Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sudan Accused of "Reneging" on Cooperation Agreement

Thursday 24 January 2013

Sudan accused of “reneging” on cooperation agreement

January 21, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan this week accused the government of neighbouring Sudan of reneging on a deal signed in September 2012, claiming that its withdrawal of troops from border areas demonstrated its willingness to fully implement the pact without raising preconditions.

The South Sudanese minister of defence, John Kong Nyuon, told reporters last Monday upon his return from of Addis Ababa, that Khartoum continues to make impossible demands in an apparent bid to "backtrack" on international efforts to resolve outstanding issues.

"Khartoum demands that the security arrangement be done first which we accepted, but their thinking and interpretation of the security arrangements seems to be different, he said.

Nyuon says while his government prioritises the implementation of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone (SDBZ) and the implementation of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), Khartoum is pushing for the disarmament of the rebel Sudanese People’s Liberations Movement-North (SPLM-N)

Nyuon said Sudan’s position is in contrary to the position of the United Nations and other regional bodies, including the African Union (AU), who have recognised that the SPLM-N has a political case that needs solution.

The minister added that the conflict between Khartoum and the rebel group is "an internal matter" and "has nothing to do with us". He further asserted the SPLM-North rebels are "a separate entity operating under a different command and in the territory of a different state".

Sudanese defence minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein said that Juba does not want to discuss its support to the rebels, who are active in the Sudanese border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Juba denies any support to its former allies of SPLM-N who fought alongside the South during a protracted civil war with the north, and Juba . The international community called on Juba to distance itself from them and encourage efforts for peaceful settlement to their plight.

Nyuon maintains his government broke ties with their former comrades immediately after the new nation was born, after winning its independence from Sudan in July 2011.

“The SPLM-N is negotiating with Sudan directly because it is an independent entity. It has no ties with us. The international community knows this but Khartoum continue to think that we should disarm the SPLM-N. This is impossible because there is no grounds and we have repeatedly told them no," he said.

Agreements signed by both governments last September regarding security, border demarcation and the final status of the disputed Abyei Area have yet to be fully implemented. The situation has caused a stalemate between the two countries, with Khartoum refusing to accept passage of South Sudan’s oil flows through its territories.

Nyuon said the South Sudanese government has sent a letter to the AU communicating its official response to claims made by Sudan that they were harbouring and providing assistance to the rebel group and re-affirming its readiness to discuss the Joint Political Security Mechanism (JPSM).

The mediation adjourned the talks in the Ethiopian capital between the neighbouring states until mid-February after the two sides failed to forge an agreement on a wide array of security and border issues.

Besides the disagreement over the SPLM-N issue, Khartoum accused Juba of proposing to withdraw its troops partially from Mile 14 area which is claimed by both sides.

Nyuon said the establishment of the SDBZ 10km on either side of a temporary non-binding line, covering five disputed areas as outlined in the Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement signed on 27 September was one the issues the two sides could not reach a compromise on.

"Without demilitarisation, it will be difficult to fulfil the provisions in the September agreement which require bilateral cooperation, particularly those concerning cross-border petroleum operations", he said.

In November 2011, the AU presented a map that placed a strip of land known as the Munroe-Wheatley area, or "Mile 14", south of Bahr el-Arab on South Sudan’s side of the demilitarised zone.

The area will now be jointly administered by local authorities on both sides of the border: the Rizeigat Arabs in the north and the Dinka Malwal in the south.

However, the governor of the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state in South Sudan, says he will not concede “an inch” of the so-called “Mile 14”, area to the north.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Washington “disappointed” by Khartoum refusal to allow exportation of South Sudanese oil

January 22, 2013 (LONDON) – The American administration has criticised the Sudanese government for its continued refusal to allow the exportation of South Sudanese oil before disengagement with rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

In a statement released on Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said its country “remains disappointed” by the failure of recent talks on the implementation of a number of deals, signed last year on security arrangements, Abyei administration and the exportation of South Sudanese oil.

During recent negotiations in Addis Ababa, the two countries failed to agree on the withdrawal of troops from the border area of the so-called “Mile 14” which is claimed by the two sides. They also disagreed on the composition of the legislative council of Abyei where the parties must arrange to hold a referendum.

However, the most important point of difference remains the relationship between the South and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) that is fighting against the Sudanese army in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Khartoum has repeatedly demanded that Juba disengage with the rebels before allowing its neighbour to use its oil infrastructure and maritime port.

Washington has also demanded Juba sever ties with its former allies, but believes that Sudanese security interests “will only come if Sudan cooperates with South Sudan and begins direct talks with the SPLM-N to address the Two Areas conflict,” Nuland said.

“Lack of resolution on this issue prevents normalised relations between Sudan and South Sudan and compounds the current human rights and humanitarian emergency,” she added.

The outgoing US envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, repeated at different occasions that the mistrust between two sides is preventing them from settling post-independence issues.

“I think what happened in the process so far is that they haven’t reached that degree of confidence and trust which is essential in carrying out this type of agreement,” Lyman said during a visit to Khartoum last November.

He recently held a series of talks with SPLM-N leaders in Washington to lay the ground for direct talks with Sudan in order to facilitate a peaceful settlement for the current crisis in the Two Areas and resolve outstanding issues between Khartoum and Juba.

Both the Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents are due to meet on the sidelines of an African Union summit this week. The two leaders must once again attempt to reach an agreement on the litigious issues left unresolved in the last round of talks.


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