30 September 2012

Sudan: Security Deal Means 'Death' of Rebels

Photo: Tim McKulka/ UN Photo
Leaders of Sudan rebel groups (file photo).

Khartoum — Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said on Sunday that the security arrangements deal the country signed last week with neighbouring rival South Sudan will effectively spell doom for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

Prior to the deal, which was signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 27 September, Sudan had been accusing South Sudan of supporting Sudanese rebels who fought as part of its army in the second Sudanese civil war. SPLM-N has been fighting Khartoum government since last year in the country's regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile which border South Sudan.

The security arrangements deal provides for the establishment of a safe demilitarized zone along the unmarked 1800 km common borders to be monitored by the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission which consists of the two sides as well as independent monitors. It also stipulates that the two parties cease "harbouring of, or support to rebel groups against the other state"

NCP's spokesperson Badr Al-Din Ahmad Ibrahim told reporters in the capital Khartoum that if the security arrangements deal is implemented "it would effectively mean the death of the SPLM-N"

Sudan and the SPLM-N have been engaged in indirect negotiations through the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to find a settlement to the conflict but the talks produced nothing so far except an unimplemented agreement to allow humanitarian assistance in the two regions.

However, Badr Al-Din suggested that the talks with the SPLM-N would continue in view of the domestic nature of the conflict, saying that "it is possible to talk with SPLM-N leaders [Malik] Aggar, [Yasir] Arman and [Abdel Aziz] Al-Hilu in their capacity as northern [Sudanese] citizens." He added that after the deal with Juba all issues had become "purely Sudanese"

SPLM-N accuses the government of failing to implement the deal they signed on 4 August to allow unfettered humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile which are, in the words of the group's secretary-general Yasir Arman, "experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa today"

The rebels say they control over 40% of Sudan's common borders with South Sudan in Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan. They also insinuate that the security arrangements deal will be hard to implement without a ceasefire with them.

Arman said on Saturday that the SPLM-N is offering a ceasefire but linked it to humanitarian access to the areas they helds in the Two Areas stressing that such deal would enable all parties to "put an effective demilitarized buffer zone in place."

The rebel official also regretted that the summit meeting of Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit ended with "a total failure to recognize the humanitarian situation" in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The UN Security Council's (UNSC) resolution number 2046 ordered Sudan and the SPLM-N to cooperate in order to end the conflict in the two regions. Under the resolution, two parties are supposed to negotiate on the basis of the 28 June 2011 agreement they signed in Addis Ababa before it was scrapped by President Omer Al-Bashir.

The scrapped deal provides for the integration of SPLM-N fighters into regular forces and recognizes the group as a legal political force in Sudan.

In November last year, the SPLM-N forged an alliance known as the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) with three rebel groups from the country's western region of Darfur and the allies vowed joint military operations to topple the government of President Omer Al-Bashir.

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