Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sudan News Update: African Leaders Meet to Discuss Abyei Crisis

Sudan’s ex-foes deny reports of deal on Abyei

By James Dak
Sudan Tribune

June 14, 2011 (JUBA) – The African Union sponsored negotiations conducted in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sudan’s Abyei crisis has ended without any agreement, according to a senior official of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The President of Sudan and chairman of the National Congress Party (NCP), Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his First Vice President, President of the semi autonomous South Sudan - SPLM chairman - Salva Kiir on Sunday and Monday met in the Ethiopian capital under the auspices of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), chaired by the former South African president, Thabo Mbeki.

Upon Kiir’s arrival at Juba International Airport from Addis Ababa today, the minister in the office of the President, Cirino Hiteng, said that no agreement has been reached over Abyei by the two parties contrary to reports that have circulated in the media.

Reuters reported Sunday an anonymous diplomat as saying that Bashir had agreed to withdraw the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the disputed border territory of Abyei and approved the deployment of Ethiopian troops to the area.

On Monday an AU spokesperson said that a deal had been reached to demilitarize the disputed fertile and oil-producing region and to deploying Ethiopian peace-keepers to in the area.

Hiteng said the SPLM had demanded SAF’s unconditional withdrawal from Abyei and replacement with Ethiopian troops representing the UN.

The southern minister said that the NCP insisted that a brigade of its forces would remain in the contested region. The North also wanted a new administration established in Abyei that is split 50/50 with the SPLM while the chief administrator would be nominated by the NCP.

After the northern military (SAF) took over Abyei on May 21, Bashir dissolved the Abyei administration without informing Kiir - an act South Sudan says is in contravention of the peace deal the two sides signed in 2005. The north says that its occupation of Abyei was in response to two attacks on SAF convoys by southern armed groups near the area.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended over two decades of civil war and allowed South Sudan to secede through a referendum in January. However, Abyei’s own plebiscite to determine whether or not it would join the south did not go ahead due to disputes over who was allowed to vote.

The talks in Addis Ababa were seen as key to resolving the Abyei dispute ahead of South Sudan’s independence celebrations on July 9, to which Bashir has been invited.

However, despite the positive early reports and encouragement from US secretary of state Hilary Clinton no agreement appears to have reached.

“In short there was no agreement on Abyei,” Hiteng told the press upon return from the talks.

Hiteng explained that Clinton, told the two sides to forget about the Abyei administration and focus on the security arrangements in the area until the region conducts its referendum.

The SPLM official said the two parties will continue to hold further talks and try to reach an agreement on Abyei crisis and the ongoing fighting between SAF and its allied militia and northern members of the SPLA - the military wing of the SPLM - in South Kordofan.

In Khartoum the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website quoted an army source as saying that the North has no intention of withdrawing from Abyei.

The unnamed military source said that there is no reason for SAF to pull out after establishing full control over the region and extending stability and security to the citizens there.

He also denied reports claiming that Bashir has agreed to withdraw from the contested area.

"Mr. president [Bashir] made it clear that SAF would stay in Abyei and not withdraw because it is Northern [land]" the source said.

However he revealed that talks on the deployment of Ethiopian forces is still being discussed.

Agence France Presse (AFP) said that talks in Addis Ababa are still ongoing between North and South delegations.

Khartoum threatens to strip Juba of oil infrastructure

(AFP)--KHARTOUM — Sudan on Tuesday threatened to deprive oil-rich Juba of its infrastructure if it failed to reach a deal before breaking away next month when the south becomes independent.

"Sudan will lose 36.5 percent of its income from July 9 because this is the percentage of oil revenue that the government gets from the oil produced in the south," Finance Minister Ali Mahmud told reporters.

"We have sent a letter to south Sudan, to inform them that they cannot use the pipelines or the refinery or the (Red Sea) port after July 9 unless we reach a deal about the price of renting this infrastructure," Mahmud added.

Khartoum currently receives around 50 percent of oil revenues from the south, which produces around three quarters of Sudan's 470,000 barrels per day crude output and is due to split from the north next month.

But the country's oil industry has traditionally been managed by the north, where all the key infrastructure lies.

Restrictions on northern food and fuel supplies to the south since last month have seen southern prices surge, leading to chronic fuel shortages.

The Khartoum government is desperate to offset the fall in its income as it struggles to cope with soaring inflation, a weakening currency and huge foreign debt, estimated at around $38 billion.

This, along with US sanctions, has choked its sources of external financing.

Senior officials from north and south Sudan have been trying to renegotiate how the oil industry will be managed after partition.

They are to discuss what the south should pay for the use of the oil infrastructure at the talks in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

But sources close to the negotiations in the Ethiopian capital say the atmosphere has been poisoned by the recent violence in the regios of Abyei and South Kordofan.

South Sudan rebel militia raid kills 29, says army

Jun 15, 2011, 06.10am IST

JUBA: A rebel militia killed 29 people including police and civilians in a south Sudan cattle raid, the southern army said on Tuesday, adding to the region's woes ahead of independence in July.

The vast territory has been wracked by violence since southerners voted in January to separate from the north and form a new nation. More than 1,500 people have since died in south-south violence, according to the United Nations.

At least seven rebel militias are at war with the government, the UN says. Gun battles between these militias and the army, and tribal warring over cattle, have erupted in nine of the south's 10 states.

South Sudan's internal crisis has been overshadowed by the threat of open conflict with the north, and persistent fighting in the border region in recent weeks has displaced tens of thousands and strained the fragile peace.

Analysts say that even if the north-south peace holds, the new country could still fail if it cannot rein in its internal violence.

"This was a cattle raid assumed to be carried out by armed militia from Unity state," said army spokesman Philip Aguer. "Seven police were killed including two officers, and 22 civilians." These were preliminary figures, he said, adding that the raid took place in Warrap state.

The southern army said it was holding defensive positions near the north-south border after it accused the north of twice bombing its territory, on Friday and Monday.

The independence vote was the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended a civil war which killed about 2 million people. North and south Sudan have fought for all but a few years since 1955, a conflict caused by ethnic, religious and ideological differences and oil.

The Republic of South Sudan is due to be founded on July 9.

Report on South Kordofan Elections

Following supplementary election in South Kordofan, the region exploded seriously due to riots conducted by particular elements of Sudan People's Liberation MovementArmy (SPLMA) against civilians as well as Sudan Armed Force (SAF).

Postponing of elections was a result of the disagreements between the National Congress Party (NCP) and SPLM upon distribution of constituencies and census.

The movement opted for National Election Commission (NEC) to suspend procedures of electoral register's updating, calling for launching new records.

SPLM pointed out prior intentions to fabricate peoples' will via overcoming election's code.

Advisor of SPLM in South Kordofan Gamar Dalman criticized Election High Committee in South Kordofan, accusing its chairperson of bias.

From Juba, Dalman had stated to the press that the Chairperson of the Committee keeps implementing particular parties' agenda, affirming violations of electoral rules by the committee. He said that committee's negligence to proposals submitted by political forces in addition to neglecting of two partners' agreement on South Kordofan reflects its intention to stir up tension in the region.

He accused the committee of omission of submitted complaints on distribution constituencies. He considered committee's refusal to establish new electoral register as declaration of war.

He shouldered the committee's chairperson negative associations expected to result post election, calling for NEC to sack the chairperson of high committee to guarantee partiality of elections.

Secretary of SPLM Arno Ngolto Ludi issued a proactive statement stressing on fraud of elections.

This proves one fact, that SPLM is aware of its loss beforehand so it took number of proactive steps in order to justify its defeat.

Explosion of Kadugli

As soon as the final outcomes of elections were announced, the government started to deal with a number of issues practically headed by the adjustment of position of SPLA elements in South Kordofan.

The government formed joint committee to settle the issue however situations developed seriously to a degree that had astonished all observers. Governor of South Kordofan Ahmad Haroun stated to press that Abdul Aziz Al Hilu had shot partnership between NCP and SPLM in the region dead. He added that arrival of Yassir Arman with number of extremist leftists changed information discourse of SPLM in 180 degree. He shouldered Al Hilu responsibility of the unrest that erupted in the region. He stressed importance of courting violators.

Deputy of NCP Chairperson Nafie Ali Nafie said that recent events took place in South Kordofan approves the fact that SPLM has particular agenda in the region, clearing that SPLM-North Sector announced readiness to seize South Kordofan by either election or force in preparation for seizing Khartoum later in cooperation with some parties.

He added that security service awareness of criminal scheme forced the movement to haste in implementing the scheme in the fifth of July a shift from the sixth. He pointed number of indicators approving SPLM prior intention to stir tension up including the withdrawal of SPLM elements from integrated troops from Kadugli to foothills surrounding the city. From there, they conducted a number of riots against SAF and other regular forces.

Minister of Youth and Sport Haj Majid Sowar outlined violations conducted by SPLM headed by non-compliance to security arrangements protocol. He downplayed news alleged that he escaped an assassination attempt during his recent visit to Kadugli.

"We know that SPLM is targeting members of NCP in the region and there is no information approving that the movement is targeting central senior figures of the party. I was in Kadugli to lead condolences. When we were in a house in Kadugli we heard shooting. Anyhow the movement is targeting senior figures of NCP in Kadugli and Dalanj according to document seized by security bodies,'' he said.

He stated that successive targeting of north by SPLM will affect north's recognition of the newly-born state negatively. He pointed out that government won't negotiate with those who erupted tension in South Kordofan, pointing out that many citizens in the region has filed cases against SPLM and leftists led by Yassir Arman.

Armed Response

The NCP under Chairpersonship of President Bashir gave the green light for SAF to carry out its duty in South Kordofan. Leadership Office of NCP considered what has happened in the region as armed insurgency led by SPLM and opposing and foreign parties aiming at fulfilling the movement's agenda.

The office has ruled political resolution out, calling for SAF to act. Nafie affirmed that SAF is eligible to end the insurgency, expressing his trust that great number of Nuba Mountains' people will contribute to ending of the criminal scheme, expecting setback of considerable number of insurgents.

The national army affirmed that the situation in South Kordofan is under full control due to intensive military operations conducted by SAF.

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