Monday, December 3, 2012

Reflections on relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Al-Saddig Al-Mahdi
December 2, 2012 — Historically, Ethiopia and Eritrea have not been united in one country. However, first Eritrea then Ethiopia have been occupied as Italian colonies, which imposed upon them Italian culture.
Another link between the two regions is the fact that the Tigrian peoples, who inhabit a region north of the Mereb in Southern Eritrea, and south of the Mereb in Northern Ethiopia, belong to the same ethnicity and speak the same language, Tigrinya, and have a common Axumaite heritage.
Another link between the two Regions is that the Christian population in both Regions belongs to the Orthodox Coptic Church.
A third link between Ethiopia and Eritrea is the fact that the main languages spoken in them, namely Amharinya and Tigrinya, are both Semitic languages and are written in the same alphabet.
The fourth link is the existence of a substantial Muslim community in both countries.
However, developments from mid-twentieth century have driven the two Regions apart, and today, hostility between them is at its zenith.
In what follows, I reflect on the issues of War and Peace and future relations between the two countries.
1. As an expression of appreciation for the support of the Emperor of Ethiopia for the allies in the Second Atlantic War (1939-1945), the allies, as led by the USA and the UK, decided to join Eritrea to Ethiopia in a Federal unity without the due participation of the peoples of Eritrea in 1952. That measure constituted a grievance for the peoples of Eritrea. The Eritreans who experienced sixty years of Italian administration were more modernized. Under the Federation they suffered dissolution of their political parties, of their trade unions, and lost the relative press freedom. And to add insult to injury, the Federation itself was abolished by Ethiopia in 1958. In 1961, an armed Eritrean resistance to Ethiopia came into being.
2. Under the Emperor, Ethiopian administration was a backward Feudalism. It exercised forced Amaharization, and addressed the Eritreans in provocative language. The Emperor said in reference to Eritrea: we need its land, not its peoples. After the coup d’etat against the Emperor, a power struggle developed between the coup makers, in which Mengistu Haile Mariam emerged victorious. He proceeded to establish a Stalinism, which I described as the Fascism of the Left.
3. That Stalinist oppression further alienated the Peoples of Eritrea. Their resistance developed in several stages but ultimately Eritrean resistance was led by the EPLF. The Mengistu Regime exercised similar oppression against the Peoples of Ethiopia particularly the Tigryan ethnicity, which organized its resistance in the TPLF.
4. Several movements with different identities participated in the struggle but the TPLF came on top.
5. The leaders of the two Fronts, whom I came to know personally, were articulate Revolutionaries, who had much in common; the late Meles Zinawi and President Isaias Afwerki belonged to the same ethnicity, Tigryan, they spoke the same mother tongue, Tigrinya, they belonged to the same ideology, Marxism. During their period of struggle, they both enjoyed refuge in Sudan and came to have similar great appreciation for the peoples of Sudan. All these similarities would have been expected to make the TPLF and the ELPF close allies against the Mengistu Regime, and to establish a close relationship after they defeated the Mengistu Regime and came to power in Addis Ababa and Asmara.
6. Apart from the similarities between the TPLF and EPLF, there are several common features between the Peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, namely:
• The two main languages in the two regions: Amharinya and Tigrinya are both Semitic and written in Geez Alphabet.
• Yes there are numerous language and ethnic groups in both countries more so in Ethiopia than Eriteria, they both need stability for the management of diversity.
• Beyond the language, there are close cultural affinities, in the cuisine, in national dress, in music, in marriage and mourning traditions and so on.
• More importantly, the geopolitical imperatives cannot be overlooked.
In spite of all these factors drawing them together, in 1998, over a border dispute around Badme, the two states confronted each other in a bloody war.
7. Since the sixties of the twentieth century, events have increased interchange between peoples of the Horn of Africa in an unprecedented way, particularly in terms of refugees, and sanctuary for opposition movements. As members of the Sudanese NDA we were freely residing in and travelling between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Similarly, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees and opposition movements had access to the Sudan before their liberation. Therefore we were shocked by the 1998 war and I led an NDA mediation delegation to stop it. We met with the political and military leaders of both countries, they all received us most cordially, but we could see no avenue of reconciliation between them. We even offered a mechanism of mediation to no avail. My impression, which was substantiated by further events was that Badme was not the real issue, which caused all bloodshed and carnage. Successful revolutions, when they come to power, usually become ultra-nationalistic to consolidate their legitimacy, this phenomenon may be seen in the cases of East Timor and Kosovo.
This factor explains the behavior of the Eritrean leadership and the need to stand up to Ethiopia.
For Ethiopian leadership, there was an added reason for ultra-nationalism. The TPLF was a secessionist movement, which was pushed into an all Ethiopian role by the vacuum created by the speedy collapse of the Dergue. It had to prove its Ethiopian identity for example Napoleon who was identified with a secessionist movement, before he qualified for FRENCH leadership, the same goes for Mustafa Kamal of Turkey. Therefore, the two leaders and their movements were painted in an ultra-nationalist corner. By now, 14 years after the war, so many things have changed, namely:
• It is not possible to settle differences unilaterally, and war provides no solution but loss in blood, wealth and lost opportunities.
• The Regional African Agenda has moved towards aspirations for African Unity.
• The International Human Rights Agenda has developed towards the guaranteeing of Human Rights as a basic duty of all sovereign states. In fact, Human Rights have become the real basis of legitimacy in the eyes of the International Community to the extent of intervention, if necessary, for the purpose of Responsibility (R2P).
• The majority of African states have become democratic.
• The Arab spring, which I call the new dawn, has turned a new page in the direction of the empowerment of the peoples.
• The need to eschew an attitude of hostile independence in the two states of Ethiopia and Eritrea and recognize the compelling factors of interdependence is more than ever obvious.
8. Attempts at violent change will only lead to greater internal polarization, and greater external interference, to the detriment of National interests.
What is needed in both countries is a broad based inclusive movement for democratic transformation. Such a transformation is necessary to reconcile Government with its citizens. Such reconciliation will be consistent with the march of history, and would lead to state to state reconciliation, even further; it would allow the forces of mutually beneficial integration towards the two Sudans and other neighbors.
I don’t know how receptive the Peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea will be to my opinion, but I hope they consider them in the light of a sympathetic and fraternal brotherhood.
The author is the leader of the Umma National Party and former Prime Minister. He presented in a lecture at St. Antony’s College –Oxford University on 17 November 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

George Clooney We Have To Make Life Miserable For President Of Sudan | E! Online

George Clooney continued his quest last night to stop the atrocities occurring in Sudan.
George Clooney"We hear these slogans and say them a lot—"not on our watch," "never again"—but the truth is that when it comes to innocent people being slaughtered, it always happens on our watch," the Oscar-winner said at last night's Carousel of Hope Ball, where he was honored with the Brass Ring Award. "It happens again and again and again."
Clooney said he is dedicated to helping end President Omar al-Bashir's horrific reign over Sudan.
"The truth is…were going to have to find lots of ways to make life miserable for people who make lives miserable," he said. "And more importantly…we have to continue to make life bearable for those whose situation has become unbearable."
One of Clooney's most impressive endeavors is financing a satellite that focuses on Sudan.
"It's an area that journalists can't get into," he said. "There's a good reason they can't get in is because the president of Sudan Omar al-Bishir is consistently and constantly killing innocent civilians."
Clooney said Bashir, who has been charged with war crimes against humanity, has publicly complained about the satellite.
"President Bashir posed the question, ‘How would Mr. Clooney like it if everywhere he went cameras were following him?'" Clooney said as the crowded ballroom erupted in laughter.
The actor added with a smile, "It sounds terrible."
"You can't make people do the right things," Clooney said, "but you can make it harder for them to do the wrong things."
The event, held at the Beverly Hilton, benefits the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. Clooney's girlfriend Stacy Keibler was by his side. They sat at a table with Sidney PoitierJane FondaQuincy JonesDavid FosterClive Davis and CAA honcho Bryan Lourd.
American Idol star Jessica Sanchez performed "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going."
"I just want to dedicate this song to George Clooney," the 17-year-old singer said before belting out her jaw-dropping rendition of the Dreamgirls song.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unity State confiscates expired products from market - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
October 19, 2012 (BENTIU) - Thousands expired commodities have been confiscated according to Unity Authorities finance Ministry, and traders from Ethiopia and Sudan being investigated for selling the goods after their sell-by-date.
Niemeri Mayual Garkek, the Unity State director for industry and quality promotion, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the expired goods are being stored by the government after they were found on sale in Bentiu’s markets.
The expired goods are allowed to enter the state as there asre "no clear check points" to inspect imported commodities”, Garkek said.
South Sudan depends on imported goods from the neighboring countries Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The country has vast areas of fertile land but insecurity and inefficiency in agricultural production mean that South Sudan still depends largely on imports, especially for manufactured goods.
Garkek says over reliance on imports is a big challenge for the young nation, making Unity State "a zoo of the expired commodities".
The expired commodities came through Rubkotna and Guit ports on the White Nile river which are used by traders to import goods to the state. Most storage facilities for consumable goods are not well ventilated resulting in some goods going bad even before their expiry dates.
The expired goods include medicine, maize flour, alcoholic drinks, powered juices, biscuits, and sodas. Authorities say will take to court traders suspected of bringing expired goods into the state.
“Before the demolition in that place we have apply what is so call legal procedures, in the present of legal advisor at the Ministry level or even there is no legal advisor we use to cooperate with those prosecution and attorney or legal administration, the legal procedure we have to use we do with what we call not comply form”, Garkek added.
Garkek says the government is working hard to stop such practices from reoccurring within the state, adding that traders should respect the role of the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards.
In the state capital Bentiu, consumers complain that many bakers sell bread with insects inside their bread and that rotten goods are sold in markets.
Joseph Gatluak Jal, 21, a bread seller in Kalibalek Market told Sudan Tribune that some goods are rotten when they are sold to them by wholesalers.
“It is true that some wheat flour carry some insects", he said, adding that "when we go and buy the wheat flour we could not know whether such wheat flour has spoiled”.
Jal who has made his living selling bread seller since 2007 earns between 15 to 20 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) a day. He blames the government for not properly controlling imports and the consequent potential health consequences.
South Sudan lacks the equipment or laboratories to properly examine the import goods to the country.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

U.N.'s Ban hails Sudan-South Sudan oil deal -

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The U.N. secretary-general said he welcomed the Sudanese approval of a deal with South Sudan that paves the way for the resumption of oil exports.
The independent Sudan Tribune reports Sudanese lawmakers approved of a cooperation agreement signed in September in Ethiopia with the government in South Sudan. The resumption of oil exports from South Sudan through Sudanese transit networks and a demilitarized zone along the border are part of the package.
South Sudan, independent since July 2011, halted oil production in January in response to alleged stealing by the Sudanese government. South Sudan controls most of the regional oil fields though Sudan has the export infrastructure.
Kenya and land-locked South Sudan had discussed building a 1,200-mile crude oil pipeline that would reach ports along Indian Ocean.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued through his spokesman, congratulated both sides for ratifying the deal. Both countries, however, were urged to settle outstanding issues like the disputed border area of Abyei.
Border issues, ethnic conflicts and disputes over oil had threatened to derail the 2005 peace agreement that secured South Sudan's independence. Both sides approached the brink of war earlier this year following disputes over oil in the border territory of Heglig.

Read more:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Deal Sets Mechanisms to Resolve Future Disputes Sudan Vision

South Sudan to Disengage Divisions 9, 10; Oil Companies Directed to Prepare for Oil Pumping
Khartoum – President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al Bashir arrived in Khartoum airport yesterday evening accompanied by Sudan's delegation to the Addis Ababa peace talks.
Upon arrival, Al Bashir addressed the mass rally, affirming that the deal represents an end to all disputes between the two countries because there is a concrete base and mechanisms to resolve any future disputes.
He added that the relations of the two countries' people will become as they were before secession, and the borders will be flexible to accommodate both sides' interests.
He disclosed that the deal included all outstanding issues and is the actual start of peace between Sudan and South Sudan. He pointed out that President Salva Kiir was honest and keen to sign the deal, expressing seriousness in its implementation.
Al Bashir emphasized Sudan's friendly relations with all its neighbouring countries, South Sudan, Chad, Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea and Central African Republic. He lauded the great efforts of the AUHIP, the late Ethiopian Premier, Meles Zenawi, and the government and people of Ethiopia to achieve peace between the two countries.
Staff Lieutenant General Abdul-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, the Minister of Defense, announced that Sudan and South Sudan agreed to disengage Divisions 9 and 10 in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. He added that technical mechanisms will meet when the necessary arrangements to carry out the decision are made.
Speaking on a radio show on Friday, the minister said Sudan and South Sudan reached agreements on oil, the economy, trade, borders, banking transactions and the demarcation of (five areas). “We hope they will be settled within five months.”
Hussein said the Abyei issue is complicated and will take more time due to its procedures; however, both countries have agreed to continue dialogue on it.
“The provision of political will in the countries and sincere implementation of the agreement is necessary for relations between the countries to enter a new stage characterized by understanding, cooperation and friendship deeply rooted in the countries,” the minister said.
Omer Al Bashir
Omer Al Bashir
Speaking on security arrangements, the minister said Khartoum and Juba reached a non-aggression deal that included a 10 km buffer zone on each side of the border. He added that they agreed on specific mechanisms to monitor and investigate allegations and violations by both parties in order to prevent the governments from giving logistic support and accommodation to rebel movements. Both sides must immediately withdraw from occupied lands and activate the agreed-upon monitoring mechanisms.
Hussein said the countries made special arrangements for the Mile 14 region which constituted a problem on the African Union’s map. The issue was concluded by stipulating it will retain its prior status as a disarmed, peaceful region of intercommunication.
The head of Government’s delegation to the Addis Ababa negotiations, Idriss Mohamed Abdel-Gadir, said oil companies in Sudan and South Sudan will be ordered to immediately resume pumping oil via Sudan; all details regarding oil transit through Sudan have been resolved.  He noted that Ministers of Trade and central banks of both countries will meet soon to arrange to implement trade between the countries that has been agreed upon. Abdel-Gadir added that the political and security committee will also meet soon to make final arrangements to implement a security deal between the countries. He said the sides agreed on financial matters related to oil transit fees, the administrative aspect of transferring money from central bank in Juba to central bank in Khartoum and transitional financial arrangements for the estimated US $3028 million that Government of South Sudan will pay in three years.
Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan, a member of the negotiating delegation, said that oil transit fees were set at $15 per barrel to be paid within a period not exceeding 40 days from the arrival of the barrel in Port Sudan when Government will send invoices. He added that the two sides agreed on $9,1 for Nile Blend and $11 for Petrodar blend as treatment fees at Jebelain and Heglig. He stated that in the case South Sudan does not pay fees within 60 days, Sudan reserves the right to extract its dues from South Sudan oil. The agreement also specified ways to transfer these amounts to any accounts in the currency Sudan demands.
US President Barack Obama welcomed the agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on many decisive issues. In a White House statement White House, Obama said the agreement represents a crucial development to resolve outstanding economic and security issues in Sudan and South Sudan.
British Secretary of Foreign Office William Hague also welcomed the agreement, regarding it a “mark of identification” towards resolving differences that will build constructive, good, neighbourly relations.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement that the Sudan and South Sudan accords "provide vital elements in building a strong foundation for a stable and prosperous future between the two countries."
The UN Chief also praised President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan "for demonstrating the statesmanship that made a comprehensive agreement possible, and for having once again chosen peace over war."
Qatar also hailed the Sudan and South Sudan accords. A source at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed hope that the accords will contribute to solving the remaining issues between the countries. The sources commended the efforts of Ethiopia and the African Union to make the agreement happen.
In addition, Egypt congratulated the peoples and Governments of Sudan and South Sudan. While speaking before a consultative forum on Sudan and South Sudan attended by UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon, the Head of African Union Commission Jan Ping held during UN General Assembly meetings in New York, Egyptian Foreign Minister said: “This day is a great day in the history of the two countries.”

By Al-Sammani Awadallah, 23 hours 10 minutes ago  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

South Sudan-Sudan agree on 9 issues but not border | World | The Sun Herald

"ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have reached nine agreements but did not work out the issues surrounding the contested Abyei region or the demarcation of their shared border.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir said the two countries would sign a "protocol of collaboration" on Thursday.

Atif Kiir, a South Sudan spokesman, said late Wednesday that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and Kiir agreed on economic issues and a buffer zone between their borders to allow oil exports.

Kiir said that oil exports - which South Sudan shut down earlier this year - would resume and that only "technical work" remains.

South Sudan broke free from Sudan in July, 2011 in a referendum that has put an end to one of the region's deadliest and longest conflicts."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The plan of Zenawie and Kenya to cut Sudan out  and keep Somalia in turmoil is cleaning out after the death of the notorious dictator's  death. 
The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have resolved to end their differences over oil production, a move that could rule out Kenya’s plans to erect a new refinery in Lamu to refine South Sudan oil. The two presidents, Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir, who met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week, are understood to have agreed to set up a framework that would see South Sudan resume pumping oil to the north for refining at Port Sudan. Both declined to give any details to the media, although they acknowledged that their respective technical teams had instructions to complete a deal by next week.
“We look forward to celebration very soon,” Salva Kiir said as he left the conference centre in Addis Ababa.
Juba stopped pumping petroleum in January after accusing Khartoum of stealing its oil, leaving the two countries’ economies limping. The two nearly went to war in April over differences over their common border, oil revenues and ownership of the disputed region of Abyei where much of the oil is located.
As a way out, Juba struck a deal with Kenya to establish a refinery and a pipeline to Lamu. That development now appears unlikely - the UN has threatened sanctions if the current talks fail.
The two Sudans separated in July 2011, with Juba inheriting two-thirds of the region’s oil while Khartoum retained the processing and export facilities. The deal with Kenya was bound to cripple Khartoum’s economy, hence the talks. To complicate Kenya’s chances, its current oil exploration activities in the Turkana area have yielded too little oil to justify the construction of a refinery in Lamu.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sudanese rebel held areas are to receive UN aid flights

An agreement has been reached to allow aid to be flown into the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions of Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of people are critically short of food.
The UN, African Union and Arab League signed the deal with SPLM North rebels.
But one senior rebel leader, Yassir Arman, told the BBC that the flights required Sudanese government approval.
This photo taken on 15 June 2012 at the Jamam refugee camp shows Anima Hassan Omer cradling her granddaughter Khalifa at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) field hospital in South Sudan's Upper Nile state
Mr Arman said permission for aid to the two areas had been blocked by Khartoum for nearly a year.
The agreement was signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa late on Saturday.
It calls for the immediate establishment of an assessment team to produce a report on conditions in Blue Nile, and in the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan within two weeks.
The SPLM North has agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable the assessment to take place and for the aid flights to get under way.
Tens of thousands flee
Mr Arman said that between 300,000 and 400,000 people were in urgent need of aid.

: "A cross-border operation from Ethiopia and South Sudan would have been more effective than this operation.
"This agreement puts the issue of access and sending assistance in the hands of Khartoum, and this is the main weakness of this agreement."
The BBC was unable to reach the Sudanese delegation in Ethiopia for comment.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled across the border into South Sudan to escape hunger and fighting.
Mortality rates in one refugee camp in South Sudan, Jamam, are nearly double the threshold for an emergency, the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres has warned.
This means that about eight children are dying every day in the camp, which houses about 40,000 of the 120,000 people that have fled the conflict in Blue Nile state.
The medical charity said people were dying of preventable diseases because of "horrific living conditions".
Latrines have overflowed, contaminating water sources, because of heavy rains.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan a year ago - as part of a deal to end years of civil war.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sudan “kills three” in alleged Blue Nile air attacks - Sudan Tribune

July 30, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Three civilians have been killed and dozens injured in a series of airstrikes conducted by the Sudanese army in the border regions of Blue Nile, the region’s rebels said on Monday.
JPEG - 44.3 kb
According to Arnu Loddi, the spokesman of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) which has been fighting the government in the region since last year, the attacks launched on Friday, 27 July, and Saturday, 28 July, had targeted Ora-Balila, Magaf and Wadaka Nellei villages in the states, killing three civilians and injuring about 20 in total.
Attempts by Sudan Tribune to reach the spokesperson of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) for comments were not successful.
The report comes as the government and the SPLM-N started, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week, first indirect negotiations under African Union (AU) mediation to discuss ways of allowing humanitarian assistance to the conflict-affected population in Blue Nile and South Kordofan after both sides agreed to a United Nations (UN), AU and an Arab League’s initiative in this regard.
These are the first talks between the two parties since the government disavowed a deal it signed with the SPLM-N in June last year following the eruption of the armed conflict between the two sides in South Kordofan before it spread to Blue Nile two months later.
Since then, Khartoum has been blocking humanitarian assistance from reaching SPLM-N controlled areas, citing concerns that any aid might be used by the rebels.
But the UN Security Council (UNSC) ordered Sudan in May as part of a resolution concerning its conflict with South Sudan to “cooperate” with the SPLM-N in order to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the two regions.
The UNSC warned to impose non-military sanctions if provisions of its resolution are not met before 2 August but sources close to the talks say this is unlikely in light of the hitherto irreconcilable positions of the two sides especially on political and security issues.
The UN says about 200,000 refugees have fled the dire humanitarian situation in the two states into neighboring Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sudan says S. Sudan treating wounded Darfur rebels-AFP

Sudan says S. Sudan treating wounded Darfur rebels
KHARTOUM — Darfur rebels wounded in the latest fighting with Sudanese troops have gone to South Sudan for treatment, the army said on Tuesday, as Khartoum pushes Juba to end alleged backing for rebels.
The army and insurgents gave conflicting accounts of Monday's fighting, which came while Sudanese negotiators at fragile peace talks in Addis Ababa turned down South Sudan's proposal for settling oil fees and other critical issues by a United Nations-imposed deadline of August 2.
Khartoum said security is a key priority and issues such as South Sudan's "support" for rebels need to be settled.
In a statement carried by the official SUNA news agency, Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said the government killed more than 50 fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and wounded a large number of others.
The fighting erupted just inside South Kordofan state near southeastern Darfur.
Saad said a "big number of vehicles were seen carrying the injured elements of the rebels for treatment in South Sudan."
Casualty claims are difficult to verify in the region, where access is restricted.
JEM on Tuesday denied that any of its fighters had been killed in the battles or that wounded had been moved across the undemarcated border.
Rebel spokesman Gibril Adam Bilal said his forces had control of the Tabaldi oil field as well as the Karkade and Tabun areas since Monday evening.
Sudan accuses South Sudan of working with the JEM and of backing insurgencies in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The South denies supporting the rebels but suspected JEM fighters were seen alongside its troops during border fighting between Sudan and South Sudan in April.
The JEM denies any presence in South Sudan, which accuses the north of backing insurgents in the South as well.
The UN has called on both sides to halt any such support, under a May 2 Security Council resolution which ordered a ceasefire along the border.
The resolution gave the two sides until Thursday of next week to settle critical issues, including a dispute over oil, unresolved after the South's separation in July last year.
At African Union-led talks in the Ethiopian capital, Sudan on Monday rejected South Sudan's proposal of a higher oil transit fee and an $8.2 billion financial deal.
"We think security is a prerequisite," Mutrif Siddiq, a member of Khartoum's delegation, told reporters.
South Sudan separated with about 75 percent of Sudanese oil production.
But the export infrastructure remained in the north and the two sides' failure to agree over how much the South should pay to send its crude through northern pipelines has been at the heart of tensions between the two countries.
In January, Juba cut off all oil production.
Pagan Amum, South Sudan's chief negotiator, said on Monday that his government was ready to resume oil exports if "reasonable" transport fees are agreed.
He outlined a proposal whereby Juba would pay up to $9.10 a barrel to move its oil through Sudan.
Khartoum earlier demanded as much as $36 per barrel, which includes tariffs and transit, processing and port fees.
South Sudan said that "in the interest of peace" it was offering Sudan a multi-billion-dollar financial package over three years, including a cash payment and debt forgiveness to help fill the massive fiscal gap Sudan reported after it lost its main source of hard currency when the South separated.
Dismissing the offer, Siddiq ruled out any comprehensive deal by the August 2 deadline but said he remained hopeful in the longer term.
In Monday's fighting, army spokesman Saad said government troops repulsed the JEM at Karkade and another area, Um-Shuwaika, destroying 25 of its vehicles.
He made no mention of fighting around an oil field but said the army lost "a number of martyrs" in the action with rebels whose goals were dictated "by foreign circles."
JEM claimed it killed "tens" of government troops.
On Saturday, South Sudan accused Khartoum of a new cross-border air raid and said in response it would negotiate only through AU mediators, not face-to-face.
Sudan said it retaliated inside its own territory to an attempted JEM attack which Siddiq called a "stab in the back" by Juba.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sudan, South Sudan leaders meet over disputes | World News | Bradenton Herald

 — Aid agencies should have access to help internally displaced people fleeing from violence in Sudan and South Sudan, a top U.N. official said Sunday, one day after the leaders of the two nations met in a closed-door session.
The African Union summit called on the neighboring countries to resolve disputes over border and security issues by the Aug. 2 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council.
"The council calls on the two countries to speedily conclude agreements that would allow for the reopening of the border, facilitate the resumption of trade and support the livelihoods of border communities," said the AU's Peace and Security Council.
Leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan have addressed the meeting.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir met late Saturday in a closed door meeting which lasted an hour, according to a senior official in the South Sudanese mission who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.
The official did not disclose details of the talks, which were the first meeting of the two presidents since a border dispute brought their nations close to war in April.
The African Union panel has been facilitating talks between the two sides since May 2010.
South Sudan broke away from Sudan last year after a peaceful vote, but violence has flared along the border. In addition, South Sudan shut down its oil industry after accusing Sudan of stealing some of the oil that it must ship through Sudan's pipelines. That decision has crippled both countries' economies.
The U.N. official, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliason, said in a speech to the African Union on Sunday that hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan and South Sudan are "in grave need of assistance."
"Aid agencies should have the funds and access they need to assist internally displaced persons and refugees," he said.
Aid groups have decried the decision by Sudan to block access to its southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where thousands of refugees are fleeing war between Sudan's army and rebels fighting the government.
Ethiopia African Union Summit
In this image made from video, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, left, greets South Sudan's President Salva Kiir at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, July 15, 2012. Delegates at the African Union summit are likely to focus attention on continuing hostilities between Sudan and the year-old state of South Sudan.
AP Photo

The AU-led talks so far unsuccessfully tried to ease fragile security issues between the two states, and resolve the status of the contested oil-rich region Abyei.
The talks were squashed in April when the two sides came close to a war after deadly border conflicts near the Heglig region.
Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two countries' negotiating teams resumed talks on Thursday in Ethiopia's regional city Bahir Dar.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sudan Sudanese dictator is Violently Cracking On Protesters - Rein in Security Forces, Release or Charge Detainees


Hundreds of people have protested in Sudan's capital Khartoum, despite a police crackdown on them. Demonstrations against the government's ... ( Resource: Sudan Anti-Government Protests Continue
(New York) - Sudan security forces have arrested scores of protesters, opposition members, and journalists, beat people in detention, and used rubber bullets and even live ammunition to break up protests that began on June 16, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today.
Sudan should end the crackdown on peaceful protesters, release people who have been detained, and allow journalists to report freely on the events, Human Rights Watch said.
The protests began on June 16 at Khartoum University in response to government austerity measures and price increases. By June 22 the protests had spread to dozens of other locations in Khartoum, Omdurman, Madani, Sennar, Gedarif, Port Sudan, Hasahisa, and other towns across Sudan, with protesters calling for the end of the current government. Human Rights Watch interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, protesters, and former detainees in Khartoum and Omdurman and is in contact with other groups monitoring the situation.
"Sudan is using these protests as an excuse to use violence and intimidation to silence dissenters," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Authorities should call off their security forces and vigilantes, end the violence immediately, and respect the right of the people to protest peacefully."
In a heated speech on June 24, President Omar al-Bashir downplayed the significance of the protests, calling them foreign-backed, and threatened to respond to protesters "with real jihadists" instead of as a "responsible government." The day before, Sudan's police chief vowed to quell the protests "forcefully and immediately" according to law.
Sudanese police and security forces have responded to the protests, as they did to student protests in December 2011 and January 2012, with excessive force, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. They described beatings and arrests and attacks on peaceful protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.
On the night of June 20, for example, police and security forces beat protesters gathered outside the Umma political party headquarters in Omdurman and shot a rubber bullet into the crowd, hitting a protester. "I couldn't feel my leg," recalled the injured protester. "Two of my friends lifted me into an abandoned school building. I was bleeding a lot and we used my shirt to stop the bleeding."
Groups of pro-government students wielding sticks and iron bars apparently cooperated with the security forces to beat and arrest demonstrators. A student from Sudan University told Human Rights Watch that on June 19 he and his friend were arrested by a large group of pro-government students who had radios. "They took us to Nile Street, where the security guys told them they will take us from there," the student said. "That is when I knew they were working for the security."
Once in national security custody, the students were blindfolded and beaten severely. "They were slapping us and insulting us, calling us slaves of foreigners and punching us and beat us with their gun butts," said the student, whose injuries were so severe that he had to go to the hospital upon his release the following day.
On June 24, a pro-government group threw explosives in glass bottles, which one witness described as a "Molotov," on protesters at Khartoum University, who in turn threw rocks at the group. The same day the main hospital in Khartoum treated more than 20 protesters who had serious injuries from beatings by riot police, witnesses told Human Rights Watch.
"Sudanese authorities need to rein in their security forces immediately and protect protesters from vigilantes," Bekele said. "The security forces may use force only according to law and as a last resort."
The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which embody international law on the use of force, state that security forces shall as far as possible apply nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force. Whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable the authorities should use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.
Though the protests were sparked by economic woes, protesters are now calling for an end to the current government. Popular grievances against the government include opposition to Sudan's wars in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile, where fighting between government and armed opposition broke out in 2011 and has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
The austerity measures announced earlier in June are to alleviate the country's US$2.4 billion deficit. Since South Sudan became a separate country in July 2011, Sudan has experienced sharp inflation, a depreciating currency, and the loss of oil revenues. Its economic problems were exacerbated in January by the shutdown of South Sudanese oil production and closing of the border between Sudan and South Sudan amid deteriorating relations between the two countries.
Widespread Arrests, Detentions
Over the past 10 days police and national security officials have arrested scores of protesters on a daily basis, detaining many for hours or days and often subjecting them to interrogation, threats, and ill-treatment while in detention, people who had been detained told Human Rights Watch and other organizations monitoring the situation.
Many of those detained were forced to sign a promise to stop protesting before they were released. In one case security officials arrested a student at Sudan University, forced him into a car, shaved his eyebrows and hair, and beat him with wooden sticks before releasing him with a warning not to participate in protests. Two days later security officials re-arrested him with two other students and beat and shaved them all as punishment for their suspected support of the protests, with one official warning them, "If we catch you again protesting [...] we will cut other parts of your body."
Throughout the week judicial authorities have sentenced large groups of protesters to lashings under public order provisions of Sudan's criminal act for participating in the protests.
Security forces also arrested scores of opposition party members or their family members, known activists, and other perceived opponents at their homes and offices. On June 18, for example, police raided the headquarters of the New Democratic Movement and seized equipment and arrested several members, releasing most after a few hours.
On June 20, security forces arrested the president of the Sudanese Association for Rights and Freedoms from at home. And on June 22, security officials arrested members of the Sudanese Conference Party at their office. As of June 26, arrests of political opposition members were still being reported and many of those arrested were still in national security detention.
Human Rights Watch also spoke to Darfuri students who witnessed plain-clothes security officials arrest two Darfuri activists near their homes in separate locations in Omdurman, even though they had not participated in the protests.
Sudanese and international journalists were also arrested and detained while trying to report on the protests. On June 19, plain-clothes security agents arrested the Agence France-Press correspondent, Simon Martelli, and detained him for 14 hours in an office in northern Khartoum. Security officials arrested Salma al-Wardany, an Egyptian journalist for Bloomberg, and a Sudanese colleague on June 21, releasing them after five hours. On June 26, authorities ordered al-Wardany deported, alleging that she had links to activists.
Beginning on June 20, security officials summoned Nagla Sid Ahmed, a well-known citizen journalist and member of the youth group "Girifna" ("We are fed up"), to their office for interrogation for several days in a row, preventing her from covering the protests. Other Sudanese journalists have also been detained.
While many of those arrested were released after hours or days, Sudanese groups following the situation estimate that more than 100 people are still in detention, including known activists such as Ussamah Mohamed, who publicized his anti-government views on Al Jazeera, and Mohammed Hassan Alim Boshi, an outspoken opposition member who was also detained in December 2011 for three weeks in connection with anti-government protests.
All those detained by the National Security Service, the draconian security organ well-known for its wide powers of arrest and detention without judicial oversight, are at risk of beatings and other ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said.
"Arresting all suspected opponents to stifle dissent is abusive and illegal," Bekele said. "Authorities need to charge or release these detainees immediately, allow people to voice their opinions peacefully, and let the media work freely."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Capital News » Sudan opposition figure freed after 5 months in jail

Sudan’s Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi/AFP
KHARTOUM, June 12 – Ibrahim al-Sonosi, the deputy of Sudan’s veteran Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi, said he was freed on Monday after nearly six months in jail for “trying to destroy the regime.”
Sonosi, who is over 70 years old, and another senior member of Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP), Ali Shamar, were detained at Khartoum airport without explanation in December after returning from a trip to Kenya and South Sudan.
“I have been detained for five months, without knowing the date and the time. I had no contact with the outside world… They took me to prison and charged me with trying to destroy the regime,” Sonosi said.
He was also accused of having contact with Darfur rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), something to which he admitted, saying that by talking to them and returning to Khartoum, he had hoped to “benefit Sudan.”
“And they accused me of having communications with South Sudan, which I do not think is a crime,” Sonosi added.
The PCP’s human rights secretary, Hassan Abdullah Al-Hussein, said in May that the two party members had been accused of “destroying the constitutional system of the state, creating war against the state and creating war against the Sudanese Armed Forces.”
But he insisted the authorities had no evidence against them.
In February, Turabi accused the Sudanese intelligence services of bugging the party’s offices, and said intelligence agents falsely accused the party of planning a coup in combination with a popular uprising.
The once-powerful opposition leader said his party admitted to seeking the removal of the 23-year-old Islamist regime of Omar al-Bashir through a popular revolution, but not by force.
Turabi was a key figure in Bashir’s regime for a decade before falling out with the president and becoming one of his most outspoken critics.
The Khartoum authorities have long accused him of having links with JEM, a charge the most heavily armed Darfur rebel movement has denied.
Turabi himself was jailed for more than three months last year after warning that Sudan faced a possible revolt similar to the one in Tunisia, where strongman Zine El A

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sudan: Current Negotiations Between Khartoum and Juba in Addis Ababa (ethiopia) - the View From

There are good reasons to believe that Khartoum will use these internationally hailed talks as a means of silencing criticism about its continued campaigns of starvation in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile; as a cover for continued military escalation along the North/South border; and as a means of temporizing while the economy of South Sudan moves closer to implosion for lack of oil revenues.
The international reaction to Khartoum's announced claim to have withdrawn its forces from Abyei has been widely celebratory, and the regime appears to have deliberately handed a tactical victory to the ever-expedient Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki, who has failed badly in Darfur and Abyei, heads African Union mediation efforts between Juba and Khartoum in negotiations that began today in Addis Ababa, and he is desperate for a diplomatic "triumph." Khartoum has provided him the illusion of one.
As the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime is well aware, the international community is so eager for negotiations, of any sort, to begin between Juba and Khartoum that it is quite willing to overlook how talks in Addis can be used by Khartoum: as a cover for ongoing military actions by its Sudan Armed Forces (SAF); to forestall the robust action necessary to avoid mass starvation in the Nuba Mountains; and as a means of delay, allowing the economy of South Sudan to move closer to implosion, with a consequent hyper-inflation that will create both civil unrest and a highly dangerous inability to meet the payroll of the immense and bloated Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). At the same time, Khartoum well knows that disaffected SPLA troops are ripe candidates for recruitment into the various renegade militia groups (RMG) that the regime has used to de-stabilize and weaken South Sudan since the self-determination referendum in January 2011.
In short, without committing to anything other than a provisional declaration of intent to withdraw its forces from Abyei (unverified as of May 29), Khartoum has given itself breathing space to pursue a range of deeply threatening actions designed to undermine Juba and starve the civilian base of the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N); a primary means of assault on Juba's legitimacy takes the form military actions along the North/South border---actions that have broad implications in the event of all-out war. Fighting has been continuous in the Tishwin/Heglig (Panthou) area and elsewhere in northern Unity State, in Upper Nile, and most recently and aggressively in ground and air attacks on the Warguet area of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal. Should Khartoum find it expedient to break off the talks in Addis, then border conflict will be used as pretext, with Juba inevitably blamed for the start of hostilities, despite repeated findings by UN investigators that Khartoum is the party that has initiated hostilities and has been guilty of continuous indiscriminate aerial attacks on civilians. Khartoum's aggression was especially notable in the March and April fighting in the Tishwin/Heglig (Panthou) border area that is claimed by both Juba and Khartoum.
Finally, we should understand that Khartoum's insistence on placing "security" issues be at the top of the agenda is really an attempt to re-define what is occurring in South Kordofan. The regime would have interlocutors accept that the rebellion concentrated in the Nuba Mountains is substantially supported by Juba and is thus a "security" threat that must be dealt with first. In fact, the people of the Nuba Mountains face mass starvation as Khartoum continues to refuse all access to international humanitarian relief efforts. This refusal is part of a military strategy of extermination. If Khartoum successfully re-defines present realities in South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, as "security" threats to the regime's power, and on this basis continues to deny all humanitarian relief, hundreds of thousands of people will die following next fall's now doomed harvest.
Khartoum's continuing military presence in an area it seized by force a year ago has violated several agreements made by the regime as well as the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (May 2, 2012). Despite the regime's commitment to withdraw its forces from Abyei, there are a number of reasons to be skeptical, most conspicuously the trail of previously broken agreements concerning Abyei, including a denial that the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on Abyei's borders (July 2009) was truly "final and binding," and the deliberate aborting of the self-determination referendum promised to the "residents" of Abyei by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA, January 2005). Additional bad faith is evident in the refusal of Khartoum to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei (the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, UNISFA). Khartoum also ensured that the Ethiopian brigade that constitutes UNISFA has no human rights mandate.
Although Khartoum is already responsible for the deployment of three very large and expensive UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan and South Sudan (UNISFA, UNAMID in Darfur, and UNMISS, the successor mission to UNMIS, in South Sudan), the regime's primary ambition is not to facilitate but to impede, obstruct, and harass these missions at every opportunity---to make them less effective and more costly. In the case of UNISFA, Khartoum's calculation is almost certainly that since it has publicly committed to withdraw SAF forces from Abyei, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations---looking for ways to cut back on costly missions---will use this as an excuse to withdraw UNISFA as soon as possible. But if Khartoum simply withdraws to the areas from which it launched its final assault on Abyei, it will continue to exert de facto military control over the region---and on the departure of UNISFA will quickly and easily find the means to engineer a re-assertion of full military control.
Indeed, UN DPKO is certainly aware that the presence of the Ethiopian force has done little to re-assure the more than 110,000 Dinka Ngok who fled their lands in Abyei last May as Khartoum invaded. More than 100,000 of those displaced from the region remain in camps and temporary settlements in South Sudan. These displaced persons live typically in very poor conditions and add considerably to the enormous strain on humanitarian capacity in South Sudan, which confronts a looming food crisis that will affect half the population of the South in the coming year.
In Addis, Khartoum will make no concessions over Abyei unless on extremely favorable terms---terms that Juba will find unacceptable. Khartoum's view of the final status of Abyei has long been perfectly clear. Since the SAF military seizure of the region, various regime officials have continuously declared that Abyei "is northern Sudanese land" and has always been part of the North; this will remain Khartoum's defining negotiating posture.
South Kordofan and Blue Nile
Negotiations in Addis seem certain to deflect attention and concern away from these two terribly ravaged regions of northern Sudan, each with its own strong cultural, ethnic, political, and military connections to the South during the civil war (1983 - 2005). This comes even as humanitarian conditions are deteriorating very rapidly, with highly alarming statistics on malnutrition, especially among children under five. Many are already dying for lack of food and the diseases consequent upon acute malnutrition.
In Yida camp in Unity State newly arriving children from the Nuba Mountains have a Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rate of five percent. Young children experiencing SAM will die quickly without therapeutic feeding; and while this is available in Yida, those arriving are our best and grimmest indicators of malnutrition rates among the much greater displaced and severely distressed populations that remain within the Nuba Mountains, perhaps half a million people. Moreover, the numbers of displaced persons fleeing to South Sudan has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
Unless the international community settles on an urgent and robust plan to provide food aid, widespread starvation will begin very soon---as Khartoum well knows. Having taken a military beating in many areas of the Nuba, Khartoum's SAF has again settled on a grim strategy of waiting for starvation to do what it cannot accomplish militarily. This strategy has in fact been evident for almost a year, and the failure to anticipate humanitarian needs on the scale that we now see---needs that are dramatically increasing---is an unsurpassably disgraceful act of omission on the part of the UN and the broader international community.
UN Security Council Resolution 2046 "strongly urges" Khartoum to accept a plan for humanitarian access in all parts of the Nuba---specifically, the plan jointly presented to the SPLA-N and the NIF/NCP regime in early February 2012 by the African Union, the UN, and the Arab League. The SPLA-N signed on February 9; Khartoum gives no sign of doing more than continuing to "study" the plan. For its part the AU has done nothing of significance to pressure Khartoum to reverse its brutally destructive course of action.
The rainy season has begun in this part of Sudan, and the logistics of moving food, medicine, and water purification supplies have now become exponentially more difficult. So far there are no indications that negotiations in Addis will address, let alone resolve, the humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and among the refugees in South Sudan. The same is true for the equally distressed, yet even less reported, civilian populations of Blue Nile, where Khartoum has for the last nine months used the same tactics to destroy agricultural production and displace civilians by means of continuous, indiscriminate aerial bombardment.
It is currently the planting season for both South Kordofan and Blue Nile, key sorghum-producing states in northern Sudan; it appears almost certain that there will be no successful planting or tending of crops in the coming months and thus no fall harvest. Present pockets of starvation will become full-scale famine at some point in the interim.
A war of attrition against the economy of South Sudan
Khartoum has now clearly calculated that the economy of South Sudan is deteriorating more rapidly and unsustainably than the economy of Sudan itself. From the standpoint of quantitative measures, this is not an easy call to assess---and there are reliable reports of senior regime officials and military officers moving assets to the Arab Emirates in anticipation of regime change. The northern economy suffers from accelerating inflation of approximately 30 percent; a massive loss of oil revenues and equally large budget gaps; "Arab Spring"-like unemployment and demographics; the painful loss to consumers of subsidies for petrol and sugar (the latter is a major source of calories for many in northern Sudan); extremely limited foreign currency reserves (which is badly hurting import businesses); an overall economic contraction of more than five percent this year; and a gargantuan external debt---$38 billion, which the regime cannot service, let alone repay.
But the economy of South Sudan is now feeling the full effects of an almost total loss of government revenues with the shutdown of oil production. Unless Juba very quickly produces a clear strategy for oil export---with credible construction plans, secure financing, and a practicable completion date---it will be unable to borrow against anticipated oil revenues. Such borrowing is in any event extremely expensive, and requires the closest scrutiny and oversight; but Juba simply has no choice, other than to resume shipments to the north. If no progress is made in the immediate near term, an uncontrollable hyper-inflation will set in, with immensely destructive and dangerous consequences.
Civil unrest will follow from the discovery that all monetary assets have become worthless. Unemployment will accelerate, in part because foreign and import businesses will have no domestic currency with which to conduct transactions. Most ominously, Juba will be unable to pay SPLA troops with a credible currency, and this will provoke large-scale desertion and defection. Many men with arms will certainly be lured by Khartoum's ample financial support---including weapons, ammunition, and supplies---to the renegade militia groups operating so destructively in Jonglei, Upper Nile, as well as in states to the west.
Khartoum has sealed the North/South border to trade, including food and petrol, with the clear goal of adding to the inflation that is now accelerating especially rapidly in the more northerly regions, and thus exacerbating humanitarian challenges. The border is "hardening" even as a "soft" border is in the economic interest of both Sudan and South Sudan. Khartoum is also ensuring that Southerners living in the north return to the South in the most disruptive and abusive fashion possible, even as the harassment and mistreatment of "Southerners" who choose to remain in the north grows steadily.
Military actions
Although continually reported by the SPLA/M, aerial and ground attacks are too often not investigated by UNMISS and even when attacks are confirmed---and SPLA/M reports have proved consistently reliable, if not entirely so---the UN has clearly made a political decision not to publicize most of these confirmations. The effect of the blackout of military news is to convince Khartoum that it will pay no price for its continuing attacks, and to provide an additional disincentive for diplomatic engagement.
The relentless aerial attacks on South Sudan that began in November 2010 should have long ago prompted vigorous condemnation, with consequences specified for all further attacks. Instead, Khartoum enjoys almost complete impunity (it can easily live with the sorts of pro forma condemnations that have become the norm), and acts accordingly. Most recently Antonov bombers have been spotted flying over Juba---an implicit, but powerful threat---as well as flying reconnaissance missions over Unity State and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal. Reliable SPLA sources report that aerial bombardment began in the Warguet area of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal on May 21, and that beginning on May 26, there has been serious ground fighting between SAF and SPLA forces.
Again, Khartoum remains convinced that by agreeing to "negotiate" in Addis and committing to withdraw militarily from Abyei, the international community will not push for further action, this despite the "decision" by the UN Security Council (again in Resolution 2046) that both Juba and Khartoum must "cease all hostilities, including aerial bombardment, with the parties formally conveying their commitment in this respect to the African Union Commission and President of the Security Council not later than 48 hours from adoption of this resolution." This cease-fire never truly began, even as Juba alone complied within the stipulated 48-hour time-frame and has continued to show remarkable military restraint in the face of unrelenting provocations on the ground and in the air.
The regime's evident belief is that do long as it is "negotiating," it will be immune from pressure concerning this and the various other terms of Resolution 2046 (which have Chapter 7 authority). So far the calculation seems all too prescient.
The NIF/NCP regime has as its most reliable diplomatic ally international willingness to indulge a shameless and cowardly "moral equivalence" between Khartoum and Juba. What is continually overlooked in this factitious "even-handedness" is that Khartoum sees "moral equivalence" as a victory; for it knows as well as anyone who looks honestly that the equities of the two parties---diplomatic, political, and moral---are not equivalent. Juba and Khartoum are not equally responsible for the current crisis or the breakdown of negotiations or the violence that persists along the North/South border. Khartoum---in Abyei, in South Kordofan, in Blue Nile, in the Tishwin/Heglig (Panthou) area, in Upper Nile, in Warguet and elsewhere in both Northern and Western Bahr el-Ghazal---has been the aggressor. Khartoum refuses to make a good faith proposal on oil transit fees (the demand for $36/barrel is not negotiation but extortion, and has no counterpart anywhere in the world where cross-border oil transit fees have been negotiated). Khartoum has also long refused to engage in good faith negotiations to settle the contested areas along the January 1, 1956 border.
Negotiating tactics: setting the agenda
Tactically, Khartoum may be expected to persist with its insistence that "security issues" top the negotiating agenda. Of course, Khartoum has a rather peculiar sense of what constitutes "security": what the regime is really referring to is its own failure to subdue militarily the rebellion in the Nuba Mountains by the SPLA-N. Khartoum's expectation is that international pressure can be brought to bear upon Juba to push for the SPLA-N to surrender in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
There are two problems with such a strategy, although if the ambition of Khartoum's diplomacy is delay, then these are not problems but advantages:
[1] Juba does not have, nor would it exert if it did, the leverage to compel its former comrades-in-arms to surrender. Khartoum knows this full well, so to the extent that this is the larger ambition of its "security" agenda, it is clearly a deliberate non-starter.
[2] There is simply no evidence that Juba is---as Khartoum continually asserts, with far too much international support---providing substantial assistance to the SPLA-N. The most significant evidence comes from the highly reliable Small Arms Survey (April 2012), but SAS offers only a very brief account---citing just a few unnamed sources---and does not purport to offer an explanation of how large-scale military support of the SPLA-N would be logistically possible.
In any event, we have ample evidence that the SPLA-N in South Kordofan, led by the militarily gifted Abdel Aziz el-Hilu, has seized most of its weapons and ammunition from defeated SAF forces and their militia allies. Many of the regime's troops are badly trained and very poorly motivated, even as the Nuba understand that they are fighting for their people and their lands. They are ferociously determined.
What Khartoum doesn't deny except perfunctorily is that it provides enormous support to a range of renegade militia forces in the South that have no political agenda; these militias operate chiefly as instruments of civilian destruction and as a means to harass and tie down SPLA forces. The extent of Khartoum's support has been ably and comprehensively documented by the Small Arms Survey in more than a dozen reports. This is the "security" issue that should be at the top of the agenda.
Negotiating tactics: transit fees for oil extracted in South Sudan
Given the immense disparity between the fees proposed by the two sides---Khartoum wants $36/barrel for use of its pipeline to Port Sudan, and Juba has offered an amount of approximately a dollar per barrel, certainly very close to international norms---the issue does not appear to be susceptible of the give-and-take of true negotiation. Mediators in Addis should demand that each side propose a final fee structure, and that the two proposals immediately be sent to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, or an equivalent arbitrating body, for urgent consideration and a "final and binding" decision, accepting only one of the two proposals.
[There cannot be an "averaging" of the two final proposals, at least if such proposals are as starkly divergent as is presently the case: an averaging of current proposals would yield a transit fee of about $18/barrel. This may in fact be what Khartoum is actually looking for in an arbitration decision, but the fee is still extortionate. The arbitration must be an all-or-nothing decision about each proposal in order to secure good faith efforts from both sides, i.e., a proposal that the party could live with if not prevailing in arbitration.]
If Khartoum refuses, it will reveal that it is not really prepared to negotiate in good faith. AU negotiators should then act on this fact. The South should immediately decide on a strategy for export southward, and once in place, should use such a strategy to borrow heavily against anticipated oil revenues. Serious consideration should be given to moving oil by rail to the growing Kenyan port of Lamu. Such borrowing is far from an ideal solution, but the only one now apparent that can forestall economically crippling hyper-inflation.
Negotiating tactics: the North/South border
Khartoum has a clear interest in stalling North/South border delineation and demarcation. The has been clear for over two years, and yet the regime has felt very little real pressure to commit to serious negotiations on the issue. This has been conspicuously true of African Union mediation efforts to date, which have already failed badly on the Abyei file. But until there has been full delineation of the January 1, 1956 border (the determinative boundary referred to throughout the CPA), and until there has been a subsequent unambiguous demarcation, Khartoum will continue to use border ambiguity as a cover for military aggression, claiming always to be acting in self-defense because "its territory" has been violated. This was precisely what happened---twice---in the Tishwin/Heglig (Panthou) confrontations of later March and April.
No true disengagement of forces, of the sort called for in Resolution 2046, will be possible until Khartoum accepts and respects fully a clear and well-defined international border between Sudan and South Sudan.
Certain of Khartoum's border claims, e.g., the Kafia Kingi enclave in Western Bahr el-Ghazal, are transparently untenable; others present greater challenges. But as the many attacks within the Kafia Kingi enclave over the past year make clear, the issue isn't really where the border lies, but how much military advantage or cover the regime can extract from present ambiguity. As the example of Kafia Kingi also makes painfully clear, there is a lack of resolve on the part of the AU mediators, even when a given border issue can be readily resolved on the basis of maps from 1956 and from 1960 (at which time the military regime of Ibrahim Aboud arbitrarily moved Kafia Kingi into the north of Sudan). And in fact, Khartoum accepted Kafia Kingi as belonging to the South in its presentation to the Permanent Court of Arbitration following Juba's referral of Abyei to the PCA in 2008. (See maps on pp. 8 - 9 and pp. 168 - 169 of The Kafia Kingi Enclave: People, Politics, and history in the north-south boundary zone of western Sudan, Rift Valley Institute, 2010.)
Negotiating tactics: renege on any agreement it may have been expedient to sign
It is Khartoum's unrebuked penchant for disowning, abrogating or simply ignoring agreements signed that should stand as the central challenge confronting AU mediators. But Mbeki and company seem shameless in countenancing the regime's relentless disregard for agreements signed or proposed. And until this diplomatic acquiescence changes, it is extremely difficult see what can meaningfully come of present negotiations in Addis. Perhaps there will be an agreement, or even several agreements; they will be utterly meaningless without powerful guarantors and/or robust sanctions for all violations of any agreement. This is the most fundamental lesson of diplomatic engagement with Khartoum. But to date the AU has apparently learned nothing from the fates of Abyei (May - June 2011), Darfur (in the wake of peace agreements in 2006 and 2011), eastern Sudan (after the peace agreement in 2006), and various protocols of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including "popular consultations" for South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
On this latter score, we should note that in place of "popular consultations" or legitimate elections for South Kordofan's governorship, Khartoum simply imposed its choice of Ahmed Haroun for the post in May 2011; Haroun at the time had been indicted four years earlier by the International Criminal Court for 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes in Darfur. Disgracefully, Jimmy Carter's "Center" quickly and ineptly ratified the results of what was nothing more than an assertion of Khartoum's power in South Kordofan; and the African Union Peace and Security Commission uttered not a meaningful word about this "electoral" travesty. As the Sudan Tribune noted at the time, this set in motion the events that would lead to the all-out military assault in South Kordofan launched by Khartoum less than a month later (June 5, 2011).
Khartoum had fully sized up international response to its repressive and militaristic ways following acceptance of Haroun's election and the May 20-21, 2011 invasion of Abyei. It saw clearly that the African Union, now in charge of negotiations in Addis, was willing to accommodate the most vicious of regime-preserving actions (given the pressures coming from within the senior military ranks). Such expediency, and the evident self-interest of more than a few tyrannical African regimes, convinces Khartoum that it has nothing to fear in the Addis negotiations; and nothing could be more threatening to the prospects for a just and peaceful settlement.
Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College, has published extensively on Sudan, nationally and internationally, for more than a decade. He is author of A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.