The political settlement South Sudan needs

Posted: December 18, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

By Editorial Board December 31, 2013

TWO YEARS ago, the newborn nation of South Sudan represented a rare foreign policy triumph for President Obama, largely because of the president’s decision to lead from the front. When an accord laying out a path for Sudan’s largely Christian south to separate from the Muslim Arab dictatorship based in Khartoum threatened to unravel, Mr. Obama appointed two special envoys, attended a United Nations meeting on Sudan and dispatched then-Sen. John F. Kerry to lay out a detailed “road map” for Sudanese leaders. The result was a successful referendum and the July 2011 birth of a new nation of 8 million people.

Now that achievement is in danger of crumbling, thanks to the wretched behavior of South Sudan’s leaders. Rather than use the country’s abundant oil revenue to build up one of the world’s most undeveloped territories, President Salva Kiir tolerated corruption, engaged in proxy wars with Sudan in disputed territories and feuded with his vice president, Riek Machar. On Dec. 15 Mr. Kiir accused Mr. Machar of attempting a coup, arrested 11 senior officials and tried to disarm members of the presidential guard belonging to Mr. Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. This touched off fighting across the country between supporters of the two leaders, largely divided along ethnic lines. Mr. Kiir is from the majority Dinka group.

On Tuesday, the two leaders, under pressure from African leaders and the Obama administration, agreed to begin negotiations. But the fighting continued: A Nuer “White Army,” believed to be under the control of Mr. Machar, was said to have captured most of Bor, a town that has changed hands three times in the fighting. Thousands are believed to have been killed, and the United Nations says 180,000 have been displaced in just two weeks.

To its credit, the Obama administration again has been actively trying to broker a solution. A new envoy, Donald Booth, had met with Mr. Kiir four times in eight days as of Tuesday, and he has been on the phone with Mr. Machar. The United States has considerable leverage, having supplied South Sudan with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Just as influential are Ethiopia and Kenya, whose presidents have pushed for negotiations. But Uganda’s leader, Yoweri Museveni, has tilted toward Mr. Kiir, a longtime ally. On Monday he threatened to “go after” Mr. Machar if he did not agree to a cease-fire.

In fact, foreign intervention in the fighting might make the conflict worse. What’s really needed is pressure on both leaders to pull back their forces and begin negotiations on a more lasting political settlement. They should agree to contest South Sudan’s leadership in elections scheduled for 2015, not on the battlefield. In the absence of such a compromise, South Sudan could slip into an unrestrained ethnic conflict. As nations new and old can attest, such bloodshed can take on a life of its own.

South Sudan Hires Ex-Blackwater Chief to Restore War-Hit Oil

Posted: December 18, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in History

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The former head of U.S. security company Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, was hired by South Sudan to help repair damaged oil facilities and boost output cut by a year of civil war.

Prince’s Frontier Services Group Ltd. (500), a Hong Kong-listed logistics and transportation company, is being paid 18.7 million euros ($23.3 million) by South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum to transport supplies to and perform maintenance on the production facilities at the oil fields, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Smith said by phone from New York yesterday. About 30 employees including pilots, engineers and logistics technicians have been using helicopters and airplanes to reach South Sudan’s oil fields since September, Smith said.

“This is not supporting the army,” Smith said. “The contract is clearly with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining to support the oil field services and to make sure the production of oil keeps flowing.”

South Sudan’s oil output, which provides almost all the government’s revenue, has fallen by at least a third to about 160,000 barrels per day since fighting erupted last December when a power struggle within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement turned violent. Petroleum Ministry spokesman Nicodemus Ajak Bior didn’t return e-mails requesting comment and couldn’t be reached by phone.

“We have no security contract, we have no training contract, it is purely logistic support, largely aviation based,” Smith said. “Our men are not armed, our security is provided by the government of South Sudan.”

Crude Producers

Army commanders rebelled in three states, including crude-producing Unity and Upper Nile, after President Salva Kiir arrested rivals for allegedly plotting a coup. Members of the Nuer community accused Dinka soldiers loyal to the president of targeting them.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the fighting, while almost 2 million others have fled their homes, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this week. Clashes between rebels and government forces have continued even after representatives signed a series of agreements to cease hostilities.

China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. produce most of South Sudan’s crude. The companies evacuated some staff from the country because of the conflict.

Rebel Threats

Upper Nile is the only region still producing oil after wells were shut down last December because of the violence. Frontier Resource Group, a private equity company also founded by Prince, in May said it had suspended plans to build an oil refinery in the country’s north.

Rebels in March vowed to target oil fields still controlled by the army to starve the government of revenue. In April they temporarily seized Unity’s state capital and demanded oil companies in government-held territory leave within a week. Insurgents later withdrew from the city.

Prince ran Blackwater from 1997 to 2010, when the company earned an estimated $1 billion in U.S. government contracts. Now he’s the chairman of Frontier Services, which is investing in Africa using cash from Asian investors including Citic Group, China’s largest state-owned group of companies.

The company is looking to fill a niche in South Sudan and is one of only a few international companies willing to take the risk in Upper Nile and Unity, said Luke Patey, an oil researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

‘Gutsy Move’

“It’s a pretty gutsy move,” he said by phone from Copenhagen. “Rebel forces, militias, all operate in those areas and they will have a new target that is basically transporting the means to the oil fields that allows the South Sudanese government to arm itself.”

A 45 percent slump in oil prices this year has taken its toll on South Sudan’s oil-reliant economy, Patey said. “They need to increase production to make up the gap and maybe they’re willing to take these risks.”

Smith said Frontier Services has had “preliminary discussions” with Chinese oil companies and their partners that are struggling because of intense fighting near their oil facilities.

“We have not agreed to do anything for them,” he said. “No one has settled on anything yet because the situation up there is pretty bad.”

Smith said Frontier Services hopes to progress from contracting for South Sudan’s government to becoming a service provider as companies return to full production.

Chinese and Malaysian oil companies may be open to Frontier’s help now, Patey said. That may not be the case once fighting ends, he said.

“Post-conflict they may be somewhat wary of letting someone into their terrain, into their market,” he said. “CNPC is dominating oil services and construction in South Sudan and they would be skeptical of allowing any new player to take a sizable chunk of that part of the market.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Gridneff in Nairobi at igridneff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Michael Gunn, Andres R. Martinez

SPLM-IO Pagak Conference Communique

Posted: December 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in History, Press Release

SPLM_SPLA Pagak Conference Communique

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IT HAS EXPLODED TODAY IN EQUATORIA


Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Statement on Deteriorating Security in South Sudan, Need for Action

Royce Letter to Samantha Power regarding South Sudan

(Samantha Power is the US Ambassador to the UN)

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Royce Letter to President Obama regarding South Sudan

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Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Statement on Deteriorating Security in South Sudan, Need for Action

 
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, issued the following statement on the one year anniversary of South Sudan’s civil war:
 
“It has been one year since leaders in South Sudan so completely failed their people and went to war with each other. This man-made crisis has killed tens of thousands, displaced nearly two million people, and left even more facing dire food insecurity.
 
“The U.S. has expended significant resources – both political and financial – in helping the people of South Sudan achieve their aspiration of establishing an independent country that is at peace.  The unfortunate reality today though is that South Sudanese political leaders are an impediment to achieving that goal. Khartoum is feeding political and inter-ethnic tensions, but that doesn’t excuse the reckless and destructive actions of southern political leaders.
 
“We reiterate the need for the President to use his authority to impose targeted sanctions on high profile figures on both sides of the conflict in South Sudan that are obstructing the peace process. The U.S. should also press the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions and an arms embargo, to ensure that more weapons are not flooding into South Sudan that would put more civilians at risk and further embolden the warring factions.”
 
NOTE: On April 3, 2014, the President issued Executive Order 13664, which provides the authority to sanction individuals who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan. To date, four individuals have been designated under this authority.
 

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Statement by the President of the Security Council on South Sudan

December 15 2014

The Security Council recalls the great hope and optimism felt by the South Sudanese people at the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan in July 2011 and the prospect of the end of decades of civil war.  On the one-year mark of the outbreak of the current conflict it expresses its profound disappointment that their aspirations have not been met, and that instead their leaders’ actions have led to yet more fighting and division.

The Security Council recalls with deep alarm the escalation of the internal Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) political dispute that erupted into conflict on December 15, 2013 and the subsequent violence caused by the country’s political and military leaders that has plunged this young nation into a man-made political, security and humanitarian catastrophe over this past year.

The Security Council underscores its strong condemnation of the serious human rights violations and abuses that have caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians, the displacement of nearly 2 million people in just 12 months, and the attacks upon, and deaths of, UN peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel.  In this regard, they place full responsibility for these tragic events with South Sudan’s leaders, those in government as well as with the opposition, and look to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar Teny to make the necessary compromises for peace.

The Security Council commends the work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in leading the mediation since the onset of the crisis, the initiatives by the African Union, including to establish a mechanism for seeking accountability and reconciliation through its Commission of Inquiry, the overwhelming humanitarian assistance offered by the international community to help mitigate the consequences of the conflict, including staving off famine in 2014, and the hosting by South Sudan’s neighbours of nearly 500,000 refugees from South Sudan.

The Security Council renews its deep appreciation for the courageous actions taken and on-going by United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel and troop- and police-contributing countries to protect tens of thousands of civilians under threat of physical violence and to stabilize the security situation, and pays tribute to those peacekeepers who have tragically been killed in this endeavour, and expresses condolences to their families.

The Security Council expresses its grave concern that given the continued disregard of the January 23, 2014 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the May 9, 2014 Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan, and the absence of the establishment and implementation of a credible peace agreement, the risks of famine, state failure and regionalization of the conflict persist.

In this regard, the Security Council urgently demands that President Salva Kiir Mayardit, former Vice President Riek Machar Teny and all parties refrain from further violence, implement the Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan signed on May 9, 2014 by the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A (in Opposition), engage fully and inclusively in ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, uphold their commitment to establish a Transitional Government of National Unity, and allow and facilitate, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, the full, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel, equipment and supplies to all those in need and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The Security Council reiterates its intention to commence consideration, in consultation with relevant partners, including the IGAD and African Union, on all appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those impeding the peace process.  The Security Council underscores the significant importance of fighting impunity and ensuring accountability for serious violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan, and of continued delivery of life-saving and other humanitarian assistance to the South Sudanese people.

Press Release: AU Communiqué on South Sudan

Posted: December 17, 2014 by PaanLuel Wël in Press Release

  1. AU Communiqué on South Sudan

ADDIS ABABA (6 Dec.)

The African Union announced yesterday that it was deeply concerned that the South Sudanese warring parties have back-tracked on previous agreements and also failed to meet a 15-day deadline set by mediators for completing consultations on a power-sharing proposal.

Sitting in Addis Ababa, the African Union Peace and Security Council also pointed to the threat of punitive sanctions by the IGAD region, endorsing action by East African countries in the event of violations of the ceasefire agreement.  

 Full text Communiqué:

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 474th meeting held on 5 December 2014, considered the situation in South Sudan and adopted the following decision: 

Council,

  1. Takes note of the statement made by the Permanent Representative of South Sudan, as well as the briefing made by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in South Sudan;
  2. Recalls its previous communiqués and press statements on the situation in South Sudan, in which Council expressed its profound concern for the continuing and acute humanitarian crisis, which is being further exacerbated by the ongoing fighting, thereby resulting in massive displacement of the civilian population within the country and thousands of refugees in the neighboring countries;
  3. Further recalls the communiqué of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit held in Addis Ababa, on 7 November 2014, in particular paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 in which the Summit requested the Parties to commit to an unconditional, complete and immediate end to all hostilities, and to bring the war to an end. The Summit also stressed that any violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, of 23 January 2014, by any party will invite collective action by the IGAD region against those responsible for such violations, including but not limited to, the enactment of asset freezes, of travel bans within the region, and denial of the supply of arms and ammunition, as well as any other material that could be used in war;
  4. Pays tribute to the IGAD and its Chairperson, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, as well as to the other leaders of the region, for their commitment and leadership in the search for a lasting solution to the crisis in South Sudan. Council further commends the IGAD Mediation Team and its Chair, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, and other stakeholders, for their sustained and tireless efforts towards the restoration of peace in South Sudan;
  5. Expresses appreciation to the neighboring countries of South Sudan for the hospitality and support given to South Sudanese refugees, and urges them to continue this exemplary demonstration of African solidarity;
  6. Calls on international humanitarian organizations to continue providing assistance and support to the affected population and appeals, once again, to the South Sudanese parties to facilitate protection of humanitarian workers and ensure the unobstructed delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected population;
  7. Expresses deep concern with the failure of South the Sudanese parties, once again, to meet the 22 November 2014 deadline set by the 28th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government to complete consultations on outstanding matters and reach a political settlement, as well as avoiding back-tracking on issues already agreed;
  8. Decides to enhance and scale up its support to IGAD and its mediation efforts in South Sudan, including consultations with the leaders of the region towards the urgent establishment of an AU High-Level Ad-hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government, comprising one representative from each of the five regions of the Continent, which will strengthen Africa’s support to IGAD and assist the South Sudanese parties and stakeholders to achieve durable peace in their country;
  9. Warns all South Sudanese parties who continue to undermine the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, and obstruct the successful conclusion of the political negotiations, that stern measures will be taken, including recourse to the UN Security Council for further action;
  10. Urges all AU Members States to mobilize the necessary political, diplomatic and financial support towards the efforts of IGAD to bring durable peace to South Sudan. Council further urges Member States and the larger international community to provide the required humanitarian support to the internally displaced persons in South Sudan and the refugees in the neighboring countries;
  11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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