What's In Blue

Consultations on Sudan and South Sudan

The Council is scheduled to hold consultations tomorrow morning (16 May) on Sudan and South Sudan. It seems likely, although not yet confirmed, that Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan, will brief via videoconference. (These consultations are in accordance with resolution 2046, adopted on 2 May, which requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed on compliance with the resolution within 15 days and then at two week intervals.)

There appears to be concern among some Council members at Sudan’s apparent lack of commitment to the resolution. President Omar al-Bashir has said that Sudan is willing to accept only some elements of the resolution. (On 14 May, the parliament announced that it had accepted the resolution with certain “reservations”. For example, the parliament dismissed the resolution’s decision that Sudan should negotiate with rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, an issue that it considers to be a domestic matter.)

By contrast, in a 3 May letter to the Council (S/2012/293), South Sudan expressed its commitment to cease fighting and resume negotiations with Sudan in accordance with the resolution. South Sudan has removed its police forces from the region, while Sudan continues to maintain military and police personnel there, reiterating its call for the Abyei Area Administration to be established before it withdraws its forces. However, South Sudan expressed concern with some parts of the resolution, including that border security mechanisms should be established “in accordance with the administrative and security map presented to the Parties” by the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). (South Sudan does not agree with the map that has been presented.)

South Sudan also believes it is being unfairly targeted by the intention expressed by the Council to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 (including sanctions and other non-military measures) in the event of non-compliance. In addition it is concerned that the threat of article 41 measures creates an unfair equivalency with Sudan, which is already under sanctions and whose president has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Given that the mandate of UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) expires on 22 May and the draft resolution renewing the mission is expected to be negotiated later this week, there appears to be interest among some Council members in learning more about the security situation in Abyei. Likewise, there may be interest in learning what progress, if any, has been made by the parties in establishing the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism and the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone, as resolution 2046 set a deadline of 9 May for its activation and UNISFA is mandated to provide support for these border security mechanisms.

Another key issue that will likely be discussed is whether the AUHIP has made any progress in convincing the parties to return to the negotiating table. At press time, the AU was attempting to schedule a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism for Wednesday (16 May).

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