Posts Tagged ‘conflict in sudan’

President Kiir joins the other African heads of state and governments as they pose for a photo in front of the new AU headquarters.
[Photo: Thomas Kenneth]

Speech delivered by President Salva Kiir Mayardit at the 18th AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the people of South Sudan, allow me to express to all the member states of African Union our gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to the Republic of South Sudan upon our admission into this noble and prestigious organization.  We are truly honored to join you as a sovereign state and look forward to fully engaging in this forum.

The people of South Sudan will long remember the African Union and particularly IGAD for facilitating the resolution of the decades-long conflict in Sudan along with many of our international friends.  Without your invaluable support and guidance, peace may have taken longer to achieve.

Your Excellencies,

On the current oil crisis in our country and in response to the statement just issued, I would like to clarify the position of my government. The ongoing negotiations between the Government of South Sudan and the Government of Sudan – which we continue to be involved in – have been critical for both nations.  We believe that true negotiations must be based on the following two principles:

The principle of peaceful coexistence of South Sudan and our neighbor, Sudan.  This stability will also strengthen the overall stability of the region in particular and the continent at large.

Secondly, the principal of reasonable and fair commercial engagement that ensures the economic viability of both states, in a manner that is respectful and agreeable to both nations.

Your Excellencies,

We reached this current crisis for several reasons.  Most significant was Khartoum’s unilateral decision to enact a bill to levy a fee of 32.2 dollars per barrel to the South Sudan oil that passes through their territory.   While negotiations were taking place to determine a fair fee, Khartoum began diverting and confiscating our oil by force.

We acknowledge that most of the oil infrastructure lies on the territory of Sudan, however the oil clearly belongs to South Sudan.  This unilateral decision to take our crude entitlements is unmistakably a violation of the sovereignty of South Sudan and must be condemned.

This act was implemented despite the fact that the oil operating companies have repeatedly explained that the Republic of South Sudan has been and is paying transit fees to Sudan.

We have no objection to paying Khartoum for the use of their infrastructure, however it must be a mutually agreeable price and to date we have NOT agreed on their proposed price of 32.2 dollars per barrel, nor do we have any intention to accept that price.

It is completely out of international norms and it is a precedence that we will not set.

Since they began their campaign of recovering funds that they unilaterally decided to levy against South Sudan, they have prevented ships from leaving Port Sudan.  They have prevented other ships from docking to collect their purchases.

They have completed constructing a tie-in pipeline designed to permanently divert almost 75% of our daily entitlements.

On Sunday, our offices in Port Sudan confirmed that documents have been processed to allow two detained ships to sail.  The reason for this development is an attempt to coerce us into signing the cover agreement presented by the AUHIP.

To date, the loss of revenue to the Republic of South Sudan amounts to almost 850 million dollars.  These funds are critical to the security and welfare of the citizens of South Sudan and must be recovered.

Your Excellencies,

At the initial phase of this crisis, I immediately informed regional leaders of the developing situation.  We sought advice and exhausted all possibilities to resolve this situation, including our continued involvement with AUHIP negotiations.  Finally, we concluded that due to the fact that we can no longer guarantee that our oil will reach its intended destination, we cannot allow oil production to continue.

At this time, the oil will remain in its natural place- the ground- until the situation is amicably resolved.

Your Excellencies,

We were unable to sign the cover agreement presented by the AUHIP on Friday for several reasons:

The transitional financial provisions were not in line with what we anticipated.

The agreement excluded the concepts of peaceful coexistence and mutual viability for both states.

In general, the proposed agreement was vague on several issues.  Meanwhile, it tied the Republic of South Sudan to urgently provide cash and oil to the Government of Sudan without first addressing the issues that made us reach this point.

In order to move forward, we would like the AU to understand that we stand ready to contribute to the financial physical gap being experienced by the Government of Sudan only within bearable costs limits.  This august house is well aware that we are the youngest nation on earth and that development is limited. Whatever limited resources we have must be dedicated to developing South Sudan.
We must be guaranteed swift and peaceful resolutions to the outstanding CPA issues including Abyei and the borders. The Abyei issue was resolved by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.  That decision needs to be respected and implemented.  In addition, the borders have been agreed upon (80%) and it must be demarcated immediately.

We suggest that all outstanding arrears and claims between the parties should be settled through an independent transparent committee, that would be comprised of three members.  Both Sudan and South Sudan would be able nominate a committee member who is not of either nationality.

The third member would be nominated by the African Union. This committee would audit and ensure that payments are transparently made.

In conclusion, the Government of Sudan must continue to make concessions as evidence of good faith and no hidden agenda.  Only at that time, will we be able to negotiate reasonably and hopefully end this stalemate.

Thank you.

Monday, January 09, 2012 
“South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, and the influx of refugees is placing enormous strain on already scarce resources.” Fran Equiza, Oxfam’s Regional Director in Horn, East and Central Africa
Boston, MA – infoZine – Six months since South Sudan’s independence, the world’s newest nation is struggling to cope with a major refugee crisis and massive internal displacement, international agency Oxfam said today.Tens of thousands of people have fled violence in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan across the border in Sudan, and an estimated 60,000 people have also reportedly been affected by last week’s fighting in the South Sudan state of Jonglei.

Over 55,000 refugees have arrived in Upper Nile state in South Sudan in recent months, fleeing conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile region. More people continue to arrive and are sheltering in newly established refugee camps where food and other essential services are in short supply. Oxfam is boosting its water and sanitation work for 25,000 of the new arrivals.

The worsening conflict along the border between Sudan and South Sudan has led to growing fears of a major food crisis, as insecurity has restricted local agriculture and limited aid and market supplies. Parts of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile are expected to reach emergency levels in early 2012, with early warning systems predicting that food insecurity will reach Phase 4 of 5 – one step below famine levels. Such a crisis is likely to force more refugees into South Sudan, Oxfam said. Around 20,000 people have already fled Southern Kordofan, and thousands more are displaced within the region. Due to conflict and insecurity, many of the rural areas on both sides of the new border remain inaccessible to humanitarian organisations.

“It is six months since South Sudan’s independence and there is much we should be celebrating. But the growing crisis along the border threatens to derail any progress. South Sudan is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world, and the influx of refugees is placing enormous strain on already scarce resources,” said Fran Equiza, Oxfam’s Regional Director.

Oxfam called on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and ensure humanitarian aid can reach all people in need.

Egypt’s own instability worsens its blow from creation of South Sudan
By   Brett Borkan / Daily News Egypt August 2, 2011, 3:39 pm
CAIRO: The negative repercussions, longed feared by Egypt if South Sudan became an independent state, are likely to worsen due to Egypt’s current political and economic turmoil.For Egypt, the recent creation of the world’s newest state represents the coming to fruition of one of its greatest strategic fears: A rebalancing of the geopolitical landscape along the Nile River Basin, and a potential stimulus towards further conflict in Sudan and other parts of the region, all of which would have a detrimental affect on Egypt.

“The secession of South Sudan negatively affects Egypt. The emergence of a new state in the Nile Basin will lead to a reformulation of the strategic balance in the region at the direct expense of Egypt,” Hani Raslan, head of the Sudan and Nile Basin Studies Program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, explained to Daily News Egypt.

With so much of the country’s efforts tied to solving its own political and economic crises, there is fear that Egypt will not be able to effectively address the looming crisis to its south, an issue that can have serious, long-term impacts on the country.

Concerns over Water

One of Egypt’s main concerns regarding the creation of South Sudan is the possibility that a realigned balance of power can threaten its future access to Nile River water, a critical component to the country’s livelihood, Walid Kazziha, political science professor at the American University in Cairo, explained to DNE.

Traditionally, Egypt and Sudan used to side against their southern, “upstream” neighbors, and were the “main beneficiaries of earlier agreements” that gave them preferential access to the Nile’s waters, Kazziha explained.

However, Egypt can no longer “count on the same level of support,” and thus has “reduced bargaining powers” due to the creation of South Sudan, a country that may align with upstream Nile River Basin countries at odds with Egypt and Sudan, he noted.

However, while South Sudan is ethnically and culturally closer to the upstream countries — like Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda that hope to renegotiate a Nile River usage treaty— the new country is unlikely to completely side against Egypt overnight, Raslan conceded.

“South Sudan enjoys heavy rains and is estimated to have about 540 billion cubic meters of water. This is about 10 times the amount of water currently supplied to Egypt. So they really don’t need all of that water.”

In either case, Egypt has worked diligently over the years to cultivate closer economic and diplomatic ties with southern Sudan in order to hedge any potential risks.

“Egypt has been helping South Sudan on some projects related to energy and some other issues. It has also been trying to develop good diplomatic relations for some time,” Paul Sullivan, a professor at Georgetown University, told DNE.

This investment, so far, appears to be paying off, according to Mahmoud Aboul Enein, dean of the Institute of African Research and Studies at Cairo University.

“We have many investments in Sudan; I think around $300 million invested into infrastructure and development projects. Egypt is a major partner of the South. I think the Egyptian government has received many things from the South that makes it feel comfortable,” he said, adding that South Sudan could actually align itself with Egypt and Sudan, because “all three are downstream countries.”

However, according to Raslan, Egypt still has good reason to feel uncomfortable, because there is no guarantee of South Sudan’s acquiescence to Egyptian water interests, especially given that the South’s water consumption needs will increase in the future.

Because South Sudan “has been a disastrously neglected country,” Sullivan added, its expected future development could easily “throw off any expectations of water use by Egypt.”

On top of these risks, Egypt could see further complications to its access to Nile waters due to local and regional instability created by the creation of South Sudan.

The ongoing fighting in contested areas between Sudan and South Sudan has been “an expected feature of the split” that will threaten Egypt’s plans of “water development projects that are meant to supply us with millions of cubic meters of water that we really need,” Aboul Enein explained.

Violence and refugees

In addition to being “far from a country that one could clearly say is destined for peaceful development,” Sullivan noted, South Sudan’s instability could also have adverse affects on the stability of North Sudan.

With conflict between the North and the South currently ongoing, “North-North violence may be even as likely, if not more likely, especially as the oil revenues or other parts of the North’s economy become a weaker source of purchased loyalty,” he added.

Egypt, Sullivan continued, “needs to be very wary of any conflict between the North and the South and amongst the peoples of both regions. The new South Sudan and North Sudan are countries that hold potentially massive instabilities within and across them.”

Large scale fighting within North and South Sudan could replicate the refugee crisis that displaced two million people when the country spiraled into a civil war in 1983, having an adverse impact on Egypt.

In January, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) prepared contingency plans that suggested possibly 50,000 refugees could flood into Egypt in the case of further violence following the creation of South Sudan.

While further violence has taken place, it is too soon to tell whether there has been an increased number of Sudanese refugees coming to Egypt, for it takes six weeks to register newly arrived refugees, the UNHCR office in Cairo explained to DNE.

In June, the UNHCR in Cairo registered an additional 588 people from Sudan, increasing the total amount of Sudanese refugees in Egypt to 23,618.

Precedence of secession

Egypt also has to fear that the creation of South Sudan could set a precedence in the region for minority groups to break away from their parent countries, an especially acute worry given Egypt’s current instability.

“Egypt could also be quite worried about other places in Sub-Saharan Africa and the North Africa and Middle East wanting to go the way of South Sudan and ask for their independence. The Amazighen, what the west knows as the Berbers, could see some ideas here. Darfur could also spin-off as could other parts of Sudan. There are sections of Libya that might be considering greater autonomy,” Sullivan noted.

Aboul Enein also fears this possibility, calling it “bad for Egypt, because the last thing we want to see is a balkanization along our southern borders.”

In regards to Egypt’s internal affairs, there traditionally was little fear that the country’s minority groups would demand more autonomy.

However, following the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent instability as the country tries to transition its political order, some have begun to fear that Egypt is increasingly vulnerable to this trend.

“The precedence in Sudan may affect Egypt in its present circumstances, due to having a large Coptic minority. If it happens in the south of Sudan, it can happen in Egypt. There are so many obstacles to that, such as the fact that the Copts are not geographically centered on one specific area, but are scattered throughout the country. But there are provinces where they do represent a sizable minority, which can pose such a problem to Egypt’s integrity.”