African leaders propose confederation between two Sudans

A proposal will be presented to African leaders to establish a confederation-like economic and monetary union, sources in Khartoum have said. The proposal will state that Khartoum should be the first to recognize southern Sudan's independence.

According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Tuesday, the sources said that Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and chairman of the African Wise Elders Committee, proposed the idea after consulting with several international bodies. Once results of the referendum confirm secession, an economic partnership similar to the European Union could be formed.

Reliable sources from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SPLM will work on establishing the base for a union that would include those countries that neighbor Sudan.

Asharq Al-Awsat obtained a document that includes a number of proposals presented by experts to Sudan’s two leaders during talks that took place last year in Ethiopia, Khartoum and Juba.

South Sudan Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told Asharq Al-Awsat that the south’s new state “has the power to survive” and that its resources will make it strong.

Benjamin refused to describe the government as “corrupt,” saying, “Corruption is there in Khartoum. We have established a commission to fight corruption. We were the first ones to jail a finance minister. Have Khartoum or any other government in the region ever dared do something like that?”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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