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. Garang will not command national army as Sudan's first VP: official
KHARTOUM (AFP) Jan 06, 2005
Rebel leader John Garang is slated to become Sudan's first vice president following a peace deal set to be inked on Sunday, but the job will not include standing in as army chief if the president is out of the country or incapacitated, a top official said Thursday.

Garang "cannot be commander of two armies at the same time," said Nafie Ali Nafie, deputy secretary general of the ruling National Congress party and a member of the government team during peace talks with Garang's Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement.

Khartoum and the SPLM have agreed on a six-year interim period for southern Sudan during which it will have a semi-autonomous administration headed by Garang.

Nafie said the SPLM leader will be commander of an army in the south and that overall command of the Sudanese armed forces would go to the country's second vice president in the absence of the president.

The Sudanese first vice presidency is currently occupied by Ali Osman Taha, who had been negotiating face-to-face with Garang, since September 2003.

Under the existing constitution, the first vice president assumes all the duties of the president in his absence, including command of the military.

The constitution will, however, be amended to include points the two sides agreed in a series of protocols that they signed, detailing how the country will be governed during the interim period.

It will also outline the powers of the president and vice presidents in line with arrangements in the power-sharing protocol the government signed with the SPLM, according to Nafie.

Sudan currently has posts of first and second vice presidents, the latter being held by Moses Machar, a southerner.

The fate of Taha is still unclear and the holder of the next second vice president is still unknown.

Garang will occupy the vice presidency up to the end of the third year, when general elections will be held all over the country.

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