Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir threatened on Wednesday to overthrow the government of South Sudan, saying its people need liberation.
“Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement), and this is our responsibility before our brothers in South Sudan,” Bashir said, adding that the southern government cannot be called a “movement”.
“We call it an insect ... trying to destroy Sudan, and our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”
He spoke at a youth rally in support of troops who hope to reclaim Sudan’s most important oil field, Heglig, from South Sudanese troops who seized it eight days ago.
“The story began in Heglig, but it will end in Khartoum or Juba,” he said, referring to the disputed oil-producing region, adding that there would be “good news” from the border region in a few hours.
“There are two choices: Either we end up in Juba or they end up in Khartoum. The old borders cannot take us both,” Bashir said, predicting that the victory will be swift.
“In a few hours you are going to listen to good news from your brothers in Heglig,” he told about 3,000 young people, some of them dressed in military gear.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
U.N. envoy heads to Sudan
A U.N. envoy headed Wednesday to Sudan after talks in newly independent South Sudan as he pressed for calm despite signs of a hardening of positions following an outbreak of fighting as the United Nations Security Council discussed threatening sanctions on both countries.
Princeton Lyman, the special envoy on Sudan and South Sudan, was headed to Khartoum late Tuesday or Wednesday after a meeting in the South’s capital Juba with President Salva Kiir, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
In Khartoum, Lyman will “essentially stress the same message, which is that we need an immediate and unconditional cessation of violence, and we need both sides to get back to the AU process,” Toner said, referring to deadlocked talks mediated by the African Union.
The U.N. Security Council late Tuesday talked about threatening sanctions on Khartoum and Juba as the two neighboring African countries teeter on the edge of war.
The 15-member body discussed ways to leverage the influence of the council to press the parties to take these steps, and included in that a discussion potentially of sanctions, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters in New York.
Fighting has intensified, with Sudan accused of bombing a camp of U.N. peacekeepers, after fighters from the South seized the disputed Heglig oil field which is key to Sudan’s ailing economy.
The United States has urged South Sudan to withdraw. But despite its heavy reliance on U.S. aid, South Sudan has remained defiant with its army vowing Tuesday to hold its positions.
The violence has raised fears of a return to all-out war. More than two million people died in Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war, one of the longest in Africa.