State of emergency to be lifted in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Jun 9, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The state of emergency will be lifted in Sudan after a transitional constitution is ratified by both the parliament and southern rebels, an official said Thursday.

Sudanese National Constitutional Review Committee spokesman Yassir Arman told reporters that all political detainees, including leader of the opposition Popular Congress Hassan Turabi, will be released after the endorsement of the interim constitution.

The Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace agreement on Jan. 9 in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, ending a 21-year civil war pitting the Arab- dominated north against Christian and animist south.

The two sides are reviewing the interim constitution. After its ratification, a transitional government will be established for an interim period of six years, then a referendum will be held in the south to decide unity or secession from the north.

Arman said a presidential council will be formed after the constitution is passed.

The council will be headed by President Omar el-Bashir, with SPLM leader John Garang as the first vice president and Ali Taha the second vice president.