Sudan’s Prime Minister: New Years Agreement Is Firm Pact to Avoid Widespread Killings

Sudan’s newly-reappointed prime minister, who will officially take office in his country, said he made the deal to avoid bloodshed.

Seif el-Islam Belani, who became prime minister in October, said he worked with President Omar al-Bashir in one way or another since the young strongman took power in a coup almost 30 years ago, but never thought “this is how one will work.”

He praised “the supreme understanding between the executive and the judicial authorities in the north and the south of the country” to push through the agreement.

“Even some big nations that have big human-rights violations where you have the prime minister always around the president still fight,” Belani said. “Here, sometimes the prime minister can come to the court and the president can look on.”

Belani’s new term, the one that will give him the chance to attend the talks with the South on the partition of Sudan, runs from Wednesday to July 22.

The deal eased the country’s last civil war and allowed Bashir to stay in power in Khartoum with limited immunity from prosecution. He has won three elections and is expected to run for the presidency again in 2020.

In the deal between the two Sudans, Bashir agreed to leave the three regions — Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Abyei — to decide their own future. They did not concede control of their borders.

During his stint as prime minister, Belani led some radical Islamic measures, such as an order to fire gunboats at Christian villages, and a military crackdown in several parts of the south. Many of the minorities of the south are Christians or followers of other faiths.

Following the restoration of civilian rule in 2009, Bashir was also elected president, but he was unable to take office because of the International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest. He managed to complete his term in office in 2016.

Belani took over as premier after Khartoum’s parliament voted in October to let Bashir take office. Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party enjoys a large majority in parliament.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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