What's In Blue

Sudan and South Sudan Consultations

Tomorrow morning (6 September) the Council is scheduled to hold its regular fortnightly meeting (in consultations) on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, in accordance with resolution 2046. Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan, is set to brief. No outcome is anticipated.

The consultations will likely focus on an assessment of the status of the negotiations between the parties. Resolution 2046 requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council by 2 September on the status of the negotiations and proposals for resolving outstanding issues and it seems that Menkerios’ briefing is likely to be taken as fulfilment of this reporting requirement. Additionally in its 31 August presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/19), the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a report following the findings of the AU High Level Implementation Panel, which is expected to be released following the next round of negotiations on 22 September.

Several key issues may be on the minds of Council members during tomorrow’s consultations. Given that the two parties reconvened in Addis Ababa for talks on 4 September, members may have questions about the initial tenor of the discussions during this round. There may be particular interest in learning more about any progress in negotiations on the establishment of a buffer zone between the two countries. The major sticking point on creating the buffer zone has been Sudan’s unwillingness to accept one section of the map (see the Sudan and South Sudan brief in our September 2012 Monthly Forecast) that the AU has proposed as a basis for negotiations.

Another area of interest concerns the finalisation of the parties’ agreement on oil and other financial arrangements. (The agreement has yet to be signed or even initialled.) South Sudan has argued that it was under pressure from key bilateral actors to accept the agreement, while Sudan has indicated that it wants a resolution of security issues (e.g. the establishment of the buffer zone and an end to cross border support by South Sudan for rebel groups in Sudan) to be completed before the oil agreement can be finalised.

With regard to the fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan, some Council members may emphasise the need for progress in negotiations between Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on political matters. Some Council members may also suggest that the SPLM-N should negotiate “without preconditions,” meaning that they should not insist on being recognised as a legitimate political party within Sudan.

There is widespread concern among Council members about the humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and the fate of the refugees who have fled to South Sudan and Ethiopia in order to escape hunger and violence. Some Council members may be particularly interested in the status of implementation of the memoranda of understanding that Sudan and the SPLM-N have signed with the AU, the UN, and the Arab League (the tripartite partners) to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilian populations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Among the concerns is that Sudan and the SPLM-N have signed memoranda of understanding with the tripartite partners but not with each other.

A final issue that may be of interest to Council members is the agreement of Sudan and South Sudan to create a Panel of Experts to offer its non-binding opinion on the status of the five disputed areas along the countries’ border. Some Council members may be interested in learning more about the composition of this panel, its precise responsibilities, and when it will be made operational.

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