17 July 2012

Sudan: Presidential Summit - Salva Kiir Offers Money and Kordofan Conflict Resolution

Photo: Tim McKulka/UNMIS
Displaced by conflict.

Khartoum — In his last Saturday meeting in Addis Ababa with President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayadrit offered financial support and mediation to end South Kordofan and Blue Nile conflicts.

The one-to-one meeting was seen as turning point to break the deadlocked talks where the two parties failed to make tangible progress on the outstanding issues as each side accuses the other of seeking to oust him.

The "Sudanese-made" encounter as described by Sudan's foreign minister Ali Karti was agreed previously by the two sides during their meetings held earlier on5-7 July before the suspension of talks for the first anniversary of South Sudan's independence.

Salva Kiir during the meeting offered financial support to help Khartoum to overcome the severe economic crisis Sudan is experiencing since one year ago, according to different sources and confidential documents seen by Sudan Tribune.

He further proposed South Sudan mediation to end the one-year conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with the rebels of Sudan people's Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) which was part of South Sudan ruling party before the independence.

Kiir also proposed his good offices to end Darfur conflict.

In return, he asked the resumption of oil transit for exportation through the Sudanese pipeline and to organise a referendum on the future of Abyei region.

Bashir according to the sources African and Sudanese sources accepted Kiir's initiative to meet him and asked to reach a security agreement to facilitate the resolution of the other files.

He also expressed his readiness for the oil flow and direct talks on the border issues.

During the one hour meeting, the two presidents agreed on the principles of the issues they discussed and agreed to leave the details of their deal to be worked out by the negotiating teams in the Ethiopian north western city of Bahir Dar.

Kiir during his meeting with Bashir proposed the provision of transitional financial assistance to Sudan and his country's support for mobilization of debt relief to help alleviate Sudan's budget deficit.

He however asked Bashir to accept a transit fee based on standard international practices. He also requested to open the border for the trade and free movement of the Sudanese and South Sudanese between the two states.

According to a confidential document seen by Sudan Tribune detailing the Strategic Framework agreed by the two parties on 7 July, the parties envision as possible outcome of the ongoing talks that Sudan's financial gap can be addressed through "a three-prolonged response".

One third of the gap should be met through funds provided by South Sudan, the document of the strategic approach says. For the other two thirds, Sudan has to cover one third of the gap through economic measures and the international community should provide the remaining third.

Bashir and Mayadrit agreed during the meeting to accelerate the formation of Abyei administration but more important; Bashir accepted the formation of the commission for Abyei Referendum and related issues including the defining the eligible voters.

Khartoum and Juba government are facing difficult economic situation. Khartoum lost oil income since the South Sudan independence in July 2011, while Juba shut down oil production in January 2012.

The African mediation failed to convince Sudan to accept a map its proposes to operationalise a buffer zone which is key in the security arrangements the two countries agreed to implement since November 2011.

Sources say the parties might go more in their rapprochement and reach a deal on this issue without the African mediation.

The African Union roadmap and the UN resolution 2046 set the 2 August as deadline for the negotiations over the unresolved issues and threaten to impose economic sanctions of the two countries.

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