May 15, 2013 (KHARTUM) – Sudanese defence minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein was Wednesday in Al-Obeid, capital of North Korodfan state to review the ongoing preparation to retake Abu-Kershola, an area the rebels control since 27 April.
Sudanese Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein speaks during a meeting with his South Sudan counterpart John Kong Nyuon in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, March 8, 2013 (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
The visit comes after statements by the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir on Monday 13 May where he said that the army forces were on the outskirts of Abu-Kershola and vowed to defeat the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF)
The rebels extended last month their attacks to Um Rawaba in North Kordofan state before to redeploys its fighters to Abu-Kershola in South Kordofan on the border with North-Kordofan state.
According the official news agency SUNA, Abdel-Rahim scrutinised the ongoing operations aiming to expel SRF fighters from the region, and reaffirmed the ability of the army to crash the rebels.
He further stated that the army started to enforce its plans to retake the control of the areas captured by the SRF rebels.
Abel Rahim was accompanied by the Sudan Armed Forces First Commander, Ismat Abdel-Rahman, and other commanders. His delegation was received at Al-Obeid airport by North Kordofan governor and the members of his government.
SRF rebels, mainly composed of the SPLM-North and JEM fighters, announced on Monday 13 May they repelled an attack on Abu-Kershola by the Sudanese army from three directions.
SPLM-N secretary general, Yasir Arman, in statements released on Thursday said that the recent attacks carried by SRF forces show the weakness of the regime, stressing that more political and military alliances can topple it.
He further called on the opposition forces to unite, adding that missing this opportunity would be a historical and strategic mistake.
Arman said they are in daily contact with political forces, youth and civil society groups, and called to set up an united political platform and an alternative political leadership in the fastest possible time.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46589
May 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) secretary of External Relations and head of government delegation to negotiations with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) Ibrahim Ghandour dismissed any attempts to move venue of the talks away from Addis Ababa.
National Congress Party (NCP) external relations secretary Ibrahim Ghandour
Ghandour, who was speaking in an interview on the state’s radio said that the only available alternative for Addis Ababa is Sudan.
Last week, the first round of talks between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese government since 2011 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have adjourned without success in achieving any breakthrough.
Ghandour also confirmed reports that Washington has extended an invitation for the NCP to visit the US explaining that s delegation to the U.S. will be comprised of himself, presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie and Ambassador Osama Faisal who is in charge of U.S. relations.
Late last month, the Obama administration has invited a senior delegation from the NCP to visit Washington for high-level discussions.
However, some media reports have suggested that Washington arranging a meeting between SPLM-N’s leader Malik Agar and Ghandour.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46455
May 3, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, says the fate of Abyei – a key disputed oil-producing border region – remains his government’s top priority following the country’s secession from Sudan in July 2011.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
His comments have raised expectations that direct negotiations on the issue may push way for some progress when he visits Khartoum to witness delivery of the first oil shipment to international markets through Sudanese territory.
President Kiir’s imminent visit to Khartoum, will be his first since October 2011.
South Sudan suspended oil-production more than a year ago over a dispute related to transit fees Khartoum was requesting from Juba for usage of its pipelines.
However, relations have dramatically improved since March when both sides said they would implement a Cooperation Agreement signed in September 2012.
Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir then visited Juba with a high-level delegation in April, for the first time since he attended South Sudan’s independence celebrations.
However, the closed door talks with Kiir brought no breakthrough on the thorny issues of Abyei.
Kiir sought to maintain a previous arrangement over legislative and executive power sharing in the area’s local administration which gives South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) 60% and Sudan’s governing National Congress Party (NCP) 40%, but Bashir argued for an equal distribution of the seats in the council.
Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting cabinet minister, Deng Alor Kuol, on Thursday, Kon Manyieth, a former head of physical infrastructure in the Abyei Area Administration (AAA), said he had come to Juba with greetings and to update the leadership on the current situation in the area.
The official who led the local delegation said he had a “fruitful” briefing with minister Kuol, who, in return, briefed them about his April visit to the United States and the African Union headquarters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for diplomatic talks over the Abyei issue.
“Our meeting with cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol was fruitful. We briefed him about general situation of the area, particularly about the massive settlement plan of members of the Misseriya who are getting direct support from the government of Sudan to the area. The other matter and the main reason of the visit is the continued killing and raiding of cattle and burning of villages in the area by the government of Sudan backed militia group”, Kon told journalists Thursday.
As per the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement South Sudan wants a referendum to be help in the area, with only those who are permanently residents in the area allowed to vote. Juba defines this a predominantly members of Dinka Ngok, who would be expected to vote for Abyei to become part of South Sudan.
However the plebiscite, originally scheduled for January 2011, has been delayed over disputes over who is eligible to take vote and the composition of the relevant institutions. Khartoum argues that members of the Arab nomadic Misseriya tribe, who enter the fertile area with their cattle for some time of the year should also be allowed to cast a ballot.
The AU’s Sudan mediator Thabo Mbeki seemed to agree with South Sudan and presented a proposal which would effectively leave out the nomadic Misseriya. But Sudan has summarily dismissed Mbeki’s proposal.
Kon said the reason for the alleged attacks on the area is part of the Sudanese government’s strategic plan, aiming to sabotage and deter the natives of Abyei from returning to their original places north of the town so that they do not participate in the upcoming referendum vote.
The African Union has proposed that the poll be conducted in October this year.
“The massive settlement plan of the members of the Misseriya in the area and the continued killing and burning of the villages is a political scheme of the government of Sudan. The strategic objective is to deter our people from returning to their original places north of Abyei. These are part of the strategic plans of the government of Sudan. We know it very well. So we have to alert our leadership and our people who are living here in Juba and in other states of South Sudan”, he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Deng Alor Kuol, according to Kon, said president Kiir assured him that the issue of Abyei remains a top priority of post-secession issues still to be settled with the government of Sudan.
“Minister Deng Alor also briefed us of his meeting with the president Salva Kiir after his recent visit to the US and Addis Ababa to brief him and the president assured him of his commitment to pursue the issue of Abyei as one of his top priorities. He said the president said the issue of Abyei remains top priority of the post secession issues to be settled with Sudan”, Kon explained.
SERIOUS DIPLOMATIC ENGAGEMENT
South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Nhial Deng Nhial, said Friday his country is seriously engaging Sudan in diplomatic discussions over the area.
“There is a very serious effort under way to get talks to convince Sudan to accept the African proposal as the basis of resolving the conflict over the area. A lot of resorts are being devoted. Much of the time and efforts are given to the issue of Abyei. We are engaging Sudan to accept the African proposal because it is the only way differences as these are resolved in the entire world. Referendum is always the solution”, Nhial said in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune on Friday.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46451