24 May 2013

Sudan: Bashir and Kiir Meet in Addis As Sudan Reportedly Demands Permission to Pursue Rebels

Photo: Embassy of the Republic of Sudan
Sudan is one of the rich countries in natural resources, oil, minerals, and hydro-electric generation resources.

Khartoum/Juba — Presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir discussed Friday evening in Addis Ababa issues related to oil flow, rebel groups and Abyei, among reports that Khartoum asked to allow its troops to pursue rebels inside South Sudan.

The two leaders met for the last time in Juba where the two leaders reiterated their commitment to the signed agreement and pledged to resolve issues of Abyei, and disputed border zones.

However, Sudan accused some circles in Juba of continuing their support to rebel groups and dispatched its foreign minister Ali Karti to hand a presidential message to president Kiir. The latter last Monday disclosed that it included a demand to close business offices managed by rebel groups.

During the two-hour meeting, Sudanese president reiterated his demand that Juba should stop its alleged support to the rebel groups.

Foreign minister Karti who participated in the meeting said the issue was expensively tackled during by the two presidents. He added that Bashir "strongly" expressed his position on the matter.

He further said that president Kiir reiterated his commitment to not allow any support to rebel groups in South Kordofan, Blue Nile or Darfur.

In Juba a presidential source told Sudan Tribune that Kiir briefed the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, who paid a short visit to the country for the first time since assuming office after presidential elections early 2013.

According to the source, Kiir said that beside the closure of business allegedly providing logistics to the armed groups, Bashir's demanded a message handed over by his foreign minister to allow Sudanese troops to pursue the rebel fighters inside the South Sudanese.

"They (the Sudanese government) want us to do impossible things. They are also asking us to allow troops to come into our territory in order for them to pursue their own rebels," Kiir told Kenyatta.

"We said no because there is already a joint border verification and monitoring team", Kiir added, according to the source.

Khartoum in the past requested that Juba should disarm rebels before to allow the follow of the south Sudanese oil to the Red Sea from where it is exported to the international market.

The two countries established, in line the cooperation agreement, a buffer zone on five disputed zones along the common border. Before its activation Khartoum long time demanded to include the Blue Nile and South Kordofan border with South Sudan.

Karti who was speaking from Addis Ababa further said Bashir explained with documents that the his government did not hinder the border trade between the two countries or the free circulations of nationals of the two countries.


Regarding Abyei; the Sudanese minister said the two said agreed to implement the arrangements already sealed by the two parties like the establishment of a temporary administration, adding the joint security committee will soon meet to discuss this matter.

The talks on Abyei administration are deadlocked due to their difference over the composition of the 20-member legislative council.

Khartoum demands the half of the seats but Juba considers the 60% that it obtained during the past is a right that will it would not concede. The Sudanese government on the other hand, insists that it was a gentleman agreement it accorded during the interim period to encourage South Sudanese to vote for unity.

On the issue of the referendum over the fate of the disputed area, the two sides still diverge on who can participate in this crucial vote. Khartoum say the Misseriya pastoralists have a historical right and have to take part. On the other hand Juba rejects this claim.

The African Union mediation team last year supported the South Sudanese position and proposed that only the Nogk Dinka and Misseriya residing permanently in Abyei vote in a referendum to be organised in October 2013. But Sudan refused this proposal.

The South Sudanese official who was speaking to Sudan Tribune under the cover of anonymity said Bashir's in his letter told Kiir that Khartoum would release its claim over Abyei if Juba implements its demands related to the rebel groups.

"They are now telling us to disarm their rebels, allow their troops to come into our territory to pursue those fighting them because they think we are providing support and close down businesses run by those they think [are] link[ed] to the rebel groups so that they can release Abyei to Bahr el Ghazal," Kiir told Kenyatta, according to the source.

"We said no and told them that [the] people of Abyei should be allowed to decide their own fate at the referendum", Kiir is quoted as saying to the visiting Kenyan president.

The African mediation did not show up recently since the recent attacks in South Kordofan and North Kordofan states by the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) which includes the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North and three rebel groups from Darfur region.

Khartoum media broadcast on daily basis reports about an imminent comprehensive attack on the rebel groups while the SRF rebels say they are preparing for an attack on the Sudanese capital calling on the people to support their action and stage an popular uprising against the regime.

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