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Sun, 10 Oct 2010 10:57 - Updated Sun, 10 Oct 2010 10:57

Sudan president warns of greater conflict with south


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Khartoum - Sudan's president accused former civil war foes in the south of going back  on the terms of a peace deal, warning a worse conflict could erupt if the sides did not settle disputes before a referendum on secession.

The comments from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, reported on state media, raised the stakes in a war of words between Khartoum and the south's dominant Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), five years after the sides ended decades of conflict with an accord.

In three months' time, that peace deal is supposed to come to a climax with a referendum giving the people of the oil- producing south the right to decide whether to declare independence or stay  part of Sudan.

Bashir told a conference in Sirte, Libya he regretted the fact that SPLM leader and south Sudan president Salva Kiir had recently publicly come out for separation. This was against the terms of  the 2005 peace deal which said both northern and southern leaders should try to make unity  "attractive" to southerners before the vote, Suna news agency reported.

Bashir said he was still committed to holding the vote but both sides first had to settle differences over the position of their shared border and how to share out oil revenues, debt and Nile river  water.

Bashir spoke as envoys from the U.N. Security Council wrapped up a visit to Sudan aimed at  pressing both sides to hold the vote on time and avert a new civil war.