There is apparently still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the
talks in Addis Ababa. Khartoum has continued to obstruct efforts to
come to a fair resolution which will lead to lasting peace. The
international community must avoid the temptation to apply pressure on
South Sudan, as the more responsive and cooperative party, to make
unreasonable compromises in order to meet an artificial deadline. A
quick fix which fails to address the legitimate concerns of South
Sudanese will certainly not lead to a sustainable peace.
While the talks are ongoing, it is particularly worrying to hear
reports of a heavy military build up by Khartoum's forces, reportedly
with new weapons from Iran. These are said to include long-range
missiles (which were used in Blue Nile in the later stages of the
1983-2005 war) and means of targeting individuals. If true, it casts
further doubts on the seriousness of Khartoum's commitment to the
If war does break out again on the border between Sudan and South
Sudan, Khartoum will again try to spin the story so that South Sudan
appears as the aggressor. They managed to do this fairly successful
during their last period of military adventurism a few months ago,
with the international community and media uncritically accepting
Khartoum's narrative, to the detriment of South Sudan. Ironically, the
fact that Khartoum's forces performed very poorly and suffered a
humiliating defeat at the hands of both SPLA and SPLA-N helped to feed
the narrative of Khartoum as "victim". Now hopefully the Government of
South Sudan, the international community and even the media are
forewarned about Khartoum's propaganda agenda, and will view any
future outbreak of conflict in a more objective manner.
South Sudan, in the meantime, must maintain the moral high ground,
continue to negotiate in good faith even when Khartoum does not
reciprocate, and avoid being provoked by military action by Khartoum.
1. Talks in Addis reach deadlock
Saturday, 15 September 2012 08:04 Muna Tesfai Radio Miraya
The South Sudanese delegation at the Addis Ababa talks, through Atif
Kiir has said that talks with Khartoum reached a deadlock over pending
post-independence issues of border demarcation and a buffer zone
between the two countries.
Speaking to the press, Kiir, blamed Khartoum for the lack of progress
in the talks.
He further added that Khartoum is not enthusiastic in discussing the
Last month however, the two countries under the facilitation of the
African Union High Level Implementation Panel, reached a transit fee
deal for oil.
The United Nations Security Council on Friday urged Sudan and South
Sudan to expedite and finalize the oil agreement to pave the way for
immediate resumption of oil production and transportation.
The UNSC has set a deadline of September 22 for the two sides to solve
their issues or face sanctions.
2. Sudans Nearing Final Agreements, Except on Borders
Marthe Van Der Wolf
September 15, 2012
ADDIS ABABA — Sudan and South Sudan are reaching the final stages of
their negotiations. Agreements can be finalized next week on most
issues, except for the border.
The two countries recently resumed negotiations on economic questions,
border areas, oil and security.
"Through this round, we are going to finalize the issue of oil if we
manage to go quickly and finalize the supplementary agreement," noted
Dr. Mutrif Saddiq of the Sudanese delegation. " Hopefully we finalize
also the issue of security and I don't think that it s far from the
reach because we are working hard with the panel and its experts to
address the contested area of the 14 miles [22 kilometers] south of
On oil, trade and economics, the two countries are drafting agreement
frameworks in specialized committees. But a compromise on the dispute
over borders is going to take a while. Prominent matters, such as the
Abyei region, have not yet even been discussed.
Michael Makuei, the South Sudanese minister for parliamentary affairs
and the chairman of the Border Committee, says says that a compromise
on the border is just not happening yet.
"We have two main sticking issues," said Makuei. "The most important
is the issue of the claim areas. The other sticking point on the
border is Kaka town. Kaka town is a town inside South Sudan, which
was thought to be a disputed area. Now the government of Sudan is
talking of Kaka area. Kaka area is different from Kaka town and aside
we are saying, if you are talking of Kaka area than you delete Kaka
town from the disputed areas and take it to the claim areas."
Both countries face sanctions if they don't reach an accord by the
United Nations deadline of September 22. Makuei says South Sudan
believes that the government of Sudan will change its mind at the last
minute and accept the United Nations map, because there is no other
"This is supposed to be a comprehensive agreement that encompasses
everything," Makuei said. "Even the agreed ones will not be
operational unless we agree on the other outstanding issues."
But Dr. Mutrif Saddiq of the Sudanese delegation doesn't think that it
will be a problem if the two countries don't make the deadline.
"If we don't finish, the panel is at liberty to advise or to recommend
to United Nations Security Council their recommendations and their
views about the way forward," Saddiq explained. "Even the issue of
the border, just for the experts, it will take months so the time is
for the design of the way forward on the uncompleted issues, not
necessarily to resolve the issues."
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 from Sudan, ending the
Sudanese civil war. The presidents of both countries are expected to
arrive in Addis Ababa just before the deadline, but a date has not
been confirmed yet.
3. Sudan says against foreign interference in the talks with South Sudan
September 16, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan has reiterated its rejection to
foreign intervention in the ongoing efforts of the African Union
mediation to settle the unresolved issues with South Sudan after its
As the deadline of 22 September approaches, foreign envoy gather in
Addis Ababa in a bid to push the two parties to make the necessary
concessions and to seal an agreement over the disputed issues.
An agreement over the grazing land "Mile 14" located between the
Western Bahr El Ghazal, in South Sudan and East Darfur in Sudan seems
crucial for the mediators to make a real breakthrough in the process.
Also the presence of South Sudanese soldiers in the area might lead to
military confrontation in the future. Khartoum different times said
refusing the presence of the SPLA forces there and asked for its
withdrawal from the region.
The breakthrough is also needed by the mediation and the international
community to allow at least the implementation of deals reached on
security arrangements, border trade and oil exportation. Any failure
of the talks might lead to ignite border tensions again.
The spokesperson of Khartoum delegation, Badr El-Din Abdallah, said
"Sudanese position on [foreign] interference in the work of the
African mediation remains constant. [Only] the African Union High
Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) mediates and facilitates the
negotiations between the two countries."
The Sudanese diplomat said the talks are progressing but added that he
cannot confirm that the parties might agree on the disputed issues
before the deadline.
Speaking following a consultations meeting of the UN Security Council
(UNSC) on 6 September about Addis Ababa process, the U.S. ambassador
to the United Nations Susan Rice expressed its concerns about the lack
of urgency demonstrated by the two parties, particularly Sudan, in the
full implementation of Resolution 2046.
She further said Sudan refusal of the African map and the
establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone remains an issue
of utmost concern.
Rice stressed the UNSC must play an active role and out pressure on
the parties to meet their obligation under Resolution 2046.
US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Princeton Lyman , European
Union envoy for Sudan, Rosalind Marsden and UK special representative
for Sudan Robin Gwynn are in Addis Ababa where they met the mediation
and the two delegations to encourage them to overcome their
Atif Kiir, spokesperson of the South Sudanese delegation said the
mediation cannot extend the talks after the 22 September adding the
decision should be taken by the UNSC and the African Union Peace and
He further accused Khartoum of delaying the process saying its refusal
to accept the African Union map for the buffer zone remains the major
obstacle to reach an agreement.
Sources close to the talks said an African team will fly Monday to
Khartoum to hand the proposition of the mediation over Abyei to the
Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir after what they will travel to Juba
to meet President Salva Kiir for the same purpose.
The two leaders are expected to meet on 21 September to discuss Abyei
and other issues the negotiating teams fail to reach a deal on it.
Badr El-Din said the two parties are discussing two draft agreements
about the border demarcation. One related to the management of the
common borders and the other deals with the framework of reference for
the African experts who are supposed to facilitate the demarcation
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