Posts Tagged ‘omar al bashir’
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UN Says Sudan strikes on South Sudan may be illegal As “AU-African Diplomat” Accuses South Sudan of Destroying Heglig’s OilfieldPosted: May 11, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in World
Tags: omar al bashir
Sudan strikes on S.Sudan may be illegal: UN
Sudanese air strikes on foe South Sudan could amount tointernational crimes, the UN rights chief warned Friday, adding that she was “saddened and outraged” at bombing raids that broke a UN ceasefire order.
“Deliberate or reckless attacks on civilian areas can, depending on the circumstances, amount to an international crime,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters.
Khartoum has repeatedly denied its warplanes have bombarded Southern territory during weeks of bitter border conflict, including civilian areas and a UN base as well as Southern army positions along the contested frontier.
However Pillay, who has been visiting South Sudan, said Khartoum had carried out “indiscriminate bombing without consideration that civilians are living there.”
A May 2 Security Council resolution called for Sudan and South Sudan to cease hostilities along their border and settle unresolved issues after the South’s separation last July following a 1983-2005 civil war.
On Wednesday, Sudan’s army said it had fought with South Sudan along the disputed border, while the South said it had come under renewed Sudanese air attack, violating that UN ceasefire.
“Twice in the past six months I have publicly condemned the indiscriminate use of aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces - today, I condemn it again,” Pillay added.
“What the UN has done in response to the aerial bombardment by Sudan in the territory of South Sudan is mostly the adoption of a Security Council resolution, which is very serious when it reaches this stage,” Pillay said.
Both sides have pledged to seek peace after bloody clashes began in late March, peaking with the South’s seizure of the key Heglig oil field before it pulled back after international condemnation.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Thursday neither the UN nor the African Union can impose its will on Sudan, although Khartoum’s foreign ministry has sent written confirmation of its commitment to stop hostilities.
Under the resolution, talks must start by May 16.
Bashir and other senior Khartoum officials are already accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes and genocide in Sudan’s western war-torn Darfur region.
Riddle over war damage at Sudan’s Heglig
Somewhere within the twisted metal of Sudan’s damaged Hegligpetroleum complex may lie the evidence to prove who caused the destruction during the 10-day occupation of the region by South Sudanese troops last month.
The United Nations has called for an impartial investigation into what happened at Heglig during the border war which sparked international alarm.
Sudan and South Sudan have blamed each other for the extensive damage to the export pipeline and central processing facility serving the north’s main oil field.
Sudanese officials said it produced roughly half the national production before South Sudanese forces moved in on April 10, disputing the north’s claim to the area.
During the occupation South Sudan’s army alleged the north bombed the Heglig area “indiscriminately,” and that an air raid struck the processing facility, setting it ablaze.
But the north blamed southern troops and called for compensation.
An African diplomat taken on a government-run tour a few days after Heglig’s “liberation” said the damage did not appear to have been caused by aerial bombing.
He said an explosion under the facility’s power station had left depressions in the ground and the metal roofing was blown out — damage inconsistent with an air strike.
The diplomat, who declined to be identified, said he could still detect the smell of explosives and felt South Sudan was responsible.
“My sense is that, I can’t see how Sudan would’ve self-inflicted that kind of thing on themselves,” the diplomat said.
“It was well thought out, well executed… just enough to cause disablement, at least for a while.”
But he said some observers in Khartoum disagree, believing that either side could have done it. “There are some who say that,” he added.
A source close to the oil industry also felt the South was behind the damage because it could not have been caused by aerial bombing.
Sudan announced last week that it had resumed pumping oil from the partially-repaired Heglig facility but the source said it would take months to resume full production.
An international economist estimated that Sudan’s oil revenues shrank by more than $700 million after Heglig was damaged.
South Sudan separated last July with about 75 percent of the former united Sudan’s oil production, leaving Khartoum struggling for revenue and hard currency.
Juba still depended on the north’s pipeline and Red Sea port to export its crude, which it said provided 98 percent of its earnings,.
But a protracted dispute over fees for use of that infrastructure was at the heart of tensions which brought the two countries to the brink of all-out war and led South Sudan in January to shut its oil production.
“It seems quite plausible to me that South Sudan did it,” an international analyst said of the Heglig damage.
Despite Sudan’s claims to have driven the South Sudanese troops from Heglig by force, the analyst and the diplomat said there had not been heavy fighting in Heglig itself, supporting the argument that Sudan wanted to preserve the oil facility.
“You would’ve seen artillery shells quite extensively… pock marks, and (battle) damage” if there had been intense combat, the diplomat said.
Corpses that were scattered about, “may have been of a show nature,” he added.
Sudan did not allow journalists into the Heglig area during clashes with the South, and granted them only brief access on government-escorted tours after South Sudan said it had withdrawn.
“They did not want them to witness this damage,” said South Sudan’s military spokesman Philip Aguer.
“Whatever story Khartoum is giving, it’s a fabrication. It is their own bombing. It is their own destruction,” he said. “Khartoum is a country based on denial.”
Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, a non-profit research group, said that because it was a war zone, “I think both parties contributed to the damage”.
Under a May 2 UN Security Council resolution, the two countries are to cease hostilities and resume by next Wednesday negotiations on unresolved issues including oil.
The resolution also calls for “an impartial fact-finding effort to assess the losses and economic and humanitarian damage, including to oil facilities and other key infrastructure, in and around Heglig.”
South Sudan is ready to comply with “all the articles” in the UN resolution, Minister for Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor said.
The African diplomat said the UN call for fact-finding is significant because in a climate of war rhetoric, “the first victim is truth.”
Tags: omar al bashir
Sudanese war planes have launched renewed air strikes against South Sudan, violating a UN Security Council resolution to end weeks of a bitter border conflict, the South’s army has claimed.
“The Republic of Sudan has been randomly bombarding civilian areas,” said Southern army spokesman Kella Kueth, who said the air strikes hit the border states of Upper Nile, Unity and Western Bahr el-Ghazal on Monday and Tuesday.
It was not possible to independently confirm the reports of bombing, and Sudan has repeatedly denied it has bombed the South.
“The people of Khartoum, they just deny,” Mr Kueth said, adding that both fighter jets and Antonov airplanes carried the air raids.
Both sides say they are complying with a United Nations Security Council resolution which ordered them to stop fighting from last Friday, after international concern the rivals could return to all out war.
A border war with South Sudan began in late March, escalating with waves of Sudanese air strikes against South Sudanese territory and the South’s 10-day seizure of the Heglig oil field from Khartoum’s army.
The South’s army confirmed it had pulled back six miles south of the contested border line, in accordance with the UN deadline Wednesday to do so. However the border is undemarcated.
“Yes, we have done so… but we are focusing on the bombing,” Mr Kueth added.
The UN resolution threatens additional non-military sanctions if either side fails to meet its conditions, including ordering Sudan to halt air strikes.
It also lays down a May 16 deadline for Khartoum and Juba to “unconditionally resume negotiations” mediated by the African Union.
Troops from the rival armies are dug into fortified defensive positions along the restive border.
The reported attacks come as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits South Sudan to discuss the protection of civilians affected by the border fighting.
Sudan has accused the South’s army of occupying border areas Khartoum claims as theirs, in the frontier zone between Sudan’s South Darfur state, and the South’s Western and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal states.
However, the South reject those claims, saying clashes there were between Khartoum’s army and northern rebels.
“We, the South, do not have anything to do with Darfur, we do not concern ourselves about that,” Kueth said.
Sudan also accuses the South of backing rebels from Darfur as well as those fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan state and Blue Nile.
Juba rejects the claims, and in turn accuses Khartoum of backing rebels on its territory, a tactic it used to deadly effect during their 1983-2005 civil war.
The South also accuses Khartoum of occupying several parts of its territory, including the Lebanon-sized Abyei region, claimed by both sides but which Sudan’s army stormed last year forcing over 100,000 people to flee southwards.
Tags: economy, omar al bashir, south sudan
|South Sudan Economy On the Verge of Collapse, World Bank Warns
Washington — The newly independent state of South Sudan is quickly headed towards an economic cliff in light of its decision to shut down oil production which went into effect earlier this year, says a confidential report by the World bank.
|South Sudan completing withdrawal of police service in Abyei
May 7, 2012 (JUBA) — South Sudan said on Monday it is completing withdrawal processes of police forces from the contested area of Abyei, apparently in conformity with the United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing roadmap of the Africa Union …
Tags: omar al bashir, south sudan, sudan
By Richard Downie
There are fears that Sudan and South Sudan are edging closer to all-out war. The latest crisis has been precipitated by a dispute over oil, which propels the economies of both countries. South Sudan broke away from Sudan to become an independent nation in July 2011 but has been unable to agree on terms for using the North’s oil pipeline, its only route to selling its oil. The dispute escalated in January, when South Sudan shut off production entirely rather than pay what it said were exorbitant fees to transport its oil through Sudan. A military confrontation quickly ensued, which culminated in the seizure by South Sudan’s army of the main oil field controlled by the North, Heglig, on April 10. In a speech to party supporters, President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan said that efforts to retake Heglig would “not be the end, but the beginning.” He pledged to “liberate” South Sudan from its government.
Q1: What explains the latest fighting?
A1: The failure of both countries to agree on the terms of their separation is at the heart of this dispute. Although South Sudan reached independence peacefully last year, the outcome was achieved by putting off negotiations on a long list of contentious issues. They included demarcating the common border and establishing citizenship rights for Southerners living in the North and vice versa. But top of the list was how to jointly manage the oil industry, which accounts for 98 percent of revenue in the South and is the main source of income in the North. When negotiations resumed last fall, both sides adopted intransigent positions, and the talks quickly broke down. Exasperated by the failure to reach a deal and moves by Khartoum to confiscate some of its oil before it could be exported, the government of South Sudan (GoSS) took the fateful decision to shut down production entirely.
Layered on top of the diplomatic impasse was a deteriorating security situation on both sides of the border. GoSS blamed Khartoum for fomenting a succession of damaging rebellions within its borders. Meanwhile in the North, a series of conflicts have quickly gotten out of control, mostly in border regions populated by groups whose sympathies lie with the South. In keeping with previous patterns of behavior, the regime in Khartoum has reacted with indiscriminate force, killing civilians and displacing communities. This response has only served to motivate the rebels. Worryingly for the regime, disparate groups in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur are beginning to coordinate their operations. Last November they announced the formation of the Sudan Revolutionary Front and declared their intention to topple President Bashir from power. Khartoum has long suspected, with some justification, that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) government in South Sudan is assisting these rebels. This rising tide of mutual hostility, combined with the punishing economic costs of the oil shutdown and the aggressive posturing of two ill-disciplined armies, made a military confrontation more likely. Nevertheless, the decision by Southern forces from the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA) to occupy an oil field that is widely regarded as lying within Northern territory was a major escalation. South Sudan now finds itself in the unusual position of being painted as the aggressor, while Sudan’s demand that Southern forces immediately withdraw from Heglig has been backed by the international community, including the United States.
Q2: What are the prospects for ending the fighting in the near term?
A2: Not good. The hotheads seem to be driving policy on both sides of the border. Emotions are running high, and recent statements, such as the one issued by President Bashir, are throwing kerosene on the flames. For the time being, neither side is showing much inclination to step back from the brink or suggest a realistic basis for negotiations. A spokesman for GoSS, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said the South will not withdraw its forces from Heglig unless the fighting stops, the African Union acts as guarantor of a cease-fire, Sudanese forces withdraw from the contested border region of Abyei, and an agreement on demarcating the border is reached. It is unlikely these demands will be met in the near term. For its part, Khartoum’s current strategy does not appear to extend beyond winning Heglig back by force.
Q3: What can the United States do to stop the fighting?
A3: The United States, in common with the rest of the international community, is in the frustrating position of having to watch from the sidelines while the peace unravels. Special Envoy Princeton Lyman is engaged in shuttle diplomacy, visiting both Juba and Khartoum this week, but the reality is that the United States has limited capacity to influence events. Long-standing sanctions against the National Congress Party (NCP) regime in Khartoum curtail his ability to engage with the northern leadership, but in any case, NCP has never been inclined to listen to anything the United States has to say. In theory, the United States has more leverage over the South, which it backed during the long years of Sudan’s civil war and which it continues to supply with desperately needed economic and technical support. So it is a matter of considerable frustration and some annoyance to Washington that Juba shows just as little willingness to listen to U.S. appeals as do its counterparts in the North. Nevertheless, U.S. pressure on Juba to moderate its behavior remains the best potential avenue for ending the crisis. Perhaps Washington would have had more traction with its friends in South Sudan if it had previously been more forceful in pushing for responsible governance in return for its economic and diplomatic largesse. China is perhaps one of the few countries that can wield influence on both sides of the border. Its investments in the oil industry mean it has an economic stake in restoring peace. China does not publicize its diplomatic activity, but it would not be a surprise if Beijing were putting pressure on Khartoum and Juba behind the scenes. A planned visit to China by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan later this month may provide an added opportunity.
Q4: Is the fighting likely to have an impact on global oil prices?
A4: Logic would suggest not. As oil producers, the two Sudans are small players in the overall picture. Of the two countries, South Sudan has 70 to 75 percent of the oil. It was pumping 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) before shutting off production in January, a move that barely caused a ripple on world markets. That leaves Sudan, which produces approximately 115,000 bpd. The Southern occupation of Heglig, its largest oil field, has dented output, although to what extent is unclear. Heglig was producing 60,000 bpd before the latest fighting, and officials had previously stated that production stopped entirely following its seizure. But in a statement on April 18, Sudan’s oil minister said production had only fallen by 40,000 bpd overall and that some of Heglig’s oil had been “diverted.” Regardless of the true figures, the disruption of Sudan’s oil production is unlikely to have a global impact, although its effect on the domestic economy is likely to be very serious indeed.
Richard Downie is a fellow and deputy director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Two New Sudans: A Roadmap Forward
Special Envoy for Sudan
Chairman Kerry, Ranking Member Lugar, Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here to discuss the historic achievement symbolized by South Sudan’s independence and the opportunities and challenges ahead as Sudan and South Sudan seek to define their future relationship with each other and the international community.
I will discuss below the many tasks and challenges that lie ahead. But first we should recall that a fundamental objective of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was to provide the people of southern Sudan a choice whether to continue within one country or to separate. The people made that choice in January, voting for separation, and the independence of South Sudan was achieved July 9 without major conflict and with the recognition of the Government of Sudan. All those, in the Congress, among the many public organizations and advocates, the government entities and individuals over two administrations, all those who worked for this over many years should take pride and joy in this achievement.
I was in Juba last Saturday for South Sudan’s independence ceremony. It was a very moving occasion. As President Obama said in his statement recognizing South Sudan, the day reminded us “that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible.” Tens of thousands of people endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. Sudan was the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. This was a historic achievement that represents a new beginning for the people of South Sudan as well as those of Sudan.
Mr. Chairman, this achievement was far from inevitable. Just a year ago, the peace process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was stalled. Many doubted whether it would be possible to have an on-time, peaceful referendum for Southern Sudan and whether the Government of Sudan would ever accept the results. A return to open conflict seemed very possible. During that time, President Obama committed to reenergizing the peace effort, and since then, we have intensified our diplomatic engagement with the CPA parties as well as our partners in the African Union, IGAD, Europe and the United Nations. The President himself, the Vice President and his entire national security team have been involved in this effort around the clock. We are grateful for the support that this committee and you in particular, Mr. Chairman, have given to this effort. We also appreciate the efforts that so many Americans have made to keep a spotlight on the situation in Sudan.
Over the last year, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have demonstrated their capacity to work together on the major task of separation and to overcome great odds in their search for peaceful completion of the CPA. Nevertheless, this period has also been marked by armed clashes along the border, a crisis in Abyei, and fighting currently under way in the northern state of Southern Kordofan. Several critical issues regarding relations between the two states that were to be negotiated by July 9 have not been resolved. Thus the situation remains fraught with serious threats to peace. The two states must work to rekindle the spirit of cooperation that was so evident after the referendum of January 9 and which was promised again by the two leaders in the ceremony of July 9.
The CPA parties have made some progress in their negotiations over the past few months, but as I indicated above some of the most important issues namely oil, Abyei and citizenship remain unresolved. How these outstanding issues are managed over the near term will define the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. At the IGAD Summit on July 4, President Bashir and President Kiir committed to continue negotiations beyond July 9. We are urging the parties to quickly return to the negotiating table in the coming days and set a firm deadline for completing this unfinished business. The parties should work with the support of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to finalize mutually-beneficial arrangements, in particular, oil revenues, citizenship, Abyei, and their shared border. Allowing these issues to linger without resolution for too long could destabilize the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan.
Of particular importance is the contentious issue of Abyei. After months of rising tensions and a buildup of forces by both sides, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) forcefully took over the disputed area of Abyei in May. An estimated 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes. After weeks of intense negotiations, the parties signed an agreement on June 20 outlining temporary arrangements for Abyei, to include the establishment of a new UN peacekeeping force in Abyei and the redeployment of all Sudanese military forces from the area. Secretary of State Clinton met with the parties in Addis Ababa during these talks and played an important role in finalizing this deal. We then led efforts in the UN Security Council to quickly secure a resolution authorizing this new peacekeeping force, which will consist of up to 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers.
The violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. It is critical that the parties move forward with genuinely implementing this agreement over the coming weeks as they continue to work toward a final arrangement on Abyei. The Ethiopian peacekeepers have begun deploying to Abyei. The SAF and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) must follow through with their commitment to withdraw their forces. Conditions must be put in place to allow those displaced from Abyei to voluntarily return home in safety and dignity as soon as possible. Enormous damage was done to homes and other structures in Abyei and much was looted during the SAF take-over. Considerable assistance will therefore be needed for those returning home. We are working closely with the Ethiopian peacekeeping force, the United Nations humanitarian agencies, and our own USAID to arrange support for a safe, voluntary return. At the same time, as part of their negotiations, the parties need to resolve Abyei’s final status. Negotiations on this matter were delayed by the SAF take-over of the area and the extensive negotiations for assuring the departure of military forces from there. This delay was costly. It will take weeks for the Ethiopian forces to be fully deployed and some time for the displaced to feel it safe to return.
Negotiations on the oil sector are equally important, but they must move on a quicker timetable. By the end of July, there has to be an understanding of how oil will be marketed and sold and to what extent the SPLM will provide some tapering off of reductions of income to the north. Agreement is made more difficult, however, because the SPLM does not want to make such a decision without final agreements on Abyei, the border, and perhaps some other issues. We are thus faced with conflicting timelines. In this situation, it is imperative that if there is no final resolution of oil revenue distribution, there must be an interim agreement by the end of July. Each side has claimed it is ready to shut down the oil flow if there is no agreement, positions that if acted upon would only hurt both sides and above all the people of all Sudan. Thus this issue demands action very soon.
Mr. Chairman, beyond their negotiations with each other, Sudan and South Sudan must also work to establish peace within their respective borders. Despite their separation, both countries have significant diversity and must decide how they will manage that diversity over the coming years. Most immediately, we remain deeply concerned about the situation in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. The people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile were promised in the CPA that their political interests would be addressed in a process of popular consultations. Unfortunately, those consultations have not occurred in Southern Kordofan. Tensions increased in Southern Kordofan following the state’s heavily-contested elections in May. The SPLM refused to accept the results of the election in which the sitting Governor was declared the winner. It was in this atmosphere that the Government of Sudan issued an order to the SAF to dissolve the Joint Integrated Units and forcibly disarm SPLA units that remained in the state. On June 5, intense fighting broke out between the SAF and SPLA forces in the state. To date, the fighting has continued, with the SAF carrying out aerial bombardments of SPLA areas. We are extremely concerned by credible allegations of targeted and ethnic-based killings and other gross human rights abuses. These abuses must end, an investigation must be conducted, and perpetrators must be held accountable. The UN estimates that 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and critical access and resupply routes for humanitarian agencies have been blocked.
Negotiations over Southern Kordofan began in Ethiopia in late June under the auspices of the AUHIP. The Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North signed a framework agreement on June 28 outlining new political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. This agreement has the advantage of calling for addressing political issues at the same time as security ones, which is indispensable for reaching an agreement to cease hostilities and lay the groundwork for a longer term settlement. Unfortunately, President Bashir has raised problems with the framework agreement, which puts negotiations at risk. We continue to call on the parties to return to the negotiating table, to recognize the need to address both political and security issues, and to agree on a cessation of hostilities which would allow unfettered humanitarian access. Despite the opposition of Khartoum, we also continue to call on the Government of Sudan to accept a continued UN presence in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and the establishment of new security arrangements. We believe, and we know that much of the international community agrees, that it is in their interest to do so. The Security Council has expressed its readiness to authorize continued UN operations if Khartoum consents.
Within Sudan, we also remain deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Clashes continue to occur in North and South Darfur between the Government of Sudan and an alliance of Darfur rebel groups, notably the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. The SAF continues to use aerial bombardments as well as proxy militias as part of its military strategy against the movements, thereby resulting in civilian casualties. Conflict and widespread insecurity impact the humanitarian situation negatively and hamper humanitarian organizations from carrying out their activities in the deep field. The GOS continues to obstruct access of UN-African Union peacekeepers and humanitarian organizations struggle to obtain visas and travel permits from the GoS, which undermine the effectiveness and independence of humanitarian efforts. We have consistently pressed the Government of Sudan to provide full and unfettered access for aid workers and peacekeepers, in order to deliver humanitarian assistance across Darfur. Our own humanitarian staff is only able to access Darfur with high level visits. Otherwise, operational access is simply not possible. Although there has been some limited IDP resettlement in West Darfur and a significant increase in seasonal IDP returns for cultivation, around 2 million Darfuris overall remain in IDP camps. Approximately 70,000 additional persons have been displaced since December 2010.
We have invested considerable efforts in pushing the Government of Sudan and the armed movements to commit to serious negotiations in Doha. Two of Darfur’s rebel groups, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have participated in the Doha negotiations. The LJM may sign a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan this week; however LJM has little military strength on the ground. Negotiations between JEM and the Government of Sudan have been suspended since early May, and JEM is currently reconsidering its position on the results of the Doha process. We have emphasized to the Government of Sudan that an agreement with the LJM would be a positive step toward peace, but that it must continue to negotiate with the other armed movements. We also will be applying pressure on the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks.
The position of the armed movements is also of concern. Several of them insist that they do not wish to negotiate on Darfur so much as on changes to the regime in Khartoum, and in some cases are determined to pursue that objective through fighting in and beyond Darfur. This position does not permit realistically peace talks with the Government of Sudan. We will also continue to encourage the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks on Darfur. While the Doha process has now come to an end, other venues can be developed if talks are possible. In this regard, we are currently consulting with the AU, the UN and our international partners on a way forward after Doha that builds on progress achieved in Doha and leads to a more comprehensive settlement.
Any successful peace process must engage not only the armed movements, but also the people of Darfur. The UN and the AU have put forward the initiative of a Darfur Political Process, through which Darfuris would express their views on the way forward for a political settlement. However, we feel strongly that the current security and political environment would not lend itself to a credible or legitimate peace process in Darfur. For this reason, we will be coordinating with the AU and the UN on the necessary enabling conditions that we believe must be in place before the U.S. will support a Darfur-based process.
Mr. Chairman, Sudan needs to end its isolation in the international community and secure a more prosperous future for its people. It has a historic opportunity to do so with the completion of the CPA. Sudan faces an uncertain economic future as it adjusts to a significant loss of oil revenue and continues to shoulder nearly $38 billion of debt. Undoubtedly, Sudan is in need of debt relief, access to the resources of the International Financial Institutions, and a sustainable climate for private investment. Provided Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA, the United States is prepared to help.
We have laid out a roadmap to normalize our bilateral relations and taken initial steps in that direction. In February, following a successful referendum, the President began the process of reviewing Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Last month, the President dispatched Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan to Khartoum to discuss this review and to demonstrate our commitment to this process. Additionally, we have been actively involved in the World Bank technical working group to review the process for Sudan’s debt relief. We have also approved licenses for several American companies wishing to participate in agricultural development in the north.
However, we can only move forward with improved bilateral relations, as outlined in the roadmap, if the Government of Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders and with its neighbors. A failure to reach a cessation of hostilities will negatively impact this process. U.S. government action to lift remaining U.S. economic sanctions and to request legislative assistance with the removal of applicable foreign assistance restrictions also will be dependent on Sudanese actions in Darfur. We will expect to see concrete actions on humanitarian access, freedom of movement for UNAMID peacekeepers, engagement in peace talks, an end to the use of proxy militias and targeting of civilians, and an improvement in justice and accountability so the reign of impunity in Darfur does not continue. This is not just the position of the United States. It is also the view of other members of the international community and international creditors.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of South Sudan will also depend on international support as it seeks to address its many challenges. South Sudan has some of the lowest development indicators in the world, and its people have high expectations that their lives will improve with independence. Many of its people also remain vulnerable to the activity of armed militias in the border states of Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile to the North, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the state of Equatoria regions to the south. The United States has provided significant support for South Sudan over the years, and we will remain a steadfast partner as South Sudan seeks to peacefully meet these challenges. The strong ties between our peoples go back many decades, and we want to continue to build on that partnership.
Over 15 countries have offered capacity building assistance to the GOSS. Following the Troika development ministers’ visit in May, USAID is working closely with the AU, UN, ADB, EU, India, China, South Africa, Uganda and others to ensure that the ROSS has a viable human capital plan in place to build capacity for key functions in Juba and state governments. This builds upon the work USAID has done over the last 7 years in the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of South Sudan, health, education, and agriculture. USAID is working with partners to scale up to ensure that stop gap measure along with medium to long term capacities are being addressed. The United States, the UN, the UK, and other donors will focus on building a human rights culture throughout the GOSS, including the SPLA. All the donors will help in economic development. The United States plans in particular to make a major effort in agricultural production, which can help the vast majority of South Sudanese and for which there is much promise.
To succeed and to sustain international support, the Government of South Sudan must demonstrate its commitment to building an effective, democratic and inclusive government that embodies South Sudan’s diversity, respects human rights and delivers services with transparency and accountability. The eyes of the world will indeed be on South Sudan in the weeks and months ahead. The government must deliver on its commitment to a broad-based, inclusive process to write its permanent constitution. The government must also put in place safeguards to prevent corruption and avoid the pitfalls that have befallen many other oil-producing nations. President Kiir made a strong statement in his inaugural address on these very issues. The United States will work with other international partners to provide advice and support for the government to help him implement those pledges.
Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee, the challenges ahead are great, but the historic occasion last Saturday offers a new beginning for the people of South Sudan and Sudan. Now it is up to the leaders and people of South Sudan and Sudan to turn this moment of promise into lasting peace. We will continue to assist them in this hard work. Over the coming months, the Obama administration’s engagement will be unwavering, and we will be a steadfast partner to all those in Sudan and South Sudan who seek a better future of peace and prosperity.
VP Dr. Riek Machar On South Sudan/Sudan Conflict “Our history is a history of fighting each other. We fight, and we talk.”Posted: April 23, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan
Tags: omar al bashir, president bashir
Sudan and South Sudan: Conflict continues
BENTIU, South Sudan — Sudan bombed a civilian market here today killing three people, highlighting the continued tensions.
Sudan claims that it is retaliating for South Sudan’s shelling of the town of Talodi in Sudan on Sunday, which caused many casualties.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday that he is not interested in negotiating with South Sudan. He said the only way to deal with South Sudan is to fight,according to the BBC.
It is clear that South Sudan’s withdrawal from Sudan’s Heglig oilfield over the weekend has not ended the hostilities between the two neighboring countries, said South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar.
“Our history is a history of fighting each other. The Republic of South Sudan was created out of self-defence,” said Machar, on relations with its northern neighbor Sudan. “We fight, and we talk.”
Machar sat beneath a large mango tree on the bank of the Naam River where he held court perched on a pair of flimsy baby blue plastic chairs stacked on top of each other for extra strength: He’s a big man.
He’s also a Big Man: He wears a heavy gold Rolex watch and a candy-striped shirt with chunky black and gold cufflinks. The fingers interlinked over his large belly sport gold rings. I recognize the distinctive gap between his front teeth before I recognize the rest of his face.
On the matching plastic table in front of him are three touchscreen smartphones, a couple of maps and a sketch of the area around Heglig oil field where a brief, bloody border war was fought this month. On Friday, South Sudan ordered its troops to withdraw, but few here think the war is over.
“The conflict is there, it hasn’t gone away,” says Machar. He was flanked by his wife Angelina Teny, a serious political player in her own right; the Minister of Defence John Koang Nyuon; and the Governor of Unity State, Taban Deng Gai.
“There is no ceasefire. We can return to Heglig at any time if [President Omar al-] Bashir attacks our forces.” He seemed convinced Bashir would continue to order attacks on the south. Governor Gai complained that Sudan is continuing its aerial bombardment of South Sudanese territory.
A few miles north of Bentiu were four craters left by an Antonov bombing late on Friday night that killed at least one soldier and wounded three more in the Unity oil field.
Machar insisted that it was diplomatic not military pressure that resulted in South Sudan’s capitulation.
“We withdrew from Heglig because of the UN Security Council, the African Union and US positions and the threat of sanctions,” he said. “We cannot afford sanctions against us. We cannot afford to be a pariah when we are not even a year old.”
The world welcomed South Sudan when it won independence on July 9 last year, but a series of tricky issues were left unresolved, including revenue and debt sharing, border demarcation and citizenship. These are the points over which both Sudans are arguing now.
Unlike Sudan under Bashir, for whom international opprobrium has become common currency, South Sudan does not want the blows to its economy and reputation that will come with international sanctions.
In January, as negotiations between Juba and Khartoum reached what — at the time — seemed their nadir, South Sudan cut off oil production, strangling both economies. Its seizure of Heglig on April 9 made matters even more serious as that oilfield alone provided more than half of Khartoum’s remaining oil revenues. That is why Bashir could not afford for its occupation by the South to go unchallenged.
Machar wasn’t worried that the oil shutdown would make fighting a war with the north economically impossible.
“We can sustain running our country without the extravaganza of oil revenues for quite some time,” he said. “We fought for over 40 years with very little resources and we managed to create a state.”
According to Machar the last southern troops pulled out of Heglig at nine on Friday night and moved back to Teshwin, a border settlement which, like so many others along the disputed boundary, doubles as a garrison. By then the Heglig oil field was in flames and buildings and possessions looted.
Sudan President Bashir visits contested oil town of Heglig
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in the contested southern oil field town of Heglig, promising there will be no more talks with South Sudan as tensions between the East African neighbors point to an increasing risk of all-out war.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in the contested southern oil field town of Heglig, promising there will be no more talks with South Sudan over border demarcation and disputed oil revenues.
South Sudan’s army announced on Friday that it was pulling its troops out of Heglig to avoid all-out war with its East African neighbor, having occupied the field since April 9.
Sudan said its forces had driven the South out of the area.
“No negotiation with those people,” Bashir said of the South Sudanese regime upon his arrival in Heglig, according to the Agence France Presse, adding: “Our talks with them were guns and bullets.”
On Monday witnesses accused Sudan of carrying out airstrikes near the South Sudanese border town of Bentiu, killing three people, Reuters reports.
The alleged attack comes a day after South Sudan claimed the North had bombed and launched ground strikes against three sets of targets inside its border, killing four soldiers.
Khartoum has denied carrying out aerial attacks on its southern neighbor, but there are mounting concerns that all-out war between Sudan and South Sudan – which secured its independence from the North last July – is imminent.
After South Sudanese forces occupied Heglig earlier this month, claiming it was being used as launch pad for Sudanese attacks inside its territories, Bashir vowed to “liberate” the people of South Sudan from their “insect” rulers, saying:
“Our main target from today is to liberate South Sudan’s citizens from the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement), and this is our responsibility before our brothers in South Sudan.”
The president accused South Sudan’s government of trying to destroy its northern neighbour, the Agence France Presse reports, adding: “Our main target from today is to eliminate this insect completely.”
On Saturday night a Muslim mob several hundred strongset fire to a Catholic church frequented by South Sudanese in the Al-Jiraif district of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, screaming insults at the mainly Christian and animist southerners as they did so.
In a statement released Sunday, the African Union called on both countries to end “senseless fighting.”
“The commission urges the two parties to immediately and unconditionally resume negotiations … to reach agreements on all outstanding issues,” AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said, the Associated Press reports.
Sudan and South Sudan fighting ends, for now
South Sudan withdraws troops from Heglig after bombardment by Sudan. Will peace last?
BENTIU, South Sudan — A brief but bloody border war in the disputed oil fields of central Sudan appeared to be over on Friday, as South Sudan announced that its troops would withdraw from the Heglig oilfields it occupied two weeks ago.
The fighting over Heglig signaled a dramatic deterioration in relations between South Sudan and its northern neighbor, which have been at loggerheads since southern independence in July last year. War loomed between Sudan and South Sudan over the territory.
The dispute hinges on the sharing of oil revenues, border demarcation, citizenship and questions over how to divide the national debt. The governments in the rival capitals of Juba and Khartoum have accused one another for months of backing proxy forces, but in Heglig the two armies went head-to-head for the first time since a 2005 peace deal ended 22 years of civil war.
When South Sudan’s army seized Heglig on April 9, the town was strewn with the rotting bodies of northern soldiers. South Sudan’s aggression triggered days of aerial bombardments by Khartoum, underscoring the depth of hostility between the two old enemies.
The fighting was matched by belligerent rhetoric, which appeared to ratchet up the likelihood of war. “They started the fighting and we will announce when it will end, and our advance will never stop,” President Omar al-Bashir told a rally.
But Friday, the South Sudan government made an abrupt reversal and announced it would pull back its troops from Heglig.
“The Republic of South Sudan announces that the SPLA [southern army] troops have been ordered to withdraw from Panthou-Heglig,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the country’s information minister, using the southern name for the area.
The withdrawal would begin immediately and should be completed within three days, he said at a press conference in the capital Juba.
For its part, Sudan’s defence minister said the northern army had “liberated” Heglig, and Khartoum celebrated its military victory.
Despite the South’s attempt at face-saving in Bentiu, the closest southern town to the fighting, it looked like a defeat for the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
On Friday morning reinforcements continued to arrive, with at least five truckloads of southern soldiers seen in the town 55 miles south of Heglig.
Just the day before, commanders had insisted to GlobalPost that they would hold Heglig and even continue moving north towards the town of Kharasana, which also houses a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) base.
But two days of aerial bombardments and ground attacks appeared to have taken a heavy toll on the South’s forces. At the military hospital inside the 4th Infantry Division barracks, there were 150 casualties and only 72 beds.
In any case, most of the soldiers — suffering flesh wounds, fractures and burns as a result of the bombings — sat outside beneath trees rather than in the sweltering wards.
Medical director Captain Zacharia Deng said the hospital’s four doctors and two anaesthetists were struggling to cope with the influx.
“We do not have enough space,” he said. More wounded were expected to arrive on Friday evening.
Among the injured was Private Anthony Agok, with a bandaged hand, who said he was hit in his foxhole by a blast from a bomb dropped from a Sudanese Antonov aircraft on Thursday. Other soldiers sported bandaged limbs and heads. A few were smeared in white cream to ease the pain of extensive burns to their arms and faces.
Private Agok said he was keen to continue fighting. “As long as I live, the North will not occupy our territory,” he said, repeating the southern claim that Heglig lies on the south side of the disputed border.
But others were less gung-ho.
Private John Okeny, whose elbow was struck by shrapnel during a bombardment, also on Thursday, said he had had enough. “They bombed us continuously from noon till six,” he said.
The retreat from Heglig illustrated with deadly effect the superior military power that Sudan enjoys over its southern neighbor: SPLA troops could not withstand the sustained air attacks launched by Khartoum.
But with South Sudan insisting that it was not giving up its claim to Heglig, the halt in fighting may only be temporary.
In January, South Sudan shut off oil production, a move that is strangling the economies of both North and South, both of whose economies are heavily reliant on oil revenues.
South Sudan’s assault on Heglig — which was described as “illegal” by the UN and the African Union — was an attack on Sudan’s ailing economy, as most of its oil revenues come from that one field.
But the attempt to deal a mortal blow to Khartoum’s economy has come at a high price for South Sudan. Juba was widely condemned for its aggression, and has been forced to withdraw under military pressure, leaving it in a weaker position diplomatically and militarily.
Tags: omar al bashir, peoples liberation army, sudanese regime
HEGLIG – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Monday there will be no more talks with South Sudan, as fresh Sudanese air raids dashed South Sudanese hopes for an end to weeks of fighting.
“No negotiation with those people,” Bashir said of the South Sudanese regime, which he earlier described as an “insect” that must be eliminated.
“Our talks with them were with guns and bullets,” he told soldiers in the main oil region of Heglig, which the South occupied for 10 days.
On Friday, Bashir and Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein – both wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region – declared the army had forced Southern soldiers out of Heglig.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir had already announced that his forces would leave under “an orderly withdrawal”. His army said the pullout was completed on Sunday.
Despite the end of the occupation, the governor of South Sudan’s Unity State, Taban Deng, said Sudanese bombs fell on a key bridge and a market, killing at least two children in the state capital Bentiu on Monday.
The bombs prompted heavy bursts of gunfire from Southern soldiers hoping to shoot down Khartoum’s warplanes, said an AFP correspondent who was 50 metres (yards) from where the ordnance hit.
In the market, stalls were on fire and large plumes of grey smoke rose high into the air, as screaming civilians ran in panic.
“They have been given orders to wipe us out, they have called us insects,” Deng said, referring to Bashir’s earlier speech.
“We have been pressured by the international community to pull out of Heglig and this is the consequence, we have brought the war to home,” Deng added.
There was no immediate comment from Khartoum but a foreign ministry statement on the “liberation of Heglig” said Sudan “stresses that the government of Sudan has not, and does not intend to attack the Republic of South Sudan”.
The continued fighting sparked anger in Bentiu.
“I’m fearing that even if we give them Heglig, there will still be a war,” said shopkeeper Suleiman Ibrahim Ali. “I’m not alone – everyone is fearing the Antonov (warplanes).”
The South’s deputy director of military intelligence, Mac Paul, said: “I think it is a clear provocation.”
The attack is the latest of several along the disputed border.
The international community had called for an end to Sudan’s cross-border raids, as well as to the South’s presence in Heglig.
Southern officials said Sudanese troops had pushed across the contested border on Sunday before being repulsed after heavy fighting, although it was impossible to verify exactly where the clashes took place.
Southern troops were digging into positions fearing renewed ground attacks by Sudan, said the South’s Lieutenant General Obuto Mamur.
Kamal Marouf, a Sudanese army commander, claimed in Heglig Monday that more than 1,000 South Sudan troops were killed in the clashes.
“The numbers of killed from SPLM are 1,200,” Marouf said in an address to thousands of his soldiers as a stench of death filled the air.
The toll is impossible to verify but an AFP correspondent who accompanied Marouf said the putrid bodies of dead South Sudanese soldiers lay beneath trees which are scattered about the area.
Sudan has not said how many of its own soldiers died in the operation.
The main oil processing facility in Heglig – providing about half of Sudan’s crude – was heavily damaged, an AFP correspondent reported.
A storage tank was destroyed by fire, eight generators which provided power to the facility were also burned, and some oil was leaking onto the ground at the plant operated by Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC).
Both sides have accused each other of damaging the oil infrastructure.
The violence in Heglig was the worst since South Sudan won independence in July after a 1983-2005 civil war in which an estimated two million people died.
The South pulled out from Heglig after international pressure, but is calling on Khartoum to withdraw its troops from the contested Abyei region, which it seized last May.
Tensions have mounted over the border and other unresolved issues, raising concerns in recent weeks about the possibility of a wider war.
After the Heglig occupation, US President Barack Obama, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the African Union urged Sudan and South Sudan to resume talks.
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