SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese delegation visits Switzerland in a mission to learn about federalism

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sudanese delegation visits Switzerland in a mission to learn about federalism

A 17-member official Sudanese delegation was visiting Switzerland, in a mission to learn about federalism.

"We are learning how the system works and whether it can help us in Sudan with out diversities as well," said John Ukec Lueth Ukec, Sudan's ambassador to Switzerland.

Switzerland, with four language groups, religious divides and other difference between regions, has prided itself on its strong decentralized system of allocating much power to the cantons to ensure stability.

The Sudanese were also in Europe seeking help from the international community, for development and humanitarian assistance.

Source:  Earth Times by DPA Friday, 09 Oct 2009.  Copy:
Sudan denies destabilizing neigbouring Chad: ambassador
(Geneva) - Sudan is seeking good relations with its neighbours, particularly Chad, its ambassador to Switzerland said Friday - adding he hoped for an end to the internal conflicts in Sudan too. "We do not want to have any problems with Chad ... we want peaceful relations with Chad," said John Ukec Lueth Ukec, Sudan's ambassador to Switzerland. "Currently, we have good relations," the diplomat added.

He said allegations that Khartoum was working to destabilize its neighbor were false and noted that the two countries recently exchanged ambassadors.

"Chad has lots of potential to be destabilized by its own rebels," Ukec told reporters in Geneva.

The countries have had fraught relations, in part relating to rebel groups in each country reportedly getting support from the governments in Khartoum and N'Djamena, and cross-border attacks.

Meanwhile, the ambassador and Ali Mahmoud, the governor of South Darfur state, said the fighting in the troubled western province of the country was over, and that remaining insecurity was due to criminal elements.

"The only problem in Southern Darfur is robberies. These are (carried out by) criminals, the factions of previous rebel groups," insisted Mahmoud.

"In south Darfur, there is no fighting between army and rebel groups for one year," he said, adding that there were still "tribal conflicts."

There has been some sporadic fighting since the outgoing commander of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said in August he considered the war in the western province over.

Meanwhile, Ukec was quick to reject growing concerns in the international community that the north and south of Sudan could again become entangled in a civil war.

"The leaderships of north and south tell the people that we are not going back to war," the ambassador said, acknowledging that the two regions have been in combat for much of the country's modern history.

The decades of fighting left many issues unresolved, Ukec said, allowing for disputes over land and other basic resources to linger.

A 17-member official Sudanese delegation was visiting Switzerland, in a mission to learn about federalism.

"We are learning how the system works and whether it can help us in Sudan with out diversities as well," said Ukec.

Switzerland, with four language groups, religious divides and other difference between regions, has prided itself on its strong decentralized system of allocating much power to the cantons to ensure stability.

The Sudanese were also in Europe seeking help from the international community, for development and humanitarian assistance.

Commenting on a decision earlier this year by Khartoum to expel 13 non-governmental aid groups who were offering assistance, Ukec said "our national security is number one."

He claimed the NGOs were engaged in politics and were looking to cause divisions within Sudan.

The aid groups at the time objected to the expulsion, which was connected to a decision by the International Criminal Court to issue warrants for the country's leadership, including the president, in relation to events in Darfur. The groups were accused of working with the ICC.

"We still need help, but not help from an enemy who doesn't want Sudan to be stable," Ukec said about the aid workers.

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