Bashir in 'historic visit' to Juba

The Sudanese president is to deliver final remarks before secession referendum "to set the scene for amicable divorce".

    Thousands of Sudanese have travelled weeks to Juba in the lead-up to Sunday's secession vote [AFP]

    Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has arrived in the southern regional capital of Juba to deliver what could be his final address in the region. He will also meet with local ministers ahead of his country's upcoming vote on secession.

    With polls indicating that southerners favour breaking away from the north, Tuesday's remarks could be Bashir's final speech to a south that remains undivided from the north.

    Bashir, who has insisted on unity in the past, is expected to strike a conciliatory tone, said Al Jazeera's Lauren Taylor, reporting from Juba.

    Bashir has recently said he will be the first to congratulate the south on its independence if it secedes, and the southern government has ordered ministers out onto the street to greet the president.

    The friendly gestures from both sides indicates their "prickly interdependence," our correspondent said: Most of Sudan's oil is located in the south, but the means of production lie in the north.

    Bashir's speech, Taylor said, will attempt to "set the scene for an amicable divorce".

    But on Tuesday, Bashir also called on south Sudan not to assist fighters from the western Darfur region whose rebellion against Bashir's government set off the country's civil war in 2003.

    Any cooperation with the former rebels would be a "violation," he said. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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