KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudan’s defence minister, who is wanted for alleged war crimes in Darfur, said on Wednesday that improving relations with South Sudan will help to “end” a decade-old rebellion in the western region.
“The implementation of the cooperation agreements with South Sudan will affect security in Darfur,” Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein said in a national security briefing to parliament.
“It will give us a chance to surround the insurgents and help us to end the rebellion.”
Ethnic minority rebels in Darfur rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in 2003.
While the worst of the violence has long passed, rebel-government battles continue along with inter-Arab battles, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Hussein’s arrest in March last year on 13 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
South Sudan became independent from the north two years ago following a near-unanimous referendum vote for separation after a 1983-2005 civil war.
Independence left key issues unresolved, and the two nations battled on their undemarcated border one year ago, raising fears of wider war, until tensions began to ease last month following agreements reached in Ethiopia.