Source: SudanTribune kiir.jpg

By James Gatdet Dak

May 13, 2008 (JUBA) — The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) can now join the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in their fight against the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in to defend the Sudanese capital, the President of Southern Sudan said.

The First Vice President of Sudan and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA, General Salva Kiir told Southern Sudan Radio that the Presidency meeting in Khartoum on Sunday determined that both SAF and SPLA would work jointly to defend the city against JEM.

Darfurian rebels staged a bold attack and fought fierce battles with the Sudanese army on the outskirts of the capital. However the Sudanese government said it repulsed the attack and accused Chad of backing the assault.

Al-Bashir said in a televised statement that he holds Chad responsible of the foiled attack by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) troops against the Sudanese capital. He also announced that diplomatic relations with Chad have been broken.

The statements by Kiir signify a decision to trigger a clause in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which says that SAF and SPLA “shall be charged with the mission of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sudan during the interim period”.

Kiir returned to Juba on Sunday after a few hours visit to the national capital, Khartoum where he met with President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and Vice President Ali Osman Taha and discussed the recent JEM assault on Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman.

The Southern leader condemned the attack in a televised address to the nation last Sunday and said Darfur problem is a political one that should be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

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