Sudan: South Kordofan Increases Security Measures On Border With South Sudan

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Abandoned buildings in Abyei: One of the areas disputed by the two countries.

Khartoum — Sudanese authorities in South Kordofan have increased security measures on the border with the South Sudan after the failure of talks in Addis Ababa on the implementation of security arrangements.

Presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Slava Kiir failed to agree on the implementation of the security measures including the activation of a buffer zone they agreed in September 2012 to prevent a return of war between the two countries.

Khartoum and Juba failed to agree on the issue of South Kordofan and Blue Nile rebels. The Sudanese government accuses South Sudan of harbouring and supporting them, but Juba refuses to discuss the issue saying it is an internal Sudanese affair.

Juba also rejected a Sudanese demand aiming to extend the deployment of joint patrols to the border with South Kordofan to prevent cross border movements of SPLM-N rebels.

The border localities in South Kordofan are developing security measures on the border with the South Sudan in line with directives received from the state authorities, said a government-linked media on Saturday.

The SMC which is seen as a media close to the national intelligence and security services further said the security measures include the ring road of Talodi, Abu Jeibaihah, Rashad and Kllouki in South Kordofan.

The commissioner of Al-Abassiya-Tagali, Fatehi Abdallah Arabi, said the directives aim to protect the border towns, areas of agricultural production and grazing land after the collapse of talks with South Sudan.

The African Union peace and Security Council (AUPSC) in a statement released on Saturday said that the situation along the border between Sudan and South Sudan "remains calm overall, in spite of isolated incidents, while noting with concern that the situation nonetheless remains tense, with the continued threat of escalation".

It however said concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the SPLM-N controlled areas and called on the mediation team to propose " a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement" which is an imperative to provide the affected civilian with humanitarian assistance.

The AUSPC further urged the government and the SPLM-N to enter into direct negotiations without pre-conditions, in order to reach a political solution to the over one-year conflict in the two border states .

The Council asked the mediation to invite the two parties to start direct talks, "by no later than 15 February 2013, towards a political resolution of the conflict".

Sudan refuses to negotiate with the rebels before Juba "disengages" with them. The SPLM-N on the other side, speaks about regime change saying an inclusive process dealing with Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan can only bring peace in the country.

The meeting extended the mandate of the mediation team led by Thabo Mbeki but asked the African panel to submit a final report next July "on all matters within its purview since its establishment in October 2009".

The African leaders seemingly preferred to avoid taking any decision on the issue of Abyei despite the AUPSC support to the organisation of a referendum on Abyei final status next October.

Nonetheless, the meeting urged the Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents to resume their negotiations, on the key issue of the formation of the Abyei Area Referendum Commission, on the basis of the AUHIP 21 September 2012 Proposal.

The peace and security body in addition demanded the mediation to continue to assist the two Presidents to urgently resolve this issue, and requests "to report to Council, in March 2013, on the Parties' progress for Council to make further determination on the matter".

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