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Sudan swears in new unity Cabinet

Ceremony ends political crisis

Email|Print| Text size + By Mohamed Osman
Associated Press / December 28, 2007

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's president swore in a new unity Cabinet yesterday, officially ending a three-month-old opposition walkout and political crisis that had threatened to reignite Sudan's north-south civil war.

President Omar al-Bashir and his onetime military rival, First Vice President Salva Kiir, swore in the new Cabinet members at the Republican Palace before they went to the council of ministers to hold a symbolic opening session.

Sudan's bloody two decade north-south civil war resulted in an estimated 2 million dead and ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which envisioned creating a unity government including the southern Sudanese People's Liberation Movement.

The agreement was thrown into question when the SPLM ministers walked out of the Cabinet in October in protest of what it said was Khartoum's foot-dragging in implementing key points of the peace deal.

"This ceremony means the so-called crisis between the two partners is officially over now," said Mahjoub Fadu, the presidential press adviser, in a statement following the ceremony.

The new Cabinet features several ministers from the SPLM as well as strident government opponents, such as Mansour Khalid, who hails from a prominent northern family and has held posts of foreign minister and education minister and has also fought the government on the side of the southerners.

"We are now looking forward to a new phase after the two parties have overcome their differences, and we look to working in the coming phase to implement what has been agreed upon," he said after being sworn in as a presidential adviser.

SPLM's return followed negotiations this month between Bashir and Salva Kiir in which the two agreed to resolve some of the differences that led to the boycott.

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