What's In Blue

Posted Wed 27 Jun 2012

Sudan and South Sudan Consultations

Tomorrow morning (28 June), Council members are scheduled to hold their bimonthly consultations on Sudan-South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046. Haile Menkerios, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, and Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, are likely to brief. (It seems that a representative from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations might also participate.) No outcome is anticipated.

It seems that Council members will be keen to receive an update on the latest round of negotiations between the parties in Addis Ababa on 21 June. (After months of clashes, the parties had renewed negotiations from 29 May to 7 June. Those talks focused on defining the territory of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone and on establishing the Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism along the Sudan/South Sudan border, which is disputed in many areas and has been the site of clashes between the two countries in recent months.)

It is likely that Menkerios will brief Council members on the latest developments in the negotiations, including progress related to the establishment of the border monitoring mechanisms. Council members may also want an update on residual issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that have not been resolved, including—most notably—oil wealth sharing, border demarcation and the final status of Abyei.

Amos is likely to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as the circumstances facing refugees fleeing the violence and hunger in these areas to South Sudan. In resolution 2046, the Council strongly urged Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to accept the AU-UN-Arab League tripartite proposal for the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in government and SPLM-N controlled areas. The SPLM-N has indicated its acceptance of the proposal, which was presented in February, but Khartoum has been unwilling to do so.

Council members generally consider the recent return to the negotiating table an encouraging sign. However, several seem concerned that there has not been progress between the parties in resolving the fundamental issues separating them (oil wealth sharing, border demarcation and the final status of Abyei). While there is widespread concern on the Council about the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, some members are less inclined than others to push Khartoum too strongly to allow humanitarian access. On the other hand, several members believe it important to maintain the Council’s focus on this issue, and that humanitarian access to these areas is critical, given the suffering and malnutrition affecting much of the civilian population.

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