What's In Blue

Posted Wed 3 Oct 2012

Sudan/South Sudan and Abyei Consultations

The Council is expected to hold consultations tomorrow (4 October) on Sudan/South Sudan and on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, is expected to brief on both topics. At press time, no Council outcome was expected.

It seems that a major focus of the meeting will be the agreements signed by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on 27 September in Addis Ababa. In response, the Council issued a press statement (SC/10779) on 28 September welcoming the agreements, while urging Sudan and South Sudan to rapidly resolve the status of Abyei and other disputed border regions. Council members will likely be keen to hear from Ladsous details of the agreements that deal, inter alia, with oil transport and revenue, cross-border trade, border security, and nationality issues. In particular, some Council members may be interested in hearing details of certain technical aspects of the agreements, such as how quickly South Sudan can resume its oil production, and how long it will take to make the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) operational.

The implementation of the JBVMM will also play an important role in UNISFA’s activities, as the mission is mandated to assist the parties in monitoring the border as part of this mechanism.

In addition to taking stock of the current agreements and discussing their implementation, Council members may also want to learn more about the next steps in the Sudan-South Sudan negotiating process. Key issues in the next round would likely include border demarcation and the disputed areas claimed by both countries. However, South Sudan has indicated that it is unwilling to discuss the status of Abyei at this point, arguing that it has already agreed to a proposal from the AU High-Level Implementation Panel—which is mediating the talks—on Abyei but that Sudan rejected it.

Related to the agreements, some members may also want to get a nuanced sense of the political climate in Juba and Khartoum. With the exception of the agreement on the demilitarised border zone, all the other agreements signed on 27 September require parliamentary approval from Sudan and South Sudan, and thus, it will be vital for Council members to know how parliamentarians in both countries have initially reacted to the agreements.

Another issue that may come up in the discussion is the lack of any agreement between Sudan and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N), whose forces continue to fight each other in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States in Sudan. (It seems that Sudan and the SPLM-N did not engage in direct negotiations in Addis.) Likewise, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Kordofan and Blue Nile remains a significant concern among most Council members, as does the growing numbers of refugees flowing into South Sudan and Ethiopia from these two states. Some members may raise serious concerns about the delays in implementation of the AU-UN-Arab League tripartite agreement on humanitarian access to civilians affected by the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Follow us on Twitter

Sign up for What's In Blue emails