What's In Blue

Posted Wed 30 May 2012

Consultations on Sudan and South Sudan

Tomorrow morning (31 May), the Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046 of 2 May. (Resolution 2046 called on the parties to cease their hostilities and resume negotiations. It also requested the Secretary-General to inform the Council every two weeks on the compliance of Sudan and South Sudan with the resolution.) Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, is expected to brief via videoconference. Council members are not anticipating an outcome from the meeting.

While the consultations are intended to focus on the unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan, Council members appear keen to hear whether recent alleged attacks by Sudan have been verified. (On 28 May, South Sudan accused its neighbour of aerial bombardments in Western Bahr El Ghazal, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, and Unity States in the days prior.) Additionally, there is interest in updates on the security and humanitarian situation along the Sudan-South Sudan border.

Despite the recent accusations of violence along the border, the two countries have made some progress towards deescalating tensions. Yesterday, 29 May, Sudan and South Sudan resumed negotiations in Addis Ababa, facilitated by Thabo Mbeki – Chair of the AU High Level Implementation Panel. Also on Tuesday, Sudan reportedly removed its military forces from Abyei – a development confirmed by the Secretary-General earlier today. (South Sudan withdrew its police from the disputed region earlier in the month.)

The continuing presence of Sudanese and South Sudanese security forces in Abyei has been a significant concern for Council members. While the withdrawals appear to be an encouraging step, especially in the context of the renewal of negotiations, Council members are likely to want clarification concerning accusations that some troops remain in Abyei dressed as police.

Another issue that concerns some Council members is the status of people of South Sudanese origin in Sudan. Bureaucratic difficulties have prevented many of these people from returning to South Sudan. However, it appears that there has been some progress made by the South Sudanese government in providing the requisite paperwork (passports and nationality certificates) for those wanting to return home, while Khartoum has been issuing temporary identification cards to South Sudanese in Sudan.

Additionally, since mid-May, thousands of South Sudanese stranded in the port city of Kosti on the White Nile, who have been barred from returning via barges to South Sudan, have been airlifted to Juba through a collaborative effort of OCHA, IOM, and NGOs. (Sudan has argued that barges used to transport refugees were also used by South Sudan to transport supplies to the border area.)

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