European and U.S. Intervention Seen as Crucial for Peace in Sudan

Rumbek Bishop Says South Not Sharing in Oil Wealth

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RUMBEK, Sudan, JULY 1, 2003 ( Bishop Cesare Mazzolari of Rumbek called for the intervention of the European Union and the United States to put an end to the ongoing conflict between the Muslim north and animist south.

«Oil has become the principal cause of the war and the management of income derived from its sale is a question that must be resolved in the short term,» the bishop told Vatican Radio. «Until now, the Khartoum government has not shared anything. We southerners don’t receive even a drop of the oil» produced in the region.

The bishop said that, at most, the government was prepared to give southern Sudan 10% of the crude oil, a very unsatisfactory amount, «as the oil wells and oilfields are in the southern part of the country.»

The government «has displaced the inhabitants of these areas and continues to do so. It does not give our southern people any work, nor does it teach them how to exploit the oil,» he lamented.

In this context, the European Union can play an important role. It «can make people aware of our situation but, above all, we would like it to act as an arbiter so that the commitments made in the agreements of Machakos, in Kenya, will be kept,» Bishop Mazzolari continued.

«We need the EU to establish control over fundamental decisions, over the sharing of power, of wealth, and of territories. Otherwise, the pacts that were signed will just be wet paper,» he warned. «In a word, from Europe — as well as from the United States — we expect strong involvement in following and controlling the development of decisions made.»

The bishop said that another cause of the war is the Khartoum government’s determination to impose «Islam by force as a religious political government.»

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