Sudan’s Bashir Vows to Fight On in South Kordofan

Posted July 1st, 2011 at 6:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says fighting will continue along the country's north-south border until rebels in the region disarm.

In a speech Friday in Khartoum, Mr. Bashir said he has ordered his northern army to keep fighting in the volatile Southern Kordofan state for as long as rebels are operating there.

His comments come just days before South Sudan is set to officially separate from the north and declare independence on July 9. Despite the planned separation, fighting has raged on in Southern Kordofan and other border areas, including the oil-rich region of Abyei.

In another development Friday, the U.S. envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, said Friday the process of dividing Sudan into two independent states is “still fundamentally on track” despite territorial and economic disputes.

Lyman says the political atmosphere surrounding the birth of the new state is by no means as promising as it seemed when the southern Sudanese voted to become independent in January.

But he says the political process is “still fundamentally on track” and that he expects the north and south to be able to forge workable, if not cordial, relations after July 9.

Weeks of fighting in Southern Kordofan and neighboring Abyei have led to a mass exodus of people and raised fears of a new Sudanese civil war.

North and South Sudan fought a 21-year civil war that ended with a 2005 peace deal. South Sudan voted to split from the north in a referendum in January.