Sunday, August 31, 2014

South Sudan: Rebel and government deadlocked on the oil revenue sharing


  As the South Sudan government and the South Sudan rebels (led by former vice-president Riek Machar) continue the civil war, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, East African intergovernmental group) mediators are pointing out that they are in the process of destroying their own oil industry. So far that argument has not produced a permanent ceasefire. Regional nations, the buyers of Sudanese oil (for example, China) and some UN agencies are also concerned about how to protect the oil fields. South Sudan has the third-largest proven oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa.  Current productions is around 160,000 barrels a day. Maximum production is around 450,000 barrels a day. Mediators have also offered to discuss revenue sharing measures to encourage reconciliation between the government and the rebels. A diplomat involved in the negotiations (probably from Ethiopia) said that transparency in oil revenue and fair division of the revenue would go a long way to answering many of the rebel complaints about corruption and economic favoritism. One of the ideas under consideration is an independently-directed fund for South Sudan’s oil earnings.  South Sudan owes several investors who have helped pay for oil production facilities. The government also borrowed money based on future oil revenues. It cannot pay the debts when it is not pumping oil. Diplomats have indicated that China is interested in creating a revenue monitoring mechanism for South Sudan.
The rebellion that began in December 2013 has killed over 10,000 so far and over 15 percent of the 12 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes. Nearly a third of the population are suffering from severe shortages of food or housing. Over 40,000 have fled to Kenya and more will follow.
August 28, 2014: South Sudanese rebel negotiators denied reports that they have agreed to form a transitional, power-sharing government. The negotiators said that the document signed on August 25 merely addressed ceasefire implementation issues. The rebels said they will not accept the power-sharing proposal recommended by IGAD negotiators because it allows the current president to remain president for a two and a half year transitional period. The government and rebels began negotiations designed to create a transitional government on June 10.
August 27, 2014: The UN the UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur) peacekeeping operation until June 30, 2015.
August 26, 2014: South Sudan accused rebels of shooting down a UN helicopter today. The government contends that rebel fighters fired on it near the city of Bentiu (Unity state, South Sudan).  A Russia aircraft company operating the helicopter also claimed the helicopter was hit by ground fire. Three people were killed and two were injured.
August 24, 2014: Two South Sudan army (SPLA) soldiers were killed in a shootout in the village of Wanyjok (Aweil East area, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state).
August 23, 2014: Rebel forces detained the IGAD personnel on August 23. The six people were serving on a ceasefire verification team. IGAD has eight teams operating in the Bentiu area. Two days later the UN condemned the illegal detention of the IGAD ceasefire monitors at a site 35 kilometers southwest of the city of Bentiu (Unity state). 
August 22, 2014: Eritrean border guards shot and killed ten Eritrean citizens who were attempting to cross the border zone into Ethiopia. A successful escapee later told reporters that the ten were part of a group of 18 people that had tried to flee to Ethiopia. The escapee said that he was one of the three made it. Five people remain unaccounted for.
August 21, 2014: A delegation of South Sudanese rebel leadersended four days of negotiations with the Ugandan government and announced that they reached an agreement with the Ugandan government regarding Ugandan Army troops in South Sudan. Ugandan military forces can remain in South Sudan until regional peacekeepers deploy to help implement a cease fire. This is a major change in rebel policy, though there have been indications since May that the rebels and Uganda wanted to make a deal. The rebels accused Uganda of allying with the South Sudan government; in fact, Uganda fought several major battles on behalf of the Sudanese government.
August 20, 2014: In Sudan gunmen from the Rizeigat and Maalia tribes fought another series of battles in East Darfur state.  At least 137 people were killed or injured in a battle that ended today.
August 18, 2014: South Sudan has been receiving new shipments of weapons. The bigger shipments come through Kenya (usually the port of Mombasa) so plenty of people with access to cameras and cell phones have seen the shipments.  A shipment unloaded in mid-June came from China. Kenyan media said the shipment contained several thousand assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition.
Sudanese Army soldiers skirmished with Maalia tribal fighters in East Darfur leaving four soldiers and five Maalia warriors dead.
August 17, 2014: Police in the Sudan capital blocked opposition political activists from staging a protest. The activists are demanding the government release illegally-arrested opposition leaders and opposition party members.
August 14, 2014: The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) said that it intends to increase attacks on Eritrea. The rebel group had been holding a meeting in Ethiopia’s Afar region (town of Semera). The statement comes after an increasing number of reports that Eritreans attempting to flee the country, to either Ethiopia or Sudan.
August 13, 2014: South Sudan told the UN that in order to end the civil war he was ready to form an all-inclusive government.
August 9, 2014: Sudan rejected the Sudanese Revolutionary Front’s (SRF) unilateral two-month long cessation of hostilities. The SRF declared the cessation August 8. The government accused the SRF of seeking to use a ceasefire to rearm and refit its soldiers. The Sudanese Army contends that its offensives have damaged the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North’s (SPLM-N) forces in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.   The SPLM-N belongs to the SRF.
August 7, 2014: In mid-May South Sudan placed several SPLA officers under house arrest after returning from conducting combat operations in Upper Nile state.  The government has yet to file official charges. The officers were placed under house arrest based on the recommendation of their division commander. This may be preventive detention of a sort – to prevent the men from defecting to the rebels.
August 6, 2014: The US condemned the murders of six relief aid workers in Maban County (Upper Nile State, South Sudan).
August 5, 2014: Two South Sudanese clans in the Twic East area of Jonglei state have sign a peace agreement. The Dacuek and Ayuel clans had been fighting over competing claims to the village of Wanglei.
August 4, 2014: IGAD negotiators reported that they are making a renewed effort to get the South Sudan government and the rebels to conclude a peace agreement. August 4 marked the end of the 45 day period within which negotiators hoped the warring parties would reach agreement on forming a transitional government. 45 days have come and gone and still no deal.
August 3, 2014: Former South Sudanese army (SPLA) general Dau Aturjong, who defected to the rebels, claimed that he has influenced over 1,000 military officers and senior political officials to join the rebellion. He also claimed that another 4,000 South Sudanese have joined the rebels because of his efforts. Aturjong said that he stresses the need to remove the current corrupt government and introduce genuine democratic reforms. He commanded a division in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state and defected from the government in May.
August 1, 2014: Akol Madhan Akol, a senior official in South Sudan’s governing Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement political party, announced that he is joining the rebel forces. He accused the government of failing to save the country and of letting South Sudan disintegrate “into tribal enclaves.” He also accused the government of cronyism and corruption.

July 28, 2014: A top military officer in the South Sudanese army (SPLA) dismissed the threat of political sanctions on the country. He said the military must remain focused on defense issues and provide stability in the country. In mid-July the European Union sanctioned an SPLA commander for alleged involvement in atrocities committed during the civil war. A rebel commander was also sanctioned.

Friday, August 29, 2014

South Sudan Dismisses Attempt On President Kiir's Life in Ethiopia

Juba — The South Sudanese presidency has dismissed rumours of an assassination attempt on president Salva Kiir as "fabricated lies" meant to "scare-off" the latter from representing the country at international forums.
"The Office of the President would like to categorically deny these allegations as false. It has no basis. No truth. Never did the president come closer to any attempt on his life whilst he travels abroad in search for peace," say a press statement released by presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny on Wednesday.
"The Office of the President would like to condemn this type of rumour-mongering in strongest term possible, and call on the people of South Sudan to disregard these lies," the statement said.
The denial comes after the circulation in social media and some outlets of a statement released by government supporters accusing SPLM in Opposition official Mabior Garang Mabior of attempting to kill the president during his recent visit to the Addis Ababa to participate in a meeting between IGAD leaders.
"If Mabior Garang was arrested in Ethiopia, then it has no connection with any attempt to assassinate the president. Otherwise, the responsibility of such arrest has not been shared by the Ethiopian's intelligence with the president," Ateny said.
Mabior, who is the son of the late founding leader of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), John Garang, is currently the head of the rebel information and communications committee.
The rumour said he had been arrested "at the reception of president Kiir's hotel with a 9mm pistol cocked with six bullets".
The rebel official who is a member of the rebel negotiating team has yet to react to the claims.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

South Sudan crisis: Riek Machar rebels reject deal - BBC News

Members of the "white army", a militia that is part of the rebel alliance loyal to Riak Machar, pictured in Nasir, South Sudan - April 2014The dispute that began in December escalated into ethnic fighting
South Sudan rebels have denied that they were party to a deal to form a power-sharing government within 45 days to end the conflict.
The rebels' negotiator said they only signed the document that set out how a ceasefire should be implemented at the ceremony in Ethiopia on Monday.
Taban Deng Gai accused the regional mediators of favouring the government side in the political settlement.
Thousands have died and nearly two million fled their homes in the crisis.
The fighting was triggered in December when two factions of the ruling party fell out.
What started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar has escalated into ethnic violence.

Regional mediators presented several documents for the rivals to sign at a ceremony in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, where peace talks have been going on for months.
But the rebel side, which is loyal to Mr Machar, says it is unhappy that the deal brokered by regional body Igad allows President Kiir to continue in power throughout the proposed two-and-a-half-year transitional period.
Mr Gai said this political document was not signed as his side also objected to the fact that the person who takes the newly created post of prime minister - to be nominated by the rebels - will not be able to run for another political office after the transition.
The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza in Ethiopia says the rebels' move does not come as a surprise.
The rebel faction has been heavily criticised for delaying the peace talks and for numerous violations of the first ceasefire agreement signed in January, he says.
An Igad report has blamed them for all but one violations of the truce.
On Wednesday, the rebels denied an allegation that they shot down a UN helicopter near the oil hub of Bentiu this week.
The UN mission in South Sudan plays a vital role in getting food to the thousands of people who have sought shelter in UN bases around the country.
Up to four million people are at risk of food shortages because of the crisis, aid agencies say.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sudan’s Al-Mahdi on regional tour to explain Paris Declaration - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

August 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, has begun a regional tour that will take him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia and South Africa to explain the Paris Declaration he signed with the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF).
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Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP) leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (L) meets with UAE’s foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed (R) in Abu Dhabi on 25 August 2014 (Photo handout)
Al-Mahdi and SRF chairman Malik Agar, signed this month in Paris a joint statement calling for peace and democratic reforms, stressing that genuine process requires involving all political forces and ending the ongoing war in different parts of Sudan.
The declaration, which calls for unifying the political and military opposition forces, emphasises the need to create a suitable atmosphere for the dialogue.
The declaration also expresses the readiness of the rebel alliance to implement a renewable cessation of hostilities in order to allow humanitarian access to the needy population in the war zones and to engage in the preparation of a constitutional dialogue.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) swiftly rejected the Paris Declaration and said al-Mahdi was motivated by jealousy from his fading role in national dialogue in favour of Popular Congress Party (PCP) leader Hassan al-Turabi.
The NUP suspended its participation in the government-led national dialogue after the arrest of al-Mahdi last May. The opposition party demands including the rebels in the process and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Al-Mahdi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday morning and met with the UAE’s foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed.
The NUP leader will head from Abu Dhabi to Addis Ababa to brief the African Union (AU) on Paris Declaration and he will then fly to Pretoria to address the South African parliament on the developments of the situation in Sudan in light of the Paris Declaration.
Following signing of Paris Declaration, al-Mahdi flew to Egypt for meetings with Arab, African and international diplomats to explain Paris Declaration.
On 12 August, the Sudanese security services arrested al-Mahdi’s daughter, Mariam, who is also his deputy as she returned from Paris following the signing of the Paris Declaration.
NCP officials suggested that she might face charges of spying and signing agreements with rebel groups particularly as the SRF is classified as an “enemy”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

S. Sudan president sacks Garang’s widow from advisory role - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

 South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued a surprise decree on Wednesday sacking Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, the widow of the late John Garang, founding leader of the country’s ruling party (SPLM).
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Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior has been sacked from her position as presidential adviser on human rights and gender affairs
De Mabior was a long-serving adviser to the president on human rights and gender affairs.
The presidential order was broadcast on state-owned (SSTV. The reasons behind the decision remain unknown.
However, critics of the government say the decision shows the extent of political differences that have arisen over the president’s management of the party and national affairs since Kiir took over leadership.
There was also speculation the decision was related to de Mabior’s close alliance with former vice-president Riek Machar’s rebel faction, although she later distanced herself after conflict broke out in mid-December last year.
De Mabior was among a number of senior SPLM members, including Machar, current vice-president James Wani Igga and former secretary-general Pagan Amum Okiech, who indicated their interest in contesting Kiir for the position of party chairperson.
While Igga later retracted his decision, saying he wouldn’t run for chairperson if Kiir remained interested in the same position, the other three officials said they would go ahead.
The agenda for discussion at a general convention for the political bureau, the highest executive organ in the organisational structure of the party, was subject to lengthy delays.
Several attempts were made to hold the meeting without success, generating suspicion and confusion among members of the leadership council.
In November 2013, one month before the political dispute within the SPLM turned violent, president Kiir ruled that the term of all elective structures of the ruling party had expired with the exception of his office due to the failure to hold the May 2013 national convention.
De Mabior was among a group of disgruntled senior members of the leadership council who held a press conference on 6 December 2013 challenging the president’s decision and warning against taking unilateral actions without consultation.
Igga subsequently responded with a press conference of his own on 8 December, describing the former officials as prophets of doom.
In earlier comments at an ordinary convention in October 2013, Kiir made reference to a 1991 split, saying he would not allow a similar incident to occur while he was president.
Violence erupted on 15 December in the capital, Juba, among forces of the presidential guard, before spreading to other regions throughout the country.
De Mabior said at the time that Kiir’s refusal to allow internal reform in the country’s ruling party and his subsequent decision to sack Machar and disarm Nuer soldiers from his presidential guards, triggered the conflict.
Mama Nation, as many refer to her, was also among a group of 11 disenchanted senior SPLM members aligned with Machar.
De Mabior, who hails from the Dinka Bor of Twic East county, served as

the minister of roads and transports in the Southern Sudan government prior to becoming a presidential advisor.
She left South Sudan in January and now lives in self-imposed exiled in Kenya, where she hosts a number of TV segments critical of Kiir’s governance.
The fighting in South Sudan has pitted government troops loyal to Kiir against pro-Machar rebels, reigniting tribal tensions across the country.
Thousands have been killed as a result of the conflict, while over a million people have been displaced, many of whom have fled to neighbouring countries.
Ongoing peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have so far failed to yield a lasting political settlement to the crisis despite mounting international pressure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rebels say ready for talks, unveil d proposal for South Sudan’s governance - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

August 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebels led by the former vice-president Riek Machar have accused the government delegation of boycotting the talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
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Rebel chief negotaitor,Taban Deng Gai, (C) talks to US envoy Donald Booth (R) during the opening ceremony of of peace talks in Addis Ababa on 4 January 2014 (Photo AFP/Carl de Souza)
On Monday information minister and government delegation’s spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, announced on the state-owned SSTV that they would not participate in the talks unless the opposition faction agreed to sign a matrix on cessation of hostilities agreement before other issues are discussed.
“We told the mediation team that in the light of the rebel activities, it is important agreeing on implementation matrix of the cessation [of] hostilities agreement should be a priority. We asked for them (mediation team) to provide clear timetable so that fighting stops,” said minister Lueth.
Lueth further questioned the credibility of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in mediating the peace talks.
However, the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-In-Opposition) led by the former vice-president, Riek Machar, said they were ready for direct negotiations with the government on various substantial issues.
The chief negotiator for the rebel group, Taban Deng Gai, on Tuesday said they were ready to negotiate on their proposed positions with the government’s delegation.
Gai revealed that the rebel group proposed a democratic federal system of governance with a presidential system of transitional government in which the power-sharing ratios shall be 70% for the SPLM-In-Opposition, 20% for the government and 10% for other stakeholders. These ratios also apply to the federal, state and local government levels.
There shall be a pre-transitional period to prepare the grounds to setup a Transitional Federal Government of National Unity (TFGONU) in the Federal Republic of South Sudan.
Rebels say the duration of the pre-transitional period shall be one month from the date of signing of the peace agreement.
The pre-transitional arrangement shall commence within 72 hours of signing the peace Agreement to undertake the drafting of the transitional federal constitution and ratification of the peace agreement by SPLM/SPLA leadership council and national legislature as well as implement the permanent ceasefire.
The mandate of the federal government of national unity shall be to implement the peace agreement; oversee government functions during the Transitional Period; Implement Critical reforms as negotiated in the peace agreement; Conduct National Census and Elections; Permanent Constitution Making Process; National Reconciliation and Healing; and Repatriation, relief, resettlement, reintegration, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Returnees;
The rebels also proposed establishment of a Federal Development Bank to ensure and promote equity development across the country.
Issues of land management, ownership and administration were also tackled as well as various taxes at various levels of governance.
They said the coming development of South Sudan’s infrastructure, human resources, sustainable economic development and the capacity to meet the nation’s human needs shall be done within a viable framework of transparent and accountable government.
All areas of South Sudan in need of construction/reconstruction, they said, shall be brought up to the same average level of socio-economic and public services standard.
They proposed that special funds shall be established to build up the local institutional, human and economic capacity.
On oil revenue sharing percentages of distribution include 30% for states producing oil, federal government 30%, all states 15%, all counties 15%, equalization fund 5% and future generation fund 5%.
Rebels also proposed that the SPLM/SPLA and GRSS (SPLA) forces shall be restructured and shall have a new command structure. The forces shall be drawn from the ranks and files of the SPLM/SPLA, the GRSS (SPLA) forces, as well as from civilians.
They proposed that the SPLM/SPLA shall constitute 60%, GRSS 30% and 10% shall be recruits from the population of South Sudan.
The restructured army shall be called South Sudan Armed Forces (SSAF) and shall be a disciplined, regular, professional, patriotic, productive, non-partisan military force subordinate to civilian authority as established under the Transitional Federal Constitution of South Sudan.
Its mission in addition to other national duties shall be to protect the Peace Agreement; defend the Transitional Federal Constitution of the Federal Republic of South Sudan; protect the people of South Sudan; secure the territorial integrity of South Sudan; undertake responsibility for the defence of South Sudan against external threats and aggressions.
SSAF shall also involve in addressing specific emergencies, participate in reconstruction activities, and assist in disaster relief whenever directed by the TFGONU, this agreement and any other law in force in South Sudan.
The rebels in their proposal to restructure the security sector said they target an army of not more than 150,000 personnel that would take into account the national representation and character and shall be recruited from the SPLM-In-Opposition, SPLA and qualified civilians willing to join. The same thing applies to other security organs.
These reforms, they said, are in response to the dysfunctional security sector which is unable to provide security to the state and the people of South Sudan effectively under democratic principles.
They decried the current security sector, saying it has become a source of widespread insecurity due to unprofessional, discriminatory, and abusive policies or practices.

The rebels described the current security organs under president Kiir’s government as representing a decisive obstacle to the promotion of sustainable development, good governance, democracy, peace and rule of law.
The rebels’ chief negotiator also demanded full withdrawal of Ugandan army from the South Sudan soil.
A military spokesperson for the rebel group, Brig Lul Ruai Koang, on Tuesday issued a press release saying fresh fighting erupted in Central Equatoria state, the seat of president Salva Kiir’s government when internal revolt occurred within the government forces in Tore town, about 100kms south of the national capital, Juba.
He also claimed clashes also occurred within the capital, Juba, on Monday as forces from Bahr el Ghazal region were defecting.
“Government’s boycott of peace talks has led to escalation of the war on the ground as manifested by small arms fire which erupted in Juba on the night of 18th by soldiers deserting for Greater Bahr El Ghazal region and todays clashes among government soldiers deployed at Tore Military Barracks north of Yei town in Central Equatoria State,” Koang said in the statement seen by Sudan Tribune .
He said Kiir’s delegation failure to show up reaffirms “SPLM/SPLA‘s long held views” that the government was unfaithful and lacked political will.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

S. Sudan army repulses “heavy” rebel attack in Jonglei - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

 South Sudanese army (SPLA) on Friday repulsed what officials described as a “heavy attack” in Jonglei state’s Ayod county, with the numbers of causalities involved still unknown.
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South Sudanese rebels pictured in Jonglei state on 31 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Ayod county commissioner, Michael Buoth Malual accused the rebels of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement thus interfering with the on-going peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“At the moment as you know, peace negotiations are going on in Addis Ababa. Our position as government is that we are committed to peace. This has made us to be on a defensive position as rebels violated the peace talks,” Malual toldSudan Tribune by phone.
“The rebels should abide by the talks in Addis Ababa,” he added.
His Duk county counterpart, Mocnom Wuor said the rebels twice attacked Ayod on Friday, before they were repulsed by pro-government army.
“They attacked Ayod two times today [Friday] but they were pushed back by our army. What we don’t know now is the number of people killed or injured”, the commissioner said by phone from Panyagor.
In a separate incident, Wuor said, armed Duk youth intercepted a group of rebels who allegedly attempted to confiscate SPLA communication equipments at an army base in Kuach-deng.
“No physical engagement took place between the two groups as they rebels never crossed the border where youth of Duk had laid an ambush,” said Wour.
Both warring factions have traded accusations with each blaming the other of violating a ceasefire deal agreed upon in January and recommitted to in May.
A South Sudanese civil society body said it was disturbed over the recent resumption of heavy fighting between the two warring parties of South Sudan.
"The option of resolving the political difference militarily is dangerous for the lives and properties of our citizens. We urge South Sudan’s warring parties to concentrate on the peaceful settlement of the political crisis of December, 2013," said Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

South Sudan rebel leader visits Khartoum on Sunday - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

A rebel official said the leader of the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-In-Opposition), Riek Machar, has arrived in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Sunday.
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South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar, smiles as he meets his friends at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa on 9 May 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak toldSudan Tribune on Sunday that the South Sudanese former vice-president will meet the Sudanese top leadership and discuss the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa.
“SPLM chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny has arrived in Khartoum this morning. The IGAD-facilitated visit is in the interests of the peace process to end the crisis in South Sudan,” Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak said on Sunday.
“He will meet president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and other officials of the Sudanese government,” he said.
Sudan’s foreign minister, Ali Karti, last week announced that the South Sudanese former vice-president would be in Khartoum soon, adding that his visit comes in the framework of regional efforts to bring peace in the southern neighbouring country which broke away from Sudan in July 2011.
Machar who resides in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the venue of the peace talks for several months was also received in Nairobi, Djibouti, and Pretoria, respectively.
During his visits to the regional countries the rebel leader held talks with the leaders of those countries in which he dismissed accusations that he attempted to overthrow president Salva Kiir in mid December last year and instead accused him of orchestrating the violence in order to get rid of political reformists from the ruling party (SPLM).
The former vice-president also called on the regional leaders to support his plan for democratic political reforms.
The government in Juba which signed a cessation of hostilities agreement since 23 January observes with scepticism the moves of the rebel leader. Officials at different times openly or implicitly accused Khartoum of allegedly harbouring or supporting the rebels.
The Sudanese foreign minister, Karti, denied accusations that his government supported either side in the conflict.
"Sudan has no interest in the continuation of the war in the South (Sudan) and it does not support one party against the other," Karti said adding, "our interest [is] that both sides sign a peace agreement, and we hope it would be soon."
He further explained that IGAD countries agreed to receive Machar in their respective countries to listen to his positions and to encourage him to reach a peaceful settlement to the seven month old conflict.
The crisis sparked off on 15 December when internal conflict between politicians in the ruling party turned violent.
Tens of thousands have been killed and at least 1.5 million others displaced according to estimates by the United Nations.
The peace talks between the rival parties in Addis Ababa is seen as the only hope to restore stability in the new country.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

South Sudan crisis: 'Horrific conditions' in flooded UN camp-BBC News -

Flooded UN camp in BentiuMSF says conditions in the camp were already difficult before the rain set in
At least 40,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan are staying in horrific conditions at a UN camp, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.
Many were living in knee-deep, sewage-contaminated floodwater with some sleeping standing up with children in their arms, the medical charity said.
MSF urged the UN to move the worst-affected to drier land in Bentiu.
Fighting between government and rebel troops has displaced at least 1.5 million people since December.
The UN is yet to respond to MSF's criticism.
Bentiu has changed hands several times since the crisis began and thousands of people have sought refuge in the UN camp in the town, situated in oil-rich Unity State.
With the onset of rains, MSF says the already harsh and overcrowded conditions in the camp have now become deplorable.
"With few possibilities for drainage, current living conditions in the camp are horrifying and an affront to human dignity," MSF's emergency co-ordinator Ivan Gayton said in a statement.
What began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, has escalated into ethnic violence.
Regional mediators have set a 10 August deadline for both sides to agree on a transitional government and implement a ceasefire.
The BBC's Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza says a new round of talks in Addis Ababa this week initially stalled, but restarted on Friday afternoon.
News graphic showing the ethnic groups of South SudanMap of South Sudan states affected by conflictMap showing the location of oil fields in South SudanMap showing the geography of South SudanMap showing access to water in South SudanSudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.