14 December 2012

Sudan: Khartoum Demands a Setback to Peace Deal - U.S. Envoy

Juba — Demands raised by Sudan as pre-conditions for the implementation of the security arrangements with South Sudan is a setback to the peace deal, Princeton Lyman, the US special envoy to both countries said.

Speaking at a press conference in the South Sudan capital on Friday, Lyman said is "troubled" by Khartoum's recent requests and demands, which links the resumption of oil production and the implementation of other agreements to the satisfaction of the these demands.

"We that security issues can best be addressed in the agreements already reached," the US envoy said.

The two Sudans, on 27 September, reached an agreement on several key issues, including the demilitarization of common border, oil, security, among other. The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) facilitated the deal, reached in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Since Khartoum says Juba's disengagement with the Sudanese rebels is part of the security deal but Juba dismissed the claims.

Both countries, under the deal reached, agreed to withdraw their troops 10 kilometres from either side of the border, to be monitored by a joint force and the United Nations peacekeeping forces (UNISFA) in the region.

"The agreement offer tremendous potential for peace and as I said, am troubled by the delays in implementation of these agreements," Lyman said.

Lyman, who is due to travel to Ethiopia Monday to attend the Joint Peace and Security Meeting (JPSM) between the two countries said, it was practically impossible for South Sudan to disarm SPLM-N rebels in Sudan, as Khartoum demanded.

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, last month, accused neighbouring Sudan of delaying the resumption of oil exportation, adding that Khartoum's demands for his country to disarm rebels fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile were "impossible mission".

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), on Friday, expressed concerns over the delays in the implementation of the agreement, and urged both the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to finalize their outstanding issues, within stipulated timeframe.

The meeting urged the two countries to implement "without delay" all the agreements they signed on 27 September including the security arrangements.

"Council looks forward to the meeting of the JPSM scheduled for 15 December 2012, and urges the Co-Chairs of the JPSM to work in a constructive and cooperative spirit to implement the commitments of the two countries under the 27 September 2012 Agreements," said the AUPSC communiqué.

Mbeki's panel in its report to the peace and security meeting stressed that the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan hampers the ongoing efforts to implement the Cooperation Agreement.

"It is now evident that a resolution of the conflict in the Two Areas is an indispensible prerequisite for the normalization of relations between Sudan and South Sudan," said the mediation in its report to the AUPSC.

USAID SUPPORT

Meanwhile the US government, Lyman announced, will next week sign a $230m grant agreement with South Sudan, targeting agriculture, infrastructural development and technical assistance to the new nation.

"We want to continue to support South Sudan's development and we think it's extremely important that the issues of poverty, education and health continue to be addressed even when the country faces difficult problems of resources," said the US envoy.

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