What's In Blue

Posted Wed 13 Jun 2012

Sudan and South Sudan Consultations

Tomorrow morning (14 June) the Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046. (Resolution 2046, adopted on 2 May, requested the Secretary-General to inform the Council every two weeks of both parties’ compliance with the resolution, which called for an immediate cessation of violence between the two states and resumption of negotiations.) Haile Menkerios, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, and Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for peacekeeping, are likely to brief. At press time, no outcome was anticipated.

Council members appear keen to hear more details about the recent resumption of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, which took place between 29 May and 7 June in Addis Ababa. While many Council members seem encouraged that negotiations have resumed and by the apparent reduction of violence along the Sudan-South Sudan border, it is clear that they remain concerned about the continuing tense state of affairs between the parties.

Following the recent talks between Khartoum and Juba after two months of heightened tensions, on Friday (8 June) the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) said in a statement that the two countries had agreed to deploy observers to a temporary headquarters in Assosa, Ethiopia. (This is in preparation for the establishment of a joint border verification and monitoring mission along their border, which will be assisted by UN Interim Security Force for Abyei [UNISFA] personnel.)

During the negotiations, Sudan and South Sudan also discussed the geographic extent of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone and temporary security line that they had previously agreed to establish. (In an apparent breakthrough, South Sudan seems to have accepted the map that the AUHIP has presented as the basis of discussion on the parameters for the demilitarised border zone and this is something Council members will be interested in hearing more about tomorrow.)

According to the AU statement of 8 June, Sudan and South Sudan also discussed administrative issues in Abyei and reaffirmed their commitment to cease violence as well as stop supporting rebels fighting the other party. (Sudan and South Sudan are scheduled to resume negotiations in Addis Ababa on 21 June. They are expected to discuss boundary disputes and continue negotiations to define the territory of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone, among other issues.)

Ahead of tomorrow’s consultations, several Council members have emphasised the importance of maintaining pressure on the parties to negotiate in good faith and comply with resolution 2046, which includes the withdrawal of all forces from Abyei. (It seems some Sudanese police have remained in the disputed area, allegedly to protect oil infrastructure.) This position among Council members is consistent with the AU’s strongly worded press release of 11 June, which underlined the need for the parties to “take decisive and immediate steps towards resolving their conflict and returning to peace and cooperation.”

Another issue that may come up again in the consultations is the alarming and continuing humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In response to an earlier query on the humanitarian situation in these regions, Menkerios noted that while Sudan has seemingly not rejected the AU-UN-Arab League tri-partite proposal on humanitarian access, which was presented in February 2012, it has not accepted it either.

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