South Sudan submits fully to AU plan, UN resolution; Sudan defiant
JUBA (June 13, 2012) – South Sudan has complied fully with an AU roadmap and UN Security Council resolution aimed at lowering tensions and getting the two countries to resume negotiations on all outstanding issues, South Sudan’s Chief Negotiator Cde Pagan Amum declared on Wednesday.
On the contrary, the government of Sudan failed to live up to any of its obligations as demanded by the Roadmap and UNSC Resolution 2046, Cde Amum pointed out.
Resolution 2046, adopted on May 2, represented the endorsement by the international community of an African Union roadmap for peace and stability between South Sudan and Sudan after the two countries nearly came to war in the wake of repeated aggression by Khartoum against Juba.
Cde Amum, also the SPLM Secretary General, explained that within 48 hours, South Sudan announced its acceptance of the Resolution and immediately began taking steps to demonstrate seriousness.
For instance, South Sudan immediately proclaimed a truce, restated its desire to return to talks without preconditions, pulled out its army from Panthou (Heglig) and withdrew its 700-strong police force from Abyei, as goodwill gestures.
“We went there (venue of the AU-mediated talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) ready to discuss all outstanding issues without any preconditions,” said Cde Amum.
Sudan instead continued to launch air and ground attacks on South Sudanese territory and people, only partially vacated Abyei and set a string of conditions that it wanted met before returning to the negotiating table.
One condition that Sudan set was that the talks must begin with discussions on security issues but the Sudanese side itself sabotaged the talks by continuing to make unreasonable demands, especially on proposals aimed at creating Safe Demilitarized Border Zones (SDBZ).
South Sudan had proposed that in the interest of peace, Sudan should pull its forces back to locations up to 10 miles north of what South Sudan considers to be the border.
Juba would also pull back its army to locations 10 miles south of what Sudan claims to be the border, according to Cde Amum, who displayed to reporters colonial maps clearly showing South Sudan’s rights over territories that Sudan has been laying claim to.
Cde Amum said his delegation had made the same offer for Abyei despite South Sudan’s well-documented right over the area.
”This is a position that is more in the in the interest of peace,” he emphasized.
Sudan’s delegation swiftly rebuffed the offer, with some members of the team trying to use all sorts of tactics in an attempt to retain control in Abyei and continue to exploit its resources.
South Sudan also proposed that in the event that the two parties fail to reach agreement on the so-called disputed areas, the case should be referred for international arbitration.
“The government of Sudan was intransigent and they have not made any constructive proposal,” Cde Amum noted.