What's In Blue

Posted Mon 15 Oct 2012

Sudan and South Sudan Consultations

Council members are scheduled to hold consultations tomorrow afternoon (16 October) on Sudan and South Sudan, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous expected to brief. At press time, an outcome seemed unlikely.

When Council members last met in consultations on Sudan and South Sudan on 4 October, the discussion focused on the need for both countries to implement the 27 September agreements on oil, cross-border trade, security, and other issues. Council members also emphasised the importance of resolving other outstanding issues, especially the status of Abyei, and addressing the ongoing humanitarian crises in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states of Sudan bordering South Sudan.

It is unclear how much new information will be conveyed to Council members at tomorrow’s meeting. For their part, the focus for Council members seems to be the upcoming report from the Secretary-General on the status on negotiations and proposals for resolving the remaining outstanding issues, to be finalised in late October.

This Secretary-General’s report will be preceded—and likely influenced—by the AU High Level Implementation Panel’s own report to the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the same matters. The AU report is due ahead of the ministerial level meeting of the PSC scheduled for 22 October. Following this meeting the PSC is expected to issue a communiqué, which will likely highlight the High Level Panel’s findings and will also be taken into account in the Secretary-General’s report. Accordingly, Council members are not expecting the Secretary-General’s report until after 22 October.

In terms of tomorrow’s consultations, one issue that may be raised within the context of Blue Nile and South Kordofan is the 11 October letter from Sudan to the Council (S/2012/759). In the letter Khartoum alleges that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) “is complicating and obstructing” the implementation of the plan to distribute aid to civilians which is part of an UN, AU and Arab League tripartite initiative. Council members may want a clearer picture for the delay in implementing this initiative.

Also mentioned in the letter, and of possible interest to some Council members, is the shelling of Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, by the SPML-N on 8 October, which Sudan alleges claimed the lives of seven civilians, including three children, and wounded 22 others. (The SPLM-N has said that it was targeting Sudanese forces in the bombardment and regretted any loss of civilian life.)

It seems that before taking any next steps on Sudan and South Sudan, Council members are keen to study these AU documents, in addition to the Secretary-General’s report. However, this could mean taking no action until the next briefing in early November.

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