Asharq Al-Awsat talks to SPLM Sec Gen Pagan Amum
From Asharq Al-Awsat - Saturday, 08 May 2010
By Mustafa Sirri
London, Asharq Al-Awsat - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which rules in the south of Sudan, has warned against tampering with the Referendum on Self Determination that is scheduled to take place early next year. It also rejected that the south is accountable for Sudan’s foreign debts estimated at 34 billion dollars and expressed its belief that that money was mainly used to kill southerners.
Sources from the South Sudan army revealed that elements from the guerrilla Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda received joint training and armament with other militias affiliated to Arab tribes in order to re-launch attacks against South Sudan, which might secede from Sudan early next year via the referendum. South Sudan army sources added that the training process was sponsored by elements in Khartoum.
Amum indicated that the Sudanese currency presently in circulation had been funded by the National Congress Party and the SPLM and argued that over the past two years, the Governor of the Central Bank has acted as if the north and the government of Khartoum are the sole owners of the Sudanese pound. He added that the Central Bank Governor had stated that the currency would remain in circulation after the referendum, even if the south secedes, and that is unacceptable. “If the south secedes, South Sudan might be compelled to abandon the Sudanese pound and use hard currency instead,” Amum said. Amum stated that dealing in foreign currencies in the south might offer more advantages than the conditions set by the Central Bank Governor. Amum said, “The set conditions are unjust. Mechanisms and agreements would have to be created to tackle such problems.”
Amum said that the priority of the new government of Southern Sudan is to prepare for the referendum and added that the President of the Government of South Sudan [Silva Kiir] had stated that well-known parties had been working on delaying the referendum and that these parties call for Sudanese unity whilst being the first to harm that unity. “They are still around and are still trying to create problems and will ultimately harm Sudan. It is pointless that they call for Sudan's unity because they insist on adopting policies that treat southerners as second-class citizens.” Amum referred to the fact that Silva Kiir had reiterated that the SPLM called for a new Sudan that upholds justice, equality, freedom and mutual respect. Amum then launched a fierce attack on the National Congress Party, saying that it had proposed a project that does not encourage coexistence in one country. He added, “For that reason, the movement's leader called upon southerners to vote for their complete freedom away from opportunists and tyrants who are harming the south.”
Amum maintained that the unity of Sudan could only be realized through adopting a pan-nationalist project for building a multi-opinionated, multi-ethnic, multi-cultured and multi-religious Sudanese nation based on mutual respect. Amum said, “If the National Congress Party insists on implementing a program for building the Islamic republic then southerners will have no choice but to vote for secession. If the National Congress Party insists on imposing its policies of oppression and racial discrimination then southerners must secede, and if the National Congress Party continues to plunder the wealth of the south and unjustly divide oil revenues in the absence of transparency, then southerners will have to break free from those tyrants.”
Secretary General of the SPLM, Pagan Amum, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement protested against the statement made by Saber Mohammed al-Hassan, the Governor of the Bank of Sudan, in which he stated that the rescheduling of [the payment of] Sudan’s foreign debts, estimated at 34 billion dollars, should be settled before the Referendum of Self Determination is held. Amum added, “The National Congress Party should be held accountable for that amount of money that it used to kill southerners mercilessly during the civil war.” He also maintained that there was no logical link between the debts and the self-determination referendum. “Who incurred those debts? Where did the money go? What investments were they used for? These debts are stained with blood and have nothing to do with the practice of the right to self determination in the upcoming referendum.”