South Sudan Gets Vice President, Government

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
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The president of newly-independent South Sudan has appointed a vice president and formed a caretaker government.

In a decree Sunday, President Salva Kiir named Riek Machar as vice president. Machar held the same position in the old southern Sudan regional government. He was sworn into office Monday.

In a separate decree, President Kiir appointed dozens of cabinet members whom a government news release described as caretaker national ministers.

Nhial Deng Nhial was named minister of defense, Deng Alor was named minister of foreign affairs, and Pagan Amum appointed minister for implementing the CPA, the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's north-south civil war.

Disputes over that deal have heightened tension between Sudan and South Sudan, even though the Khartoum government has recognized South Sudan's independence.

In an interview Sunday, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir indicated he would fight for the disputed and oil-rich Abyei region if necessary. But he told the BBC that he welcomes Ethiopian peacekeepers who will try to keep peace in the volatile region.

Mr. Bashir's forces seized control of Abyei in May, prompting tens of thousands of residents to flee southward. Sudan and South Sudan have since reached an accord to withdraw their forces from Abyei and to allow entry to the U.N.-authorized Ethiopian force.

The two Sudans still have to resolve other disputes over borders and sharing oil revenue. South Sudan now controls the bulk of the oilfields that once sat in the former unified Sudan.