Bashir praises Garang

07 October 2003
President Al-Bashir praised rebel leader John Garang, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), in a speech on 6 October - the day negotiations aimed at securing a final permanent peace started in Kenya. 'We hail the response of the SPLA and its leader Garang, who was responsible for the success of the last round of [peace] talks,' Al-Bashir said at the opening of a new session of parliament in Khartoum. He also thanked the EU, UK and Kenya for their roles in helping to broker the agreement on security measures. Garang also spoke optimistically about the agreement on 6 October. 'I do not see any problem in implementing the security arrangements,' he told Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera.

The two sides signed the security agreement in Kenya on 24 September after weeks of face-to-face meetings. The deal, part of ongoing peace negotiations, states that within two years of the signing of a permanent peace agreement, 80 per cent of government forces stationed in southern Sudan would be re-deployed to the north. This will leave about 10,000 government troops in the south. The SPLA will be allowed to keep 80 per cent of its troops in the area in the six years after self-rule is introduced (MEED 25:9:03).

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