In a few hours you are going to listen to good news from your brothers in Heglig," he told about 3,000 young people, some of them dressed in military gear.

"Heglig will not be the end. The end will be in Juba," the South's capital, said Bashir, whose audience sang songs about jihad, or holy war.

While Bashir forecast a swift victory, a foreign ministry official said Sudan is pursuing both military and diplomatic measures to get South Sudan out of the area.

"Military steps are underway ... and they are calculated measures," Omar Dahab, head of the ministry's crisis team, told a news conference.

"At the same time, they are taking into consideration the diplomatic and good offices efforts regarding the ending of the occupation.

"We have to end the occupation by hook or crook, by either way."

Sudan's military has released virtually no information about the situation on the ground but South Sudan has vowed to hold its positions in Heglig, despite air strikes.

Clashes broke out last month in the Heglig area and escalated last week with waves of aerial bombardment hitting the South and Juba's seizure of the oil centre on April 10.

The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have criticised the South's occupation of the north's most important oil field, equally denouncing Sudanese air strikes against the South.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ASEAN to adopt human rights declaration in November

PHNOM PENH - The Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) has agreed to adopt a human rights declaration at the conclusion of an annual summit here, as the leaders of the 10-nation bloc formally called on the West to lift sanctions against Myanmar.

Regional leaders said yesterday that they intend to adopt the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, which is being drafted, when they meet in Cambodia in November.

Philippine diplomat Rosario Manalo said that the declaration will be patterned after the 1948 United Nations declaration. Although non-binding, it is the latest effort by the bloc to promote human rights in a region with a long history of violations, principally in Myanmar.

Yesterday, ASEAN leaders called on Western countries, including the European Union, to lift punitive sanctions imposed on Myanmar now that the once-pariah nation has embraced democratic reforms.

Myanmar was represented by President Thein Sein, who received praise for the recent reforms in his poor nation, most recently Sunday's by-elections won by pro-democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her party.

"We called for the lifting of all sanctions on Myanmar immediately in order to contribute positively to the democratic process and economic development in that country," the heads of state said in a statement, promising to help when Myanmar assumes ASEAN's rotating chairmanship in 2014. AP