The inauguration of the damn at Merowe took place on March 3, 2009 in Sudan. The following day the ICC issued an arrest warrant against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2013
Improve bilateral ties first, Sudan tells U.S. envoy
September 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan urged the newly appointed U.S. president special envoy, Donald Booth to focus his efforts on improving bilateral relations between the two countries stressing that Khartoum and Juba work closely to resolve the outstanding issues and implement the signed agreements.
Donald arrived in his first visit to Khartoum on Saturday where he expressed that his mission consists in supporting Khartoum and Juba to resolve their differences and settle the outstanding issues, matters that Washington considers with the humanitarian situation in the Two Area as a prerequisite before to normalise relations with Sudan.
Sudan’s foreign ministry undersecretary, Rahmatallah Mohamed Osman, met on Sunday with Booth and his accompanying delegation in the presence of the director of US department at the ministry, Mohamed Abdel Aziz Al-Tom, and the US chargé d’affaires in Khartoum, Joseph D. Stafford.
The Sudanese official said in a statement released following the meeting, said he responded to Booth’s statement by saying that Juba and Khartoum have made significant progress on the outstanding issues and added that the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) would help both countries to overcome all obstacles.
Osman pointed that the Sudanese government expects the new envoy to offer an integrated vision about his mission and how it will help improve relations between the two countries, saying that "Sudan hasn’t benefited from its cooperation with previous envoys which makes us question the role of the special envoys".
The diplomat said that unnamed entities are seeking to exercise pressure on the issue of the disputed Abyei area and pointed to similar cases around the world which took long-time to be settled, stressing that both parties are able to resolve their problems without external pressures.
He added that the U.S. should support the existing mechanisms for resolving the outstanding issues, pointing to the importance of agreeing to a clear plan to improve the US relations with Sudan first.
Osman stressed that lifting Sudan’s name from the list of states sponsoring terrorism is the first priority for improving relations and pointed that the U.S. Department of State annual reports on terrorism affirms that Sudan’s record is clean in this regard.
The new envoy seemingly is following a plan proposed by the former envoy Princeton Lyman who offered to Khartoum to work together to hold a referendum in Abyei as proposed by the African mediation without the participation of Sudanese Misseriya nomads. But also he needs to allow humanitarian access to the Two Areas and to improve the situation in Darfur.
Osman stressed that Sudan’s issues including Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan represent a national agenda which will be solved by the government and political parties, saying that improving relations with South Sudan is a strategic objective which the government seeks to achieve without foreign pressures and dictations.
The Sudanese official expressed hope that Booth’s top priority will be improving bilateral relations between the US and Sudan which would dispel Sudan’s fear and enable the US to play a positive role on the other issues.
Sudan has been under the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harboring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror" over the last decade.
Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.
Donald Booth, former ambassador who served in different parts of the African continent, was named special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan on 28 August.
The diplomat who served in Ethiopia, Zambia and Liberia "has extensive experience promoting peace and prosperity across the African continent", the White House said.
The White House said that Booth will work with the African Union (AU) and the international community to facilitate the resolution of pending issues between the two countries, including Abyei referendum and the disputed border zones.
He also seeks to aid efforts aimed at ending the ongoing conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile "as part of a holistic solution to Sudan’s human rights, humanitarian, and governance crises", the White House underlined.
OPPOSITION SLAM SUDAN’S INCONSISTENCY
The opposition National Umma Party (NUP), has described the recent statements made by Sudan’s foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, regarding the mission of the United States newly appointed envoy, Donald Booth, as “inconsistent and shaky”.
It stressed that, according to Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCC), any country has the right to refuse appointing a presidential envoy in the first place and confine serving the joint interests to the resident diplomatic representation.
On Saturday, Karti, told reporters that his government will not allow the U.S. to use Abyei as a “thorn in the throat” of Sudan and South Sudan and pointed that Washington is not qualified for determining Sudan’s relations with other countries.
The visibly angry foreign minister stressed that Sudan will not allow the US envoy to mediate in Abyei issue and accused Washington of trying to exploit the only remaining issues of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to sour relations between Khartoum and Juba.
The NUP’s secretary for foreign affairs, Nageeb Al-Khair Abdel-Wahab, in a press circular on Sunday, pointed that accepting a presidential envoy besides the resident diplomatic representation means approving him to carry out missions outside the framework of international conventions.
He expressed regret that the Sudanese diplomacy hasn’t learned from the repeated mistakes of the past including repudiating the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and the Cotonou Agreement after signing them.
Abdel-Wahab stressed that the inconsistency in making diplomatic decisions harms the country’s diplomatic reputation and contradicts the fundamentals of diplomatic work which requires making informed and enlightened decisions.
The NUP leader, Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi, received Booth, at his residence on Sunday.
Al-Mahdi secretary, Mohamed Zaki, told reporters that Booth listened to the NUP’s views on the national issues particularly peace and pointed that Booth reiterated his country’s position to resolve all Sudan’s issues, stressing Al-Mahdi’s readiness to meet with all political parties to discuss ideas for achieving national objectives.