Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sudan Wants Zimbabwe to Mediate

Sudan wants Zim to mediate

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald

THE African Union should appoint Zimbabwe to mediate in the dispute between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan since Harare does not have an interest in the matter, an official said yesterday.

In a wide ranging interview, Sudanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Elsidieg Abdalla, said his government preferred the African Union to resolve its dispute with Juba and not the United Nations.

Ambassador Elsidieg said Zimbabwe was the best country to mediate in the dispute since it enjoyed cordial relations with the two countries.

“Zimbabwe is one of the few countries, which have embassies in both countries,” he said.

“They also do not have an interest in the matter,” he added.

He said other African countries were not acceptable as they had taken sides in the dispute, singling out Uganda, which he said had openly declared its support for Juba.

He said despite its own difficulties, Zimbabwe was an influential member of Sadc.

“Zimbabwe is also a member of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union,” he said.

Ambassador Elsidieg said Sudan believed that the African Union had the mandate to address disputes between member states and not the United Nations.

He said the AU should exhaust all channels of resolving conflicts between member states before referring them to the UN.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki and Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi have been mediating in the dispute between the two countries.

Ambassador Elsidieg said unlike its southern neighbour who was not negotiating in good faith, Khartoum was genuinely interested in peace.

He said Khartoum will not have agreed to hold a referendum as well as accept the vote to secede if it were not genuinely interested in peace.

Khartoum also knew that it was easier to fight a rebel movement than a state otherwise it would not have granted the South its independence.

“It is enough testimony that we are not after war,” he said.

Ambassador Elsidieg said Khartoum was prepared to hand over any territories that Juba could prove belonged to it as long as it produced documentary evidence.

He said Khartoum wanted the war with its southern neighbour to end so that the two countries could concentrate resources and energies on development.

“We have been fighting for the last 60 years. If we continue we will go on for the next 60 years and all we will be doing is destroying our countries,” he said.

The long drawn civil war between north and south Sudan officially ended in 2005 but tensions remain between Khartoum and Juba, which seceded from the rest of the country in July 2011.

Despite a lengthy peace process, negotiations between the two sides have so far failed to resolve some key issues, which include the borders, oil revenue and transit fees.

Both Khartoum and Juba depend heavily on oil revenues.

Three quarters of oil is in South Sudan but all the infrastructure to export it (pipelines, refineries and ports) is in the north.

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