Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Negotiations to keep Sudan peaceful

Western nations are making efforts to keep Sudan peaceful after the South's vote for independence in January. They are offering the Northern government everything from lifting of sanctions, debt forgiveness and more support from the World Bank.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Opheera McDoom interviews Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister on the negotiations.

Norway, the United States and Britain represent nations who were instrumental in sealing that accord and are guarantors.

"Western countries are increasingly focusing on the need to have clear incentives for the north, of course contingent on the willingness of the north to take part ... in a positive way," Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told Reuters.

"Removal of sanctions, re-entry into economic institutions, the World Bank, the IMF and so on, investments ...that dialogue is going on," he said in an interview in Khartoum on Tuesday.

He said Norway could also help Sudan with debt relief for its more than $36 billion external debt.

Western nations fear that once the south splits, the north will become increasingly isolated and Islamist, especially as President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide. In the 1990s Bashir's government hosted Osama bin Laden.

"The hope is that this approach will tilt it in this more open, more pluralistic direction," Eide said.

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