Archive for December 14, 2011

The International Engagement Conference on South Sudan
Washington D.C
14th December 2011
Your Excellency, Secretary Hilary Clinton, our co-host,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Friends of South Sudan, the people of the United States of America, and the organizing Committee members;
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of my Government, and the people of South Sudan, I would like to convey our sincere gratitude to the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Turkey for convening this conference for raising the profile of the Republic of South Sudan. Allow me also to thank the Secretary of State, Madam Hilary Clinton, for her personal participation and continuous support for South Sudan.
Thank you, the Ambassadors from various partner countries; your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you to the Chief Executives of many international companies for taking time out to attend this conference today.  I look forward to hearing more from you and seeing you in South Sudan.
Today, along with my colleagues from the Cabinet of the Republic of South Sudan, we would like to share with you our vision for the Development of the Republic of South Sudan.  It is a dream of our people, the aspirations of a young nation and manifest audacity of a vision across a land that has endured under the cruel heel of war.  But before that, I wish to highlight the milestones in South Sudan’s long walk to freedom.   I want to tell you something of my country and my country’s history.  I believe that it is extremely important that we know where we have come from, in order to understand the challenges we face today and where we are going.   It is from this point that we must acknowledge, we are building on our history, and are only at the beginning of the long, winding and challenging road of development.
The Republic of South Sudan was born out of the ruins of war, getting its freedom from the fires of persecution.  You will all recall that war first broke out in the Sudan just before its independence in 1956.  Since then till the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, in which the international community, including the Troika played a great role, the people of South Sudan knew nothing other than war.  They fought to free themselves from repression, exploitation and discrimination although we still have people under slavery. Now that we are a free people allow me to invite you all to work with us, as part of our community to build a stronger, united and secured South Sudan.
During this period of war we did not benefit from investment in education, health or infrastructure in the same way our neighbour in the north did.  It is therefore our dream that we establish a prosperous nation; productive, tolerant, democratic, secure and peaceful. I do know that we are emerging as a Country at a time when the world is becoming a global village, characterised by a phenomenal rate of development enhanced by cooperation and fanned by stiff competition among nations.  This requires that we adapt and respond to challenges of being part of the global society.  Therefore we must be guided by a clearly articulated vision, which takes, into account the need for infrastructure that provides the necessary access and an environment where investment can flourish, investors would not be afraid and the people of South Sudan developed.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
With fifty years of struggle for self-determination and national identity and with the attainment of independence, the people of South Sudan have defined the type of nation they would like be. It is their dream and my dream and vision too.  This vision guides the strategic thinking and our policy making process.  It takes into account our long walk to freedom and the anticipated challenges of being part of a global village.  Our vision is guided by the principles and values of Democracy and Political Pluralism.
Values of participatory democracy where inclusiveness to address issues of our ethnic diversity, devolution of power through decentralization and, self-governance are clearly spelled out. This is our vision 2040.  Supremacy of the rule of law and separation of powers, respect for Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, justice and equality, accountability and transparency are central to this Vision.  We can have a well written and thought out dreams, but if we do not practically improve our Governance systems this dream is as good as not being there.  We are strengthening the institutions of government based on the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency.  We know that good governance is not something that we can achieve overnight, but though it takes time we have to start.  It requires that we build government institutions, while delivering services, and focus on improving processes as part of fighting corruption.   We therefore call for your patience and ask that you walk with us on this path as we strengthen our governance.
In line with this commitment, my Minister of Finance will further outline our plans for delivering a more transparent, accountable, efficient and effective Government when he addresses you later today.
Good Governance is a priority of my Government in order for us to achieve the development that the people of South Sudan longed and fought for. We have now passed the Financial Management and Accountability act. These laws will strengthen the process of accountability and ensure transparency in the management of our resources. Furthermore, I have issued a decree that all senior government officials should declare their resources by the end of January 2012; in absence of which they will be investigated. We are also considering obtaining membership in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
As part of strengthening governance we shall also ensure that the environment is safe and secure for development and investment to take place.
We are engaged in disarmament to remove weapons from the hands of those unauthorised and carrying out community peace and reconciliation meetings among the various conflicting ethnic groups, in particular those in Lakes, Unity, Jonglei and Warrap States.  As this important project is being implemented, our neighbour the Republic of Sudan has been violating our air space bombing villages including refugee camps.  Most recently, they attacked and occupied Jau, a village in Unity State in the sovereign territory of South Sudan.
We have reported this to the United Nations and it is our hope that the UN will help us find a lasting solution to this aggression from Sudan.   It is our strong desire that the International Community seeks means and ways of making appropriate interventions so that potential flashpoints for renewed armed conflict between the Republic of Sudan and us are extinguished.
The final political status of Abyei should and must be resolved on the basis of the free will of the people of Abyei, in keeping with the spirit of CPA.  It cannot be resolved by military force as Khartoum had attempted last May.  Ownership of the disputed border areas must be determined on the basis of the 1.1.1956 borderline as agreed to by the parties under the CPA and not through the logic of force.
Madam Secretary, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Infrastructure is at the heart of our development plan.  Together with our development partners, we will invest in roads and bridges, and in river transport.  Without roads our desire for prosperity will be difficult to achieve, as we shall remain unconnected in various parts of our vast country. In building the necessary infrastructure the Government will take the lead, supporting the provision of these important public goods.
The Government will inevitably play a crucial role in driving growth for some time in South Sudan. At this juncture the Development Plan focuses on using government expenditure to lay the foundation for generating and increasing private sector activity, focusing on Dr John Garang’s vision of “taking towns to the people”.
With your support, ideas and funds we will be able to grow faster to build more roads and begin to create real economic growth, based upon goods produced in South Sudan.
We also aim to use new information technologies to “leapfrog” into the 21st century.
To this effect I would like to encourage all who are on the forefront of developing and utilizing new information technologies to come to South Sudan and assist us in becoming an “Information and communications technology” hub in the region.
We have witnessed with great enthusiasm the impact ICT has had in a country like Rwanda. We want to encourage the private sector that you are indeed “welcome “to come and assist us in developing this sector.
Another major sector, which contributes towards our economy and indeed our development, is the Oil, Gas and Minerals sector.  You all know that South Sudan produces oil.  The oil in our country was first discovered by Chevron, an American oil company.  But thereafter because of war and later the sanctions, American companies could no longer be engaged in the development of the oil or any other business.
I seize this opportunity to thank the American government, Madam Secretary, for exempting South Sudan from these Sanctions. The U.S. government has modified its licensing policy to allow U.S. investment in South Sudan oil sector.
I want to invite you today, to come with me to South Sudan after this conference to help develop our potential in oil, gas and mineral resources.  My Ministers of Investment and Petroleum will tell you in details the opportunities we have in these sectors.  It is my belief that at the end of this conference we will have developed and agreed ways of addressing the challenges that might be associated with the opportunities we have.
Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen
In the short term we are seeking the support of other countries, especially our regional neighbours, to build and strengthen our civil service, to ensure that the Government, both the National and the States have the capacity to deliver the services that the population requires.
I look forward to the day when I no longer have to discuss conflict prevention, peace and security.  Unfortunately, that day is not yet here, however, it is coming.
When it comes, we aspire to be a nation that is educated and informed; prosperous, productive and innovative; compassionate and tolerant; free, just and peaceful; democratic and accountable; safe, secure and healthy; united and proud.  A nation, which can be, viewed as an “island of stability”, one that contributes to regional and global peace and stability.
South Sudan recently committed itself to implementing the “New Deal” for development effectiveness. The “New Deal” on international engagement in fragile states, focuses on international assistance as a support to the processes of peace and state building.
This means strengthening the institutional capacity of government, delivering jobs for our people and providing access to justice for all.   We need a new partnership between our countries and our partners across the diplomatic, security and development communities. As part of this “New Deal” South Sudan will continue to be an active participant of the g7+ grouping of fragile and post-conflict affected States.  We will work together with all of you, and our peers to ensure that the development assistance provided, builds our capacity as a government, rather than undermining it.
We are looking to you, our development partners, to work with us to make sure that aid strengthens our systems.  Most critically, we need to make sure that the government of the Republic of South Sudan is in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing the support offered to the Government.
To conclude, let me restate my points:
First, we have come from fifty years of conflict, marginalisation and war.  Our history has created countless roadblocks and challenges that we must overcome.
Second, in building on our past, we have a road map for the development of our country, based upon an inclusive national vision anchored on Democracy and good governance.
Finally, we recognise that we must deal with our security challenges. We are working on resolving these issues, but it will take time.  None of these problems is intractable, but they must be dealt with methodically and carefully to ensure a lasting peace.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite potential investors, who are willing to take on these challenges together with us to come to South Sudan.
I look forward to receiving your recommendations and resolution, views and suggestions for the way forward and wishing you the best as you deliberate on the issues on the agenda.
The International Engagement Conference on South Sudan is declared open.
Thank you, God Bless you all!

Report: President Kiir of South Sudan to visit Israel

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The president of South Sudan Salva Kir is scheduled to pay a visit to Israel in the coming weeks, the Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv said Tuesday.

The relationship between Israel and the newly independent country has being progressing well, Maariv said

US hopes to draw investment into South Sudan

The United States will host a two-day conference on South Sudan starting on Wednesday in Washington, in the hope of drawing private investment into the newest nation on earth, US officials said on Tuesday.

Rajiv Shah, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, said the International Engagement Conference on South Sudan offers an opportunity for the South Sudan government to lay out its vision for economic development and humanitarian assistance, seek “coordinated and effective partnership” from around the international community, and have a direct dialogue with the private sector both in the US and around the world to draw more investments into the country.
He told reporters that the World Bank, Britain, Norway, the European Union, the African Union and many of the regional partners will be present to “ensure that there’s effective coordination in our efforts in South Sudan.”
Princeton Lyman, the US special envoy for Sudan, expressed concern about security in South Sudan, saying the situation has been exacerbated by the fighting going on in Sudan’s southern states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Fighting in Southern Kordofan first erupted in early June between the Sudanese army and fighters aligned to the Sudan People ‘s Liberation Army, which became the regular army of South Sudan after its independence, and spilled over into nearby Blue Nile state three months later.
“Not that we think the two are going to go to war in that sense, but the conflict on the border, the clashes that take place, raise a lot of tension,” he said. “And they impact on the ability of the two to negotiate other issues in oil, Abyei, etc.”
According to Lyman, the government in Khartoum is wrong to say that the problem of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile arose because of possible military support from the south.
“That’s not the source of the problem,” he remarked. “The source is that political issues in those two states, which were to be resolved through processes of popular consultations and negotiations, have not been resolved.”
Under an agreement inked in 2005 that ended two decades of civil war between the two sides, South Sudan won independence from Sudan on July 9, but some thorny issues remain unresolved between them, including oil revenues and external debt sharing, border demarcation and the status of the oil-rich Abyei region.
As the youngest nation, South Sudan is among the poorest in the world, with a high maternal and child mortality rate, a high illiteracy rate, very limited infrastructure and an economy dependent on oil exports.

South Sudan: Will Oil Lead It Out Of Poverty?

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy


South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, is still trying to find its feet, and private companies, international aid experts and diplomats have gathered in Washington this week to see if they can help. The 5-month-old country is one of the most underdeveloped places in the world, and it still has many lingering disputes with its former rulers in Sudan — disputes that could scare off potential investors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kicked off the two-day International Engagement Conference for South Sudan by likening the new state to a tiny infant in need of intensive care.

She talked about the challenges facing a country that has few paved roads and little in the way of infrastructure. But, she said, one thing South Sudan does have going for it is potential oil wealth — and that needs to be well-managed. “South Sudan defied the odds simply by being born,” Clinton said. “We know that [the oil] will either help your country finance its own path out of poverty, or you will fall prey to the natural resource curse, which will enrich a small elite, outside interests, corporations and countries, and leave your people hardly better off than when you started.”

Clinton urged South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to look at Norway and Botswana as examples of countries with well-managed natural resources. Kiir told the audience that he is working on transparency rules and hopes for big investments. He pointed out that the American oil company Chevron was the first to discover oil in the region, but war and U.S. sanctions have kept American companies out.

Map Of Sudan And South Sudan
Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR

Will American Companies Invest? Now, Kiir said, the Obama administration is changing its licensing rules and making it possible for American energy companies to invest. Kiir told the crowd, “I want to invite you today to come with me to South Sudan after this conference to help develop our potential in oil, gas and mineral resources.” But he also appealed for patience, saying the challenges are great for a country born out of decades of war, and acknowledging ongoing tensions with Sudan. Sudan accuses South Sudan of arming rebels in two regions in the north, which South Sudan denies.

Princeton Lyman, U.S. envoy for both Sudans, has been keeping a close watch on the situation along the border. “It is a flashpoint,” Lyman says, “not that we think the two are going to go to war in that sense, but the conflict on the border [and] the clashes that take place raise a lot of tension, and they impact on the ability of the two to negotiate other issues.” And the two Sudans have many outstanding issues to negotiate. Lyman thinks the North should focus on those negotiations as well as on its own financial woes, having lost a lot of its oil wealth and territory to the South. “What we are saying is this is no time to go to war in three or four of the states of your country,” Lyman says. “It is important to get a negotiated solution to the oil sector with the South.”

The tensions between the two Sudans were high on everyone’s mind at the conference in Washington, even as South Sudan tried to encourage investors to bring their money and ideas to the world’s newest nation.

UN peacekeepers to remain on north-south Sudan border
Monsters and
New York – The UN Security Council on Wednesday extended by six months the peacekeeping mission in Abyei, the disputed border region between Sudan and the newly formed South Sudan. Peacekeepers will also assist both sides in measuring the exact

Testing Press Freedoms in South Sudan
PRI’s The World
By The World ⋅ December 14, 2011 ⋅ Post a comment By Benno Muchler, Pierre Fink It all began with the wedding of the daughter of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir. Instead of marrying within the Dinka tribe, the daughter chose a businessman from

South Sudan: EU announces priority support to agriculture and food security
Brussels– On the eve of the International Engagement Conference for South Sudan, which will take place in Washington on 14-15 December, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced that the European Commission will focus its aid on

Gombe SS beat South Sudan Handball team
New Vision
By Johnson Were in Juba South Sudan GOMBE secondary school has beaten South Sudan women’s handball team 24-17 at the country’s Juba commercial stadium on Wednesday. The match was meant to mark South Sudan celebration for finishing second to Ethiopia in

South Sudan set to showcase its foreign investment potential

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Washington conference offers forum for President Kiir to outline fledgling country’s development and investment priorities

Salva Kiir

Salva Kiir displays the new constitution at South Sudan’s independence ceremony in July. His next task is to woo foreign investors. Photograph: Andrew Burton/AP

Government leaders and investors are gathering in Washington DC on Wednesday for a two-day conference to discuss development and investment priorities in South Sudan, the latest in a succession of international trade conferences as the world’s newest country seeks to open itself up to foreign investments.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, World Bank president Robert Zoellick, Mo Ibrahim, and the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, are among those expected to speak at the gathering. The event will also be attended by officials from the UK, Norway, Turkey, the EU, the UN, the African Union, the International Finance Corporation, the Corporate Council on Africa, and dozens of government officials.

President Kiir is due to outline his development and investment priorities at the conference, aimed at wooing foreign firms.

Rajiv Shah, head of the US aid agency USAid, said the conference is an opportunity for the government of South Sudan to lay out its vision for the future of its economy. The event, he said, would allow for “direct dialogue and engagement with the private sector here in the United States and around the world” and will “help private companies and investors see the Republic of Southern Sudan as a place where they want to increase their investments, thereby enabling significant economic development and economic growth”.

Shah stressed the need for effective co-ordination between regional partners to help the country develop, adding that he “hopes that the private sector will be a major feature of the Southern Sudanese presentation and of our partnership with them”.

There has been a surge of investor interest in South Sudan since the country became formally independent in July this year. This week’s conference is the latest in a stream of events organised by the Government of South Sudan and foreign aid agencies to promote foreign investment in South Sudan.

It has been argued that South Sudan should move quickly to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil – a primary source of contention with Khartoum.

Last month, USAid supported the country’s first agricultural trade fair to showcase investment opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry. USAid will use this week’s conference to launch a $7m agricultural fund, in partnership with Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, which will be made available to South Sudanese farmers.

Britain’s international development minister, Stephen O’Brien, will represent the UK at the Washington meeting. The UK has been vocal in its support for the new country, pledging £89m in aid to South Sudan this year, an amount that will rise to £99m by 2014-15. The money will support education, poverty alleviation, governance and security projects.

Ahead of the meeting, O’Brien said: “Britain is committed to improving the lives of South Sudan’s poorest by providing hundreds of thousands of people with basic services such as education, healthcare and access to clean water.

“But the new country faces huge challenges and I am in Washington DC … to discuss how best to help South Sudan achieve a stable and prosperous future.”

The minister is chairing a panel session on accountability, transparency and governance and is “seeking commitments from South Sudan’s finance minister on how they will build an accountable, inclusive and transparent government”.

Norway’s development minister will lead a session on managing oil revenue, while USAid’s chief economist will run a session on attracting investors.

Dana Wilkins, from Global Witness, who is attending a session on managing the country’s oil revenue, said the NGO had been asked to provide recommendations for oil governance in South Sudan based on international best practice. She expressed concern that “despite strong commitments to publishing oil data and contracts, the role of oversight institutions like the audit chamber and parliament will continue to be overlooked by the government and donors. This would be a terrible omission and risk undermining the accountability of the entire sector.”

Some observers say judgement should be withheld until more information comes out about exactly what types of investment are being promoted.

Researchers at the California-based Oakland Institute, for example, are warning against large-scale foreign land investments that are promoted as development solutions for the new nation.

“Competition over land and natural resources was among the root causes of the civil war in South Sudan. The war has now ended, but land issues continue to plague the new nation,” said David Deng, author of a recent Oakland Institute report that looked at land deals in South Sudan covering an estimated 5.15m hectares.

“As South Sudan opens for business, foreign companies are flocking to invest in the new country and buy up land. For a school, a health centre, some vague promises of employment opportunities, or a couple of thousand dollars in annual lease payments, companies are given long-term leasehold rights of up to 99-years, often without the knowledge of the local populations living on the land.”

South Sudan set to showcase its foreign investment potential
The Guardian
Government leaders and investors are gathering in Washington DC on Wednesday for a two-day conference to discuss development and investment priorities in South Sudan, the latest in a succession of international trade conferences as the world’s newest

South Sudan: Engage women from the start
Now, on the eve of the first international meeting on the future of South Sudan, the women of South Sudan reiterate the need to integrate them fully in the planning and development process of the world community’s newest member.

SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN: Refugees stream into Upper Nile state
DORO, 14 December 2011 (IRIN) – At least 1000 refugees are arriving daily in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, fleeing conflict in Blue Nile state across the border, according to aid agencies. The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says more than 23000 people

South Sudan to Join East African Community
Joining a community like that of East Africa by a new country like South Sudan whose location is within the region sounds a good thing to the people of the South who had never experienced belonging to a regional or global union or association as it had

Lopez Lomong’s long road to diploma started in Sudan

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Education

By Mike Lopresti, Gannett

What can graduation mean to a college athlete? Let’s not ask the star who stops by briefly on the way to the NBA or the head case who bad-acts his way off campus or the occasional class attendee who drops out two hours after his final game. Let’s ask the distance runner from Northern Arizona University who had to flee for his life in Africa as a kid and eat meals in the street.

  • Lopez Lomong, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, will graduate from Northern Arizona on Friday and hopes to compete in London. His road from Sudan has been a long and winding one.

Lopez Lomong, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, will graduate from Northern Arizona on Friday and hopes to compete in London. His road from Sudan has been a long and winding one.

“This is a moment that comes once in a lifetime,” Lopez Lomong said over the phone about graduation day this Friday. “I stick to it. I cannot drop this baton, and I’m going all the way to the finish line.”

Lopez Lomong? The name might ring a bell.

He is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. First came his abduction from Mass one Sunday morning at the age of 6, by rebels who wanted to make him a child soldier in their civil war. Then his escape, as he outran men who wanted to kill him. Then 10 years in a refugee camp in Kenya, while his family, assuming him dead, held a ceremonial burial.

Then better days. His resettlement in the USA with a foster family in New York. His U.S. citizenship. His 2008 Olympic berth. And guess who carried the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony in Beijing? That’s the last time many of us saw him.

Three years later, he carries a standard still. The Northern Arizona faculty chose him to bear the flag and lead in the 250 College of Business and School of Hotel and Restaurant Management graduates at commencement.

What will he think come Friday, if he pauses to turn and look at the long road behind him?

“Not in a million years” would he have dreamed of this day, he said. “Living by myself at 6 years old, I never saw my childhood. I never had a book being read to me; I never had any Christmas. Basically, from 6 years old, I started living as an adult. When I was 14, I didn’t know there was a life for me. I was a kid eating from the garbage.”

Then he saw Michael Johnson win a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics on a small black-and-white TV and dreamed of another world. A year later, he was in New York, with his first backpack, his first pencil and more than one shirt to his name.

“I became a child again,” he said.

Now he’ll be a college graduate. It took one last semester from hell. He carried a load of 22 hours, knowing he needed to finish before the real work for London clicks in. He hopes to compete in the 1,500 meters. Not much downtime for this senior, but what’s that compared to getting chased by men with guns?

Lomong would be up at 6:30 in the morning, with 10 or 11 miles of running. Then he’d study enough to get a 3.5 grade-point average.

He was involved in clubs — vice president of one — because he never had anything like college life back in the refugee camp, so he was going to take advantage of everything.

Someone even got him playing golf, as if he hasn’t suffered enough. A bad slice and lost balls followed. “Maybe I will stick to running,” he said.

He has brought two brothers to America and settled them in school in Virginia. He has started a foundation to help promote unity in South Sudan. He has spoken to whatever school his sponsor, Nike, would send him to, spreading the word to American students on what a good deal they have.

“I want to tell the kids that in this country you can go to sleep and you know you’re going to wake up happy.” Or at least not kidnapped by rebels.

And he has dreamed of London, particularly the medal he missed in 2008. “The goal is to run straight, then left turn as fast as anybody else, and win the gold medal for this great country.”

But first, graduation, and he’s telling everybody it can be seen online. “There’ll be lots of tears of joy,” said the man who was once lost and has since been found. “I did it. I did it.”

Contributing: Mike Lopresti also writes for Gannett

Sudan vs. South Sudan: The Rising Risk of a New Confrontation

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

A worker lays out bags of grain at the Doro refugee camp in South Sudan, around 40 km from the border with Sudan, on Dec. 5, 2011

By Alan Boswell / Addis Ababa Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

The escalating confrontation between Sudan and the new republic of South Sudan is not for lack of communication: days of talks last month in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, saw negotiators from the shrunken, bitter rump Sudan and its youthfully overconfident breakaway neighbor huddle under the exasperated watch of former South African President Thabo Mbeki to try to strike a deal on oil. Several days and a flurry of warring PowerPoint presentations later, the talks collapsed with the parties still billions of dollars apart. Sudan announced it would start confiscating one-quarter of South Sudan’s oil as transit payment for the use of its pipeline. South Sudan decried that as “looting” and demanded international intervention. Negotiators from both sides left the opulent Sheraton Hotel and flew home. For a couple days, nothing much happened. Then, on Dec. 3 Sudan sent troops and captured a contested border area, where the two armies continue to spar.

“An act of war!” declared South Sudan’s army spokesman Philip Aguer. That may be an exaggeration right now, but soon it could be a matter of fact. The two sides have, of course, been at war on and off for more than a half century. For now, they seem content to wage an intensifying proxy war by backing rebel forces in each other’s territory, along with the occasional direct skirmishes here and there along the border. The one thing holding them back from full-blown hostilities is the same thing they’re currently at odds over: oil. Sudan faces a budget gap of over $7 billion over the next five years after South Sudan’s secession cut it off from most of its oil reserves. But South Sudan, at least for now, has no option for getting oil to market other than a pipeline that runs through its northern neighbor. The infant South Sudan’s economy is almost entirely dependent on oil revenues, while Sudan’s own economic peril requires that it earn whatever it can from the pipeline. (Read George Clooney’s viewpoint on famine as a weapon in Sudan.)

Stopping the oil flow is not an option, says Said al-Khatib, a senior member of Sudan’s negotiating team, “Otherwise, the pipeline is not an asset to us.” To exploit that asset — and, it seems, to exact some revenge — they are demanding a whopping $36-a-barrel fee for the oil transiting their territory. And with South Sudan refusing to pay that sum, Sudan says it will simply seize some of the oil instead.

No surprise, then, that tensions along the border are reaching alarming proportions. Sudan’s military says the frontier area of Jau it captured a week ago is inside its own territory; South Sudan blasted the move as an “invasion.” The truth, as usual, is muddled. On maps, Jau is in South Sudan, barely, but it is also where the South Sudanese army had billeted allied rebels from the Nuba Mountains across the border, drawn up under the 2005 peace deal. Those Nuba fighters are now back at war against Khartoum, and Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting their old comrades-in-arms — a charge diplomats say appears to be valid. Last January, with the South Sudan breakaway imminent, U.N. satellite photos showed Nuba rebels — then still part of the South Sudan army — hastily building a road back to their homeland in Sudan, along which those fighters stormed north months ago. By taking Jau, Sudan has cut off that link. The same road has also been used by fleeing refugees and appears to be the only route into the area for humanitarian aid — which Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has barred, using hunger as a weapon to supplement his forces’ aerial bombardment of the area’s villages. The same tactic is being employed in Blue Nile, another Sudanese border state in conflict since Sudan’s divorce.

The border wars are increasingly spilling into South Sudan. Khartoum blocked trade across the border months ago, and in November Sudanese planes bombed several areas inside South Sudan, including refugee camps that Khartoum says are used for rebel recruitment. Meanwhile, South Sudanese militias with apparent links to Khartoum and Eritrea continue to wreak havoc in South Sudan. (Watch TIME’s video on villagers caught in Sudan’s ongoing battles.)

With negotiations going nowhere, both sides may be tempted to seek regime change across the border, but there’s little that either side can do to achieve that goal, and plenty of scope for self-inflicted wounds. As Norway’s special envoy to the conflict, Endre Stiansen, says about South Sudanese leaders hoping to topple al-Bashir’s regime through war and economic suffocation: “I don’t think these people are reasonable, and I don’t think they are smart.”

South Sudan’s independence has not changed the reality that it can’t live with Khartoum but can’t live without it either. The body language in Addis Ababa revealed what can’t be contained in official statements. Outside of the negotiating rooms, there was no small talk, contact or acknowledgement of any sort between members of the Sudanese and South Sudanese delegations, even when standing just yards apart. It was like observing a family reunion in the middle of an ugly inheritance brawl. “We are not their dogs anymore,” Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s garrulous chief negotiator, told TIME during a recess in the negotiations.

With both sides holding out for a win-lose outcome, representatives of the international community keep reiterating the message that either they muddle through this together or go down together in a wave of bloodshed. It’s the lose-lose scenario that’s most on the minds of diplomats engaged on the issue these days. As one such frustrated official confided after the most recent talks collapsed, the problem is not simply the issues but: “The problem is how they view each other.”
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* Oil majors interested as U.S. eases sanctions

* Agriculture sector in focus as potential winner

* Conflict, disputes shadow development hopes

By Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) – South Sudan makes its debut for western oil companies, aid organizations and agribusiness this week at a U.S.-backed conference aimed at setting Africa’s newest country on the path to economic development after decades of poverty and conflict.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir will lead the official delegation to the Washington meeting, which comes just days after the U.S. Treasury eased sanctions to permit foreign investment in the country’s oil sector.

Kiir will address the conference on Wednesday and is expected to lay out his plans to regulate investments, organize public finances and boost the transparency of oil revenue management to entice western oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

“We’re seeing a strong outpouring of interest amongst investment partners in the private sector in their oil economy,” said Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the chief sponsor of the conference.

“I expect you will see significant private investment in the sector, which is why it is important that South Sudan abide by international norms around transparency and makes sure that the proceeds of those investments are invested back to improve the lives of the people,” Shah told Reuters in an interview.

The two-day Washington meeting, which will also be addressed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, represents the Obama administration’s effort to jump-start the economy of South Sudan after its independence from Khartoum in July.

South Sudan accounts for around 75 percent of the formerly united country’s 500,000 barrels per day of oil output. Oil revenues could make it one of the wealthiest countries in the region – at least on paper.

But South Sudan and Sudan still face disputes over sharing oil revenues and ending fighting in a border region, keeping tensions high between the two neighbors which fought a civil war for decades before agreeing to a peace deal in 2005.


An influx of adventurous entrepreneurs has helped fuel a small business boom in South Sudan, which remains desperately poor and in need of almost everything from bridges and banks to office furniture and private security..

Roughly the size of France, South Sudan has just about 100 km (60 miles) of paved roads. Hospitals and schools are still scarce. Oil accounts for some 98 percent of government revenues.

Stephen Hayes, the head of the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa, a business association, said companies were interested in South Sudan but realistic about the prospects for operating in one of the least developed regions in the world.

“The positive thing is the amount of attention that it is getting from other countries. There is a lot going into it to make it work,” Hayes said, adding that winning contracts for development projects would be the first order of business for most companies.

Among those due to participate in the Washington conference are Marathon Oil, Halliburton Co and Google , organizers said.

The three guarantors of Sudan’s 2005 peace deal – the United States, Britain and Norway – have each agreed to pilot assistance in specific sectors of the economy.

Britain will help South Sudan improve public management and anti-corruption efforts; oil-rich Norway will help develop governance of the oil sector; and the United States will lead on encouraging private sector investment and boosting agriculture – seen as one of the country’s most promising sectors.

Shah said improved inputs such as hybrid seeds for maize and more nutritious varieties of sweet potatoes could boost farmer output by as much as 300 percent, securing South Sudan’s own food supplies and opening the possibility of future food exports in a region plagued by recurring famine.

Despite the potential, South Sudan remains shadowed by its northern neighbor Sudan, which remains subject to U.S. sanctions and has seen its own economy nosedive after the South’s secession.

Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy who helped shepherd South Sudan to independence after a referendum last January, said the international community would keep up pressure on both sides to resolve disputes, including over oil revenues.

But he said the conflict in border areas including Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where there have been allegations of human rights abuses, made it unlikely that Khartoum would soon get the economic help it needed – throwing a question mark over efforts to stabilize the broader region.

“What we have been saying to them is you’ve got to get back to resolving these conflicts at the negotiating table so people can turn to the economic situation,” Lyman told Reuters.

“Unfortunately I think there are people in the regime who are taking a very military approach to these conflicts.” (Reporting By Andrew Quinn; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Violence at home Eclipses South Sudan Investment Conference in Washington DC

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Violence Eclipses South Sudan Aid Meeting
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SPLM-DC USA Secretariat’s Press Release

Posted: December 14, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change [SPM-DC]

-U.S.A Secretariat

Department of Information & Press Team

8116 Arlington, Blvd. # 350, Falls church, VA 22042-1002

Tel: 202 361 6971

SPLM-DC Executive Office, U.S.A.

December 13, 2011

In honoring the new nation the Republic of South Sudan, the United States and International Engagement Conference for South Sudan is expected to kick off on December 14-15 in Washington, D.C where the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and a high level delegation is expected to attend, participate, and deliberate on an open-up dialogue on Development and Investment opportunities for South Sudan.

The SPLM-DC, Secretariat in the U.S. welcomes the theme of the conference “An Open Dialogue with the Government of South Sudan on Development and Investment” with hope that it will effect change and improve standard of living of our citizen.

Since the focus of the conference is development and investment conference, the president should be remaindered that development start at home by enacting   right laws and creating a conducive environment in building nationhood and not one-party-show.

The SPLM-DC Office in Washington D.C. as the largest opposition party in the Republic of South will be keen to listen to the president’s plan and raise all genuine concern when opportunity avails itself. We would be happy to hear the preview on Development and Investment priorities and strategy, which the president and the delegation plan to, do, present and market to the U.S. and the international counterparts.

As the voice of the voiceless, the SPLM-DC would want to bring the following concerns to the   president’s attention:

1.     Lately, about 50 people were slaughtered in Jonglei state as a result of the on-going so-called rustling, but for how long will this violence continue and do the president developmental plan include working together with all parties in South Sudan to bring an end to this serious issue that impede the development. We urge the president to come up with a national peaceful plan to end the rebellion in South Sudan.

2.     A serious developmental plan must include transformation of the SPLA into a national army. With the continuous rebellion in South Sudan the escalating conflict between Sudan and South Sudan the need is paramount to de-SPLMIZATION of the army so that its top echelon will focus on a national agenda and protecting the national interest of the nation.

3.     SPLM, as a ruling party in the Republic of South Sudan, must include the official opposition party, the SPLM-DC, in the negotiation of post-CPA issues.

4.     We urge the Republic of South Sudan to enacts all the international treaties Human Rights treaties that will help South Sudan develop into a country that respect the rule of Law but we want to caution the president to have a carefully study and openly engage SPLM-DC in the debate on when is the right time to join the East Africa Community (EAC)? All the emotional aroma and the unscientific talk over joining East Africa Community will have serious economic effects.

5.     We hope that the president and his team will benefit from this conference and seriously realign is his development priorities especial in regard the unnecessary plan to relocate the capital to Ramciel.

Mr. President we wish you a very interactive and productive conference and encourage you to develop  a peace plan to end the rebellion in South Sudan, transform the army into a nation army, combat corruption and above all remember that the nation building and the development to a post war nation require inclusiveness. We wish that the conference will bring good tidings and usher an early Christmas to the people of South Sudan

Merry first Christmas,

From the SPLM-DC/USA Secretariat

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