Archive for September 17, 2011

Orbits: South Sudan Oil Transport Fees .. Continuous Controversy!

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

In the news, South Sudan will pay in arrears for use of North Sudan’s oil facilities until the African Union (AU) manages to broker a deal over the issue between the two countries.
South Sudan Government said that until the AU decides on the amount the South should pay, Juba will pay Khartoum in arrears, indicating the South’s willingness to accept any amount the AU decides.
The ROSS decision comes after the failure of the talks between Juba and Khartoum on the issue collapsed last month when Khartoum demanded US$32 for each transported barrel.
However, both the NCP and the SPLM should rethink on the future relations between the two neighbouring states to build stable relations afar from any tensions.
As for the north there is no justification for the fears from the absence of guarantees to transport the oil through its pipelines because all the crude oil goes only to the pipelines of the north and there is no any other container except the north pipelines.
This is a strong guarantee for the north so no need to wait until the AU decides.
We believe that the negotiations over the oil transport fees were too late as such issue should have been negotiated at the time of the CPA signature considering that the referendum might lead to south Sudan secession.
The government in the south revealed that its concerned institutions are considering construction of mobile refineries in order to tackle fuel and diesel shortages.
But that is not the case considering that the relations between the north and the south should not be limited to oil only.
Both parties should consider that the oil is one of several issues of interest between the north and the south as there are resources in the south and in the north which each party needs from the other.
To sum it up, we urge the experts in both states to review the experiences of similar cases in oil transport to reach a reasonable compromise instead of putting barricades which affect negatively the economy of both parties.

By Muawad Mustafa Rashid, 4 hours 12 minutes ago

http://news.sudanvisiondaily.com/details.html?rsnpid=199298

Pan African Festival – September 24, 2011

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Free to Attend!

Food – Fun – Parade – Live Music & Performances (Yaba Angelosi, Choir, Etc.)

This is an outdoor event to attract the vibrant and active community in the Downtown Silver Spring-Ellsworth Street restaurant corridor. The festival will include live cultural performances by country representative groups, live performances by African artists, arts & craft exhibits, and a taste of exotic African cuisine.

When:
Saturday, September 24, 2011
1PM – 10-PM
1:30 – Registration
2:30PM – Parade Begins
4PM – Festival Begins on Main Stage

Where:
Silver Spring Civic Center
1 Veterans Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Events
202.656.8772

SUDANESE PAN AFRICAN FESTIVAL
Saturday, September 24, 2011
1 PM
Open your invitation
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Chinese condoms too small for South Africans: report

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Socio-Cultural

Relaxnews – Fri, Sep 16, 2011

A South African court has blocked the government from buying 11 million Chinese condoms, saying they are too small, a newspaper reported Friday.

  • Chinese condoms too small for South Africans: report

The finance ministry had awarded a contract to a firm called Siqamba Medical, which planned to buy the Phoenurse condoms from China, the Beeld newspaper said.

A rival firm, Sekunjalo Investments Corporation, turned to the High Court in Pretoria after losing the bid, arguing that their condoms were 20 percent larger than the Chinese ones.

Judge Sulet Potterill blocked the deal with Siqamba, ruling that the condoms were too small, made from the wrong material, and were not approved by the World Health Organisation, the paper said.

South Africa has more HIV infections than any country in the world, with 5.38 million of its 50 million people carrying the virus.

http://news.yahoo.com/chinese-condoms-too-small-south-africans-report-103954238.html

President Kiir receives credentials of UK and Norway ambassadors

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

President Kiir meets AU/HIP delegation

JUBA, 17 September 2011 – The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit today in his office met the AU/HIP delegation led by the former President of South Africa Mr Thabo Mbeki.

The meeting was also attended by some prominent figures in the SPLM among them Mr. Pagan Amum Okech, the SPLM Secretary General, Hon Nhial Deng Nhial, the minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon Kosti Manibe, and the minister for Finance and Economic Planning, among others.


President Kiir meeting the AU/HIP delegation.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Amum said the meeting focused on the way forward for the negotiations between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan on the outstanding issues of Abyei, oil sector and oil arrears owned by South Sudan to be paid by the Sudan, contribution of South Sudan to assist in filling financial gap of the Sudan, the security situations between the two countries, returning of South Sudan IDPs from the North and the issues of payments of post-independence benefits by the Khartoum government to the South Sudanese people who were working in the North.

Mr Amum stated that during the meeting President Kiir expressed commitment of continuing with negotiations on the remaining issues with the Khartoum government to reach a comprehensive final agreement, which can put a base for good relations between Juba and Khartoum. Mr Amum explained that South Sudan is looking for a fair commercial agreement with Khartoum in the oil sector so that the Republic of South Sudan can export its oil through the Republic of Sudan based on pipeline fees payment that meets international standards. He revealed that President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit will present his positions on all the remaining issues within one week as requested by the panel.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

President Kiir receives credentials of UK and Norway ambassadors

JUBA, 16 September 2011 – The President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has today on Friday September16th, 2011 received the credentials of two ambassadors accredited to the Republic of South Sudan, in a special accreditation ceremony organized at the Presidential Guest House in Juba.

The ambassadors are: Mr. Alaster Mcphail Ambassador of United Kingdom to South Sudan who is considered to be the first ambassador accredited in South Sudan and has taken the Ambassadors Deanship in the new nation. The second ambassador to present her credentials to the President was Mrs. Ingrid Osfstad, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to South Sudan.


President Kiir receives the UK ambassador.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Shortly after the accreditation ceremony, the minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon Nhial Deng Nhial told the press that the Republic of South Sudan has started the process of receiving credentials of the diplomatic envoys of different countries to South Sudan. Hon. Nhial also disclosed that the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit assured the two ambassadors of his full cooperation with them in facilitating their mission of establishing a strong and beneficiary relationship with the new nation. He also explained that the two kingdoms have a long term relationship with the people of South Sudan since the struggle and they will help the new nation in standing on its own feet.

The British ambassador to South Sudan Mr. Alsater Mcphail said his appointment and accreditation as the first ambassador to South Sudan is a signal of a continuous commitment of the United Kingdom to help the new nation. The ambassador also said that the UK looks forward to seeing South Sudan join the commonwealth.


The Norwegian ambassador presenting her credentials to President Kiir.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

The ambassador of Norway to South Sudan Mrs. Ingrid Osfstad expressed her appreciation to the President for accrediting her to be the first ambassador of Norway to South Sudan, and she said Norway will always be on the side of the people of South Sudan in capacity building, economy and petroleum sector.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

South Sudan is now official on Google Maps

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Friday 9/16/2011 10:52:00 AM

(Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog)

Following the Republic of South Sudan’s recognition as the UN’s 193rd Member State, we have updated Google Maps and Google Earth to reflect the new country borders.

Satellite view of the Republic of South Sudan
Google — along with the World Bank, UNOSAT, and RCMRD— is also helping to create better maps of South Sudan by supporting communities who map schools, hospitals, roads, and more with Google Map Maker. The events kicked off in late April at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and a satellite event in Nairobi at the same time.

The most recent of several organized community mapping events was hosted on September 7th by the South Sudan National Bureau of Statistics in Juba. Information Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin indicated that such mapping efforts help bring together South Sudanese from all over the world. The events provide them with new ways to share knowledge and experiences.

Let’s continue mapping South Sudan and stay connected via our Sudan-specific email discussions.

Posted by France Lamy, Program Manager, Google.org

http://blog.google.org/2011/09/south-sudan-is-now-official-on-google.html

(Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog)

Following the Republic of South Sudan’s recognition as the UN’s 193rd Member State, we have updated

and Google Earth to reflect the new country borders.

Satellite view of the Republic of South Sudan
Google — along with the World Bank, UNOSAT, and RCMRD

Sudan: UN says over 80,000 people flee to South Sudan

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

New York, US – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Saturday said more than 8,000 civilians have fled to Republic of South Sudan to escape fighting in the state of Southern Kordofan in neighbouring Sudan.

UNHCR said: ‘Most of the displaced come from the Nuba Mountains region and began trickling into South Sudan in July, but there has been a surge in arrivals since last week, with up to 500 people arriving every day in the newly independent country.’

Adrian Edwards, the agency’s spokesperson in a statement, said that refugees walked for days to reach safety and were now situated in remote areas of South Sudan’s Unity state.

He said that there was a lack of humanitarian access in the area, due to poor quality roads.

Edwards, however, stated that, ‘limited aid has been delivered through a small number of quad bikes, one of the few means of travelling through the area and the World Food Programme (WFP) also recently airdropped food to the region’.

‘We are supporting a mobile clinic to address the health needs, and our partners have been working on improving water and sanitation facilities and providing treatment for the severely malnourished.

‘Meanwhile, we are currently developing a site to relocate the refugees away from the border. The work includes building health, school, and clean water and sanitation facilities.”

The spokesperson also said relocating refugees to the new site would be difficult because of the absence of, or extremely bad quality of the roads.

Edwards said: “The authorities of Unity State have started doing urgent repairs to open up roads to cars and trucks again.

‘In the interim, however, most of the displaced will have to trek to the new site on foot. Specific transport arrangements will be made for the most vulnerable to spare them the harsh journey.

‘We expect more arrivals amid persistent reports of aerial bombing in Southern Kordofan.”

The UN said more than 80,000 people have been displaced since violence broke out in Kadugli in early June between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N).

In the past two months, some 20,000 of the displaced fled to neighbouring Ethiopia, where various UN agencies are currently providing assistance.

There has been growing concern on the situation in the region, as a report released last month by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the former UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) described a wide range of alleged violations of international law in Southern Kordofan during June.

Reported violations included extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, enforced disappearances and attacks against civilians.

Others are looting of civilian homes and destruction of property, as well as aerial bombardments on civilian areas resulting in significant loss of life.

Pana 17/09/2011

http://www.afriquejet.com/sudan-situation-2011091722575.html

New Conflict Displaces Thousands in Sudan

By Reem Abbas

KHARTOUM, Sep 17, 2011 (IPS) – The Sudanese government says that a majority of the tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting in the country’s Blue Nile state have started returning to the area. This is despite reports by local and international aid agencies that say people are still fleeing the region.

On Tuesday the United Nations estimated that over 100,000 people have been displaced by the fighting that began two weeks ago. On Sep. 1, Blue Nile became another conflict area in Sudan when fighting erupted between forces loyal to the north Sudan faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – the ruling political party in South Sudan originally formed to oppose Sudan’s rule – and government’s Sudan Armed Forces.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society estimated that 35,000 households have been affected since fighting began in Blue Nile at the beginning of September. The U.N.’s Refugee Agency reported that 16,000 refugees fled the area into Ethiopia.

But Magdi Abdulwahab, who is responsible for compiling reports on the Blue Nile for Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), said that the state is stabilising and internally displaced persons are returning to safe regions in Blue Nile and neighbouring states. Blue Nile is one of Sudan’s 15 states. It borders South Sudan to its west and south, Ethiopia to its east and has a population of just over 800,000.

“Seventy percent of displaced persons in places like Sennar (a state bordering Blue Nile) and Senja, the capital of Sennar, are returning,” he told IPS.

He said government had urged the IDPs to return for the harvest. “The government is asking people to return as this is the agricultural season and the livelihoods of most of the state’s citizens are tied to agriculture and livestock,” said Abdulwahab. He added he receives daily reports confirming that the situation in the state is calm.

Media reports have shown that most of the heavy fighting has occurred in Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile state, and Kurmuk, a SPLM-controlled town near the Ethiopian border.

But political anaylsts say that the conflict has been a long-time coming.

Even the former governor of Blue Nile, Malik Agar, who has since been fired by government, warned of the possible conflict in the area since June. He said it would occur if government and the SPLM failed to complete the remaining proposals of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was signed between both parties to end the country’s 21-year civil war. A military representative, Commander Yahya Mohamed Kheir, has since replaced Agar as governor and a state of emergency was enforced in the state.

Government and the SPLM were supposed to resolve various issues, including those of oil revenues, border demarcation and military arrangements in the border areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile before South Sudan’s secession in July.

But by late July, the Sudanese government still had a heavy military presence in Blue Nile and Agar had called for a review of the CPA on this matter. (Agar is also the chairman of SPLM-North, a faction of the SPLM that is comprised of people from Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.) The Sudanese government called for the dissolution of the SPLM-North’s army, but Agar wanted further guarantees about the future of his soldiers.

“Agar did not refuse dissolving the army in principal, he asked for a political arrangement to secure the soldier’s future in the Sudanese army, or as civil servants, or as members in their communities,” said Dr. Khalil Al-Madani, the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Economic and Social Studies at Nileen University in Khartoum. He is also the head of a team of experts working on the council involved in the popular consultations between Blue Nile state and Sudan’s government. This is a CPA-mandated process that allows both Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan to voice their opinions on political and administrative arrangements with the government and to even vote for autonomous rule.

“The war did not happen now, all the factors leading to war were present, but it ignited now,” said Al- Madani.

Al-Madani added that matters were tense as far back as April 2010 when Agar had won the governorship of Blue Nile by popular vote and the Sudanese government had been reluctant to acknowledge his victory.

“Agar believed that the government would cheat him out of the governorship, their decision could have unleashed a war at the time. But when they announced his victory, they stopped (a possible) war in Blue Nile,” explained Al-Madani.

Blue Nile is an important state in the desert-like Sudan. The area is rich in livestock and agricultural resources and until last year, Blue Nile was the source of most of Sudan’s hydroelectric power through the Al Roseires Dam. But it is also very poor. “There are no services, no schools and no access to water even though it has a lot of resources,” Al- Madani told IPS.

Before the conflict, Blue Nile state was in the final phase of the popular consultations, which would have led to a decision on whether the state would call for a referendum to cede from Sudan. The popular consultations were delayed and the council responsible for carrying out the popular consultations wanted Agar to extend the period for another six months.

“Agar refused the proposal because he was not consulted before a decision was made to extend the timeframe. The protocol of the popular consultation states that the process should be finished before the secession (of South Sudan),” said Al-Madani.

However, the council that oversees the popular consultation process is made up of NCP and SPLM members and since both parties clashed on the matter, there was no one to meditate.

“The security arrangements, the collapse of the Addis Ababa agreement (an agreement on settling the security and military disputes and engaging in a political partnership) and the popular consultations… they are all reasons for the conflict. But the mistrust and suspicion between Agar and the government is the main ignition for the war. Nobody believes anybody,” said Al-Madani.

Mohamed (name has been changed), who has been working on a project to monitor the popular consultations in Blue Nile since August 2010, said that the conflict was partially predicted.

“When there is tension between parties that work together you can expect all kind of problems,” he told IPS.

He added that going back to the popular consultations is the only way out of this crisis. However, Al-Madani added that Agar had been democratically elected to his post as governor and his firing on Sep. 2 was against the constitution. “Since Agar was elected by the state through a vote, he could only be disposed of by the state and this is according to the constitution,” explained Al-Madani.

Meanwhile, government insists that the state is returning to normal. Abdulwahab stated in a phone interview that the only problematic area was Kurmuk, but that government had issued a call to the SPLM for peace in the state.

“The conflict will be resolved soon, through negotiations or the battlefield,” he told IPS.

Al-Madani, who has spent long periods of time in Blue Nile, believes that negotiations are the only way out.

“There is war in Darfur, in Southern Kordofan and now in Blue Nile. There will possibly be a conflict in East Sudan. We have been facing the same problems for the past 22 years. The government needs to come up with a political resolution, 95 percent of internal wars in the 21st century were resolved politically,” said Al-Madani.

On Sep. 12, the Sudanese parliament endorsed the extension of the state of emergency in Blue Nile and voted for the continuation of military action by the Sudanese army.

(END)

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=105144

South Sudan delays membership in regional bloc

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

By MACHEL AMOS Nation Correspondent in Juba
Posted  Saturday, September 17  2011 at  18:50

South Sudan may not be joining the East African Community (EAC) anytime soon, it has now emerged.

The EAC leadership has been waiting for Africa’s newest country to re-apply to join the regional bloc after becoming independent on July 9 and even went an extra mile to put on hold Khartoum’s application pending Juba’s acceptance.

Even though Juba is eager to sign on, a string of challenges associated with the country’s infancy have overshadowed the process.

The country is struggling to improve its fledgling economy that relies heavily on imports from Uganda and Kenya, raising fears that it could turn into a dumping ground for products from the two countries once it joins the regional bloc.

“Our economy is still weak, and for the time being we don’t have products for export,” Mr Lual, the chairperson of the country’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs and International Relations committee, said.

“But countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are ahead of us. Their products will flood our market,” he said.

But the new government, challenged by institutionalised corruption and ethnic rivalries, is struggling to provide basic services to a people who have waited for so long for them and whose expectations exceed the ability of the government to deliver.

“As people of Africa — and we consider the people of EAC as our brothers in Africa — I believe any decision our government is going to take will put the priority on our people getting benefits,” he said.

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/South+Sudan+delays+membership+in+regional+bloc++/-/1066/1238078/-/s3w8wbz/-/

Blue Nile falls over the edge

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Saturday, 17 September 2011 12:14 By Matthew Stein and Agencies

The region becomes the third centre of conflict in Sudan

It was only a matter of time until Sudan’s growing internal rebellion spilled over into Blue Nile state—the third border area to fall victim to intense conflict since South Sudan’s July 9 independence. For months mistrust and suspicions have plagued the relationship between Blue Nile’s elected Governor Malik Agar and the Sudanese government in Khartoum, culminating in Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s decision to declare a state of emergency and dismiss Agar from his post on September 2 and replace him with Yahia Mohammed Kheir, a local military ruler three days later.

Tensions in Blue Nile have also been exacerbated by the failure to hold “popular consultations” in the state over its future, as stipulated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and on account of its former governor also serving as the Chairman of the Sudan People Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a Blue Nile and South Kordofan–based political party that was outlawed by Sudan’s government on September 4.

The fact that Blue Nile borders South Sudan, Khartoum’s traditional enemy, and South Kordofan, the scene of a current rebellion, must have also played prominent roles in propelling the northern army into action.

Although some SPLM soldiers from the south have been involved in the most recent escalation, the government in South Sudan’s capital Juba maintains that they are not supporting rebels north of the border. Instead, it argues, that the rebellions have been engendered by Khartoum’s provocative marginalisation policies.

However, Sana Hamad al-Awad, the Sudanese minister of information recently stated that northern authorities had seized documents proving that the salaries of 20,000 SPLA fighters in Blue Nile are being paid by the Juba government.

Since September 2, there have been repeated clashes between the northern army and forces loyal to Agar, principally in Damazin, the state capital. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that fighting, including air strikes has been present in eight locations, however Kheir has claimed that the situation has been “very calm” since Agar’s forces were reportedly driven from the area.

The UN says fighting in Blue Nile has prompted at least 50,000 civilians, “and possibly many more,” to flee their homes, including 20,000 people who crossed into Ethiopia from Kurmuk, Geissan and Menza. The commissioner of Bau locality in Blue Nile, Babikir Mohammed Osman, has also said that more than half of the 175,000 people living in his area were on the move because of the fighting, many of them SPLM supporters who feared retaliation.

“This is the most disastrous thing the state has witnessed, even during the civil war,” he said. “During the civil war, no displacement took place in Damazin town. Now almost all the people of Damazin have left.”

The events in Blue Nile have been strongly criticised by top officials such as Princeton Lyman, the US envoy to Sudan, and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who has warned about its potential to further destabilise the region.

“These clashes represent a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Southern Kordofan,” said Ashton, “amidst reports of serious human rights violations and continuing lack of humanitarian access.”

Aid agencies have also been complaining that gaining access to Blue Nile has proved problematic on account of Khartoum’s actions: “[We] have requested permission from the government to travel to Sennar (the neighbouring state) and to secure parts of northern Blue Nile state to assess the situation and assist in addressing humanitarian needs,” said OCHA in a recent  report.”But they have so far been denied access to do so,” it said, adding that, as in nearby South Kordofan, where a similar three-month-old conflict is still raging, the government has insisted that aid be provided through national partners such as the Sudanese Red Crescent.

As of now, both sides have been taking turns claiming that they are in control of the situation. On September 8, Agar told reporters from Kurmuk, located near South Sudan’s border, that his group controls 80 percent of the Blue Nile, except al-Damazin and al-Roseris in the northern part of the state.

However, Kheir dismissed Agar’s statements saying it is Sudan’s military that controls 80 percent of the state.

http://www.independent.co.ug/rwanda-ed/sudan/4624-blue-nile-falls-over-the-edge

TSSC PanAfrican Festival Event, Sep. 24

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Free to Attend!

Food – Fun – Parade – Live Music & Performances (Yaba Angelosi, Choir, Etc.)

This is an outdoor event to attract the vibrant and active community in the Downtown Silver Spring-Ellsworth Street restaurant corridor. The festival will include live cultural performances by country representative groups, live performances by African artists, arts & craft exhibits, and a taste of exotic African cuisine.

When:
Saturday, September 24, 2011
1PM – 10-PM
1:30 – Registration
2:30PM – Parade Begins
4PM – Festival Begins on Main Stage

Where:
Silver Spring Civic Center
1 Veterans Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Thanks,
Reec Akuak
Treasurer

Regards,
The Southern Sudanese Community
Advocating — Mentoring — Nurturing

202.656.TSSC (8772)
Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009
Fax: 202.280.1007

R.Akuak@TSSC.us
http://www.TSSC.us

South Sudan Job Vacancy:

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Please directly contact the employer if you have any questions.

To anyone of interest, please circulate the following job vacancies:

CRS South Sudan Multiple Positions.pdf

South Sudan Job Vacancy:

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Jobs

Please directly contact the employer if you have any questions.

To anyone of interest, please circulate the following job vacancies:

Assistant Program Initiative Manager Advert.docx
Budget Officer JUBA.PDF
Enviromental Health Officer MALUALKON.PDF
Community Mobilization Hygiene Promotion Officer MALUALKON.PDF
WASH COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER..pdf
WASH TECHNICIAN.PDF

Japan plans to send engineers to South Sudan

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

TOKYO — Japan plans to send a 300-strong military engineering team to South Sudan as part of a UN mission to help the African nation build badly needed infrastructure, a report said Saturday.

The government plans to send a preliminary fact-finding mission to South Sudan as early as this month, the Yomiuri Shimbun quoted anonymous government sources as saying.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is to visit New York to attend a meeting of the UN General Assembly this month in his first foreign trip since taking office.

Noda is considering announcing the dispatch plan when he meets UN chief Ban Ki-moon there, the mass-circulation daily said.

Japan plans to send about 300 personnel from the Ground Self-Defense Force engineering unit to the African country to help repair or build roads, bridges and other infrastructure, it said.

During a visit to Japan last month, Ban asked Japan to consider the mission.

South Sudan proclaimed independence from Sudan, Africa’s largest nation, on July 9, when it became the world’s newest country.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gnxJWZhAsvpMosKFmwVARLdunewA?docId=CNG.79d23623538adc9507ec3c37e5062f1b.411

Govt plans to send GSDF to S. Sudan / Engineers to repair roads, bridges

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government plans to send an engineering unit of the Ground Self-Defense Force to South Sudan to help build infrastructure as part of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the new African country, government sources have revealed.

Consideration of the specifics of GSDF activities in South Sudan is already under way, and plans are being drawn up to dispatch a fact-finding team there by the end of the month, the sources said Friday.

Preparations are being made for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to announce Japan’s readiness to send GSDF members to South Sudan in his scheduled address at the U.N. General Assembly and during talks with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Noda’s trip to the United States starting Tuesday, they said.

The engineering unit will likely comprise about 300 members, according to the sources. They will help improve that country’s infrastructure, including building and repairing roads and bridges.

The unit could be sent to South Sudan as early as within this year, according to the sources.

If the dispatch is realized, it would be the second time for Japan to participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations under a Democratic Party of Japan-led administration, following the ongoing Self-Defense Forces relief operations in earthquake-struck Haiti that began in February 2010.

===

Ravaged by civil war

South Sudan separated and became independent from Sudan on July 9 this year, but years of civil war have severely damaged the country.

During a meeting with then Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Aug. 8, Ban strongly urged Japan to send a GSDF engineering unit to the war-ravaged country.

At that time, however, the SDF was busy with rescue and relief efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake, and Kan’s grip on power was precarious.

In addition, security conditions in the newly born African country were shrouded in uncertainty.

Predominant opinion in the Defense Ministry opposed sending SDF members to South Sudan. As a result, the government only confirmed plans to send a fact-finding team to that country in early September to examine the security situation in and around South Sudan’s new capital of Ramciel, in preparation for possibly sending SDF command personnel there.

By Sept. 9, the SDF had withdrawn from March 11 disaster-hit regions, except for Fukushima Prefecture, and became more flexible in the deployment of its personnel.

The United Nations also reported that security conditions in South Sudan had largely stabilized, the sources said.

The government has therefore decided that sending SDF members to South Sudan at this stage will not violate the country’s five principles governing participation in U.N.-sponsored peacekeeping activities, which include the strict political neutrality of SDF troops.

===

Repaying the world

Some within the government feel the prime minister should use his visit to the United States as his diplomatic debut, and show Japan’s readiness to repay the world for its assistance in the wake of the March earthquake and tsunami disaster.

A final government decision on whether to send a GSDF engineering unit to South Sudan will be made by studying the reports of the fact-finding team, the sources said.

One government source stressed that sending SDF personnel to South Sudan will “provide an excellent chance to demonstrate Japan’s presence in the international community.”

Following the March 11 disaster and the decline in Japan’s economic strength, the country has been seen as internally oriented, the source said.

Also behind the idea of sending SDF peacekeeping personnel to South Sudan is Japan’s hope to obtain support from African countries in securing natural resources and its bid to receive a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, the sources said.

Sending SDF members will help boost Japan’s ties with countries in Africa, where China has been rapidly expanding its influence, they said.

(Sep. 18, 2011)

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110917002881.htm

U.S. seeks path back to South Sudan oil market

Posted: September 17, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The United States is drawing up new guidelines to permit U.S. oil companies to operate in South Sudan without running afoul of U.S. sanctions that apply to Khartoum, a U.S. official said on Friday.

Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special representative for Sudan, said the Treasury Department would soon clarify how companies may apply for U.S. licenses to enter the oil business, saying it was a priority for the U.S. government and for South Sudan.

"I’m sure we’re going to open that door, but the rules of the game are still being worked out and that is very frustrating to the South because they want American oil companies there," Lyman told a trade briefing in Washington.

"There is a task force working on it and they will, God willing, have something soon."

The United States imposed a series of sanctions on Sudan in 1997, accusing the government of human rights abuses and supporting terrorism, and tightened the restrictions further in 2006 over the separate conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

When South Sudan declared independence from the north in July, the United States said it was no longer covered by the existing sanctions regime.

But since the two countries’ oil industries are so interconnected, it has been impossible for U.S. oil companies to get a piece of the market now dominated by Chinese, Indian and Malaysian companies.

Sanctions drove out Chevron Corp , Marathon Oil Corp and other Western companies, but industry sources say many are keeping their options open about reviving investments in the oil-rich African country. China National Petroleum Corp, Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp are among the oil firms now operating in South Sudan.

Lyman said the United States could not quickly remove the sanctions, which would require congressional approval.

But he said the Treasury Department would define new criteria for licensing oil deals that would provide only "incidental" benefits to the North, making some deals with South Sudan possible.

OIL AND OTHER DISPUTES

The South took 75 percent of the country’s 500,000 barrels a day of oil production but depends on the North to use its pipeline, port and refineries to sell oil. Experts say southern plans to connect to a pipeline in Kenya are years away.

Both sides have been unable to agree yet on how to divide oil revenues that are the lifeblood for both economies, one of a series of outstanding disputes that cloud their relationship despite the South’s peaceful secession.

Khartoum has voiced disappointment the United States has not moved on pledges to drop sanctions against it as a reward for allowing the secession to take place.

But Lyman said no U.S. move would be possible until the outstanding issues are resolved and violence stops in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, two border states where fighting broke out between Khartoum’s troops and rebels aligned with South Sudan.

Lyman said U.S. companies could provide valuable know-how and improved technologies to South Sudan’s oil sector to extend the life of wells that some experts say risk sharp production declines within the next five years.

But he warned that U.S. interest in South Sudan’s oil opportunities was tempered by serious concerns over corruption and transparency, saying the new leaders in Juba had yet to act on pledges to put monitoring institutions in place.

"If they don’t meet that challenge, its going to be a big problem for everybody," Lyman said.

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http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFS1E78F1DV20110916?sp=true