A spokesman for the Sudanese rebel movement said today that the new military government of Sudan had spread a "wild" and "malicious lie" by announcing yesterday that rebel leader John Garang would fly to Khartoum for peace talks.
"John Garang did not and will not go to Khartoum while this junta is still in power," said Maj. Rick Mashar Teny, spokesman here for the Sudanese People's Liberation Army.
"He will go to Khartoum," Teny said, when the government "is destroyed and on its ashes a new Sudan is built."
Reports from Khartoum yesterday said that Garang, whose rebels control most of the southern half of Sudan, had accepted an invitation for talks with the leader of the military council, Gen. Abdel Rahman Sawar-Dhahab. The talks reportedly were intended to lead to a role for southerners in the government.
Instead of negotiating with the new government in Khartoum, which two weeks ago ousted president Jaafar Nimeri, the rebels have renewed fighting in the south, Teny said.
He said the rebels consider the new government to be a continuation of "Nimeri's corrupt regime."
Fighting reportedly resumed Wednesday with rebel raids on two Sudanese Army garrisons in the south, Teny said. The raids came eight days after Garang warned in a radio broadcast that the military government had one week in which to hand over power to civilians.
Teny said the government had "fabricated" the report of Garang's visit to divert attention from the renewed fighting.
The announcement that Garang did not go to Khartoum appeared to reduce the likelihood that the military government will be able to unite Sudan, a country one-third the size of the United States and split between the Arab and Moslem north and the black Christian and animist south.
The rebels "will not negotiate with this gang of liars and thieves," Teny said. He said that the rebels had sufficient resources to win a protracted war against the government. The two-year-old rebel movement receives funds and arms from Libya and Ethiopia.
Teny said the rebels are willing to share power with the professional organizations and unions that led protests and strikes that helped bring about Nimeri's ouster.