South Sudan accuses north of plot to overthrow government

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 10:02 AM
South Sudan accuses north of plot to overthrow government

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - South Sudan on Saturday accused Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of plotting to overthrow the south's government before the secession of the oil-producing region in July.

Senior southern official Pagan Amum said the south would suspend talks with Bashir's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) about plans for the secession and would look into alternative routes for sending its oil to market, away from the north.

Southerners overwhelmingly voted to declare independence from the north in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north/south civil war.

"We in SPLM (the south's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement) have details of a plan by the NCP (Bashir's ruling National Congress Party) to overthrow the government of south Sudan before July," Amum, SPLM secretary general, told journalists.

"The NCP has been creating, training, supplying and arming militia groups in southern Sudan with the aim to destabilize and overthrow the government before July. This plan is being overseen by the president of the republic Omar Hassan al-Bashir himself."

Amum added southern President Salva Kiir had phoned him and asked the SPLM's negotiating team to look into finding alternative routes for the south's oil -- the lifeblood of the economies of both north and south Sudan.

"(Kiir) has directed us in the negotiating team to look into a possibility of stopping the export of oil of south Sudan through the north in July and see possibilities of alternative routes of transport other than northern Sudan," said Amum.

Amum said the SPLM had complained to the United Nations Security Council about a series of militia raids in its territory which it were being backed by Khartoum.

"For all these reasons, the SPLM is suspending discussions and negotiations with the NCP until they stop this conspiracy or until the Security Council investigates these and takes appropriate measures," said Amum in a news conference in Khartoum.

(Editing by Jon Boyle)