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Juba optimistic of resolving allegations of rebel support with Khartoum

July 30, 2013 (JUBA/KHARTOUM) – The government of South Sudan said on Tuesday that it hopes the outcome of the security meeting, which brings together senior military officials from Khartoum and Juba as well as experts from the region, would produce tangible results.

JPEG - 27 kb(From L-R) Maj-Gen (Retired) Julius Olakunle Sunday Oshanupin, minister of foreign affairs Tedros Adhanom and AU commissioner for peace and security Ramtane Lamamra at the 22 July launch of an investigation into accusations of rebel support and to determine a border centreline (Photo: AU)

The under-secretary at the ministry of defence, Gen. Bior Ajang Duot, said that the overall objective of the meeting is to promote dialogue on potential collaboration and defuse any destabilising points of tension between the two countries.

Duot said there is “no relationship more important” than the one with Sudan, with actions taken by either side having a significant impact on the entire region.

“We are being watched closely by the whole world. They want to know what we are doing and this is why our leadership believes strongly in peaceful coexistence. We believe in peaceful dialogue as a way to resolve dispute”, Duot told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

Both countries, he believed, contribute greatly to global stability and development.

“If we get it right, so will the world,” the South Sudanese general said.

Duot, however, acknowledged that mistrust and suspicion still persist between the two ex-foes.

“While there exist many deep-seated strategic differences between our two countries, it is crucial that we work together to resolve these differences and not create new ones”, he said.

ALLEGATIONS THREATEN SECURITY

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 under a peace deal which ended more than two decades of civil war, but both are now at loggerheads over alleged rebel support which has crippled the implementation of several other accords signed last year.

The Sudanese government constantly accuses Juba of backing its former allies from the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), currently fighting Khartoum in the border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Juba denies this charge and in turn claims that Khartoum is supporting rebel groups in Jonglei.

Relations between the two nations was last month dealt a fresh setback when Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir ordered the closure of pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan to international export markets. The latest stand-off came just a few months after oil exports were resumed after being shut off for more than a year following disagreements over transit fees.

Bashir signalled that his government is fed up with Juba’s continued backing of rebels in the wake of a series of attacks by Sudanese insurgents on government positions in North and South Kordofan.

The African Union (AU) and China managed to convince Bashir to extend the implementation period of the planned oil shutdown in order to allow committees to investigate allegations of rebel support.

The AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) warned that if proven such support will stand to be “in clear violation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Non-Aggression and Cooperation, signed by the two countries on 10 February 2012”.

“The council stresses the urgent necessity for the two countries to summon the necessary political will to overcome the current difficulties and establish two viable states, at peace with one another and cooperating together on issues of common interest,” AUPSC said in a statement released on Tuesday.

ALL EYES ON JUBA

All eyes are now on Juba where meetings with Sudanese officials are focused on the harbouring of rebel forces.

Duot called on the leaders and people of both countries to approach their relations with vision and maturity. He asserted that he knows president Salva Kiir and Bashir “fare well” when working together due to their extensive interactions and commitment to addressing the outstanding issues.

Although Duot recognised that disagreements are inevitable, he felt that mutually agreeable solutions can be found more easily if both parties act in a manner that is “straightforward, clear, and predictable with one another.”

He also argued that regular meetings between high-level officials in Juba and Khartoum would help foster trust and understanding.

“Holding such meetings between our countries is crucial for building personal trust and confidence. We have to know what each other is doing”, said Duot, summarising the agenda of this dialogue and future exchanges between the nations.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s deputy director of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Mac Paul, said that the security meeting with Khartoum has been “progressing fairly well”.

“The discussions have been progressing fairly well since we began. The first item on the agenda started with how to handle accusations and counter accusations. The last item which is still being discussed revolves around reaching consensus to activate [the] buffer zone and establishing a centreline in the demilitarised zone”, said Paul in a statement to the state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV).

NO HUMANITARIAN DEAL

In Khartoum, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) deputy chairman for party’s affairs, Nafie Ali Nafie, disclosed that negotiations with Juba are underway to arrive at an agreement which will ensure that the South Sudan army (SPLA) severs all ties with the SPLM-N.

In press statements on Tuesday, Nafie emphasised that the SPLM-N is nothing but a satellite group for the governing party in South Sudan.

He claimed that SPLM-N are using civilians as human shields in war zones in order to obtain humanitarian aid for its army and called on the international community to press the rebel group to end the practice.

Nafie noted that people in government-controlled areas continue to receive humanitarian aid.

Khartoum rejects all proposals to extend humanitarian aid to rebel controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, stressing that a political agreement on the two border states should come prior to any humanitarian deal.

He further pointed to recent political developments in South Sudan and concluded that Juba has now decided to improve its relations with Khartoum, predicting that the recent changes within the government ranks there would strengthen relations and help implement the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries.

“We seek to establish strong, sustainable, and cooperative relations with South Sudan”, Nafie said.

Last week, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued a decree dissolving the entire government and removing long-standing vice-president Riek Machar.

REGIME STANDS STRONG

Referring to a separate matter, Nafie scoffed at statements made by SPLM-N secretary general, Yasser Arman, in which he spoke about the imminent demise of the regime, underlining the NCP’s longevity in the face of outside challenges.

He refused to acknowledge that the “Liberation Ticket” campaign launched by the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) reflects the official stand of the NUP, saying that it only represents the stand of NUP’s leading figure and daughter of the party’s head, Mariam Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.

The NUP launched the initiative last month in a bid to change the regime by collecting a million signatures and organising sit-ins in public squares and other places.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47489

Sudan receives documents regarding oil transit fees

July 29,2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government announced that it has received documents regarding its financial dues from the transfer of South Sudan oil through Sudanese territory.

JPEG - 39.2 kbWorkers from the Sudanese oil pipeline in the disputed Abyei area reconstruct the line on June 14, 2013 following an explosion the previous day. (Getty)

In September of last year, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among other issues.

In March this year the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements allowing for resumption of South Sudan oil exports through its northern neighbor pipelines which were suspended for more than a year for disagreements over transit fees.

But in June, Bashir ordered the shutdown South Sudanese petroleum exports through Sudan’s oil installations, accusing Juba of providing shelter and support to Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

Last week, Bashir agreed to a request made by Chinese and AU officials to postpone for at least two weeks the deadline by which Sudan will shut down the pipelines.

Sudan’s central bank said that it has received documents regarding Sudan’s share from South Sudan and oil companies’ transit fees amounting to $236 million.

The assistant governor of Sudan’s central bank, Azhari al-Tayeb al-Faki, said in press statements on Mondaypointed out that the total amount was $236 million including $150 million transit fees for South Sudan’s oil, and $86 million transit fees for the companies’ oil.

He stressed that the southern oil will continue to flow through Sudanese territory until August 22.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47479

South Sudan says new foreign minister will not participate in AU meeting

July 28, 2013 (JUBA)- South Sudan said on Sunday that its newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister will not participate in an African Union (AU) meeting set to discuss the cooperation agreement it signed with neighbouring Sudan.

JPEG - 15.2 kbSouth Sudan foreign minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin

Instead the country will be represented by Ambassador Arop Kuol who is accredited to the AU. The International Cooperation Minister and Spokesperson of the South Sudan Foreign Minister, Ambassador Mawien Makol revealed this to the Sudan Tribune in an exclusive interview yesterday.

“There are certain arrangements which are supposed to be done. The swearing in of the new minister is one of things supposed to be done. The other thing is that we got the information late and we tried to make some arrangements but which did not work.
The undersecretary was supposed to travel this [yesterday] evening at around 5: 00 o’clock but he did not go. So the leadership has decided to delegate Ambassador Arop Kuol to represent the country at the meeting”, Ambassador Makol told Sudan Tribune.

Makol said the AU meeting will, among others, discuss South Sudan’s relations and the cooperation agreement with Sudan.

“The information we have is that the meeting would discuss regional issues with the focus on our relations with the government of Sudan, especially the difficulties being faced in the implementation of the cooperation agreement”, Makol explained.

President Salva Kiir in decrees issued last week relieved his Vice President Riek Machar and cabinet off their duties.

Kiir has however since issued an order appointing former Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin as the country’s new foreign affairs minister. Maria’s lone appointment has been interpreted as a move by the President to fill a gap that had been left in the foreign affairs ministry thus paralysing contact with foreign relations and diplomatic missions.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47453

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