What's In Blue

Posted Mon 9 Jul 2012

Sudan and South Sudan Consultations

Tomorrow morning (10 July) the Security Council is scheduled to hold its bimonthly consultations on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046. Haile Menkerios, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, is set to brief (via videoconference). A high-level official from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, most likely Under-Secretary General Hervé Ladsous or Assistant-Secretary-General Edmond Mulet, will also participate. No outcome is expected following the consultations.

It seems that the briefing will focus on the recent round of negotiations in Addis Ababa between Sudan and South Sudan. (The parties met on 6-7 July, and are scheduled to reconvene on 12 July.) Council members will likely be interested in details of the “comprehensive strategic approach” that the two parties agreed upon during the current round of negotiations. The approach is based on principles such as non-interference in internal affairs, non-aggression, and transparency. (It seems that this approach is centred largely on implementing border monitoring mechanisms that the parties have been negotiating.)

Council members are also likely to be interested in receiving information about whether Sudan has agreed to accept the map that the AU presented in November 2011 as a basis for negotiations on the establishment of the Safe Demilitarised Border Zone.

Several Council members are encouraged that the parties have resumed talks with each other and that there have been no reports of significant violence between them in recent weeks. However, there is concern among several Council members that there continues to be limited progress on a number of substantive issues. The Safe Demilitarised Border Zone and Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism have yet to be established, and in-depth discussions on oil wealth sharing, border demarcation and the status of Abyei have yet to take place.

In resolution 2046 of 2 May, the Council expressed its intention to take measures as appropriate under article 41 of the UN Charter if the parties failed to resolve the issues separating them within three months. (Article 41 empowers the Security Council to impose generalised or targeted sanctions.) With the three-month deadline fast approaching (2 August), Council members may be interested in discussing what sanctions measures, if any, should be taken if Sudan and South Sudan fail to comply within the allotted timeframe. Alternatively, Council members may consider extending the deadline for compliance with elements of the resolution.

One seemingly positive development that Council members may want more details about is the recent signing of a terms of reference by the parties for the establishment of a Joint Military Observer Committee, a security mechanism to observe, monitor and report on the deployment of unauthorised forces in the disputed Abyei area. According to an AU communiqué released on 7 July, the Committee would be equitably composed of troops from both parties.

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