Sudan puts out more peace feelers to Sudan
ADDIS ABABA (July 23, 2012) – South Sudan and Sudan were poised Monday to begin discussions on proposals tabled by South Sudanese negotiators to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues with Sudan.
The proposals came in the form of a daft “Agreement on Friendly Relations and Cooperation” (AFRC) that South Sudan presented to Sudan and African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) mediators late Sunday.
“The AFRC, if accepted by the Republic of Sudan, would not only rejuvenate Sudan’s economy, but also end hostilities, resume bilateral trade (including oil production and export), and ensure a permanent peace between South Sudan and Sudan,” according to a press release issued by South Sudan’s Lead Negotiator Cde Pagan Amum.
In the AFRC, South Sudan renews its unilateral declaration of a ceasefire and unconditional acceptance of an African Union (AU) map to establish Safe Demilitarized Border Zones (SDBZ).
Juba further proposed a “time-bound final and binding international arbitration process to peacefully resolve the final status of the remaining outstanding contested areas along the border.”
The South Sudanese document also included concrete proposals for the AU and United Nations (UN) to organize a referendum for Abyei by the end of the year.
Besides, South Sudan offered proposals on the protection of South Sudanese and Sudanese nationals in each other’s country and guarantees the rights of nomads and migratory populations as well as supporting peace talks between the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N.
South Sudan also dangled the prospect of resuming export of oil through Sudan’s pipelines in return for “fair, reasonable transportation fees,” which Juba has agreed to increase to a little more than $US 9.
The South Sudanese side further offered to increase crude oil processing fees by 7 percent and a raft of financial incentives amounting billions of dollars to assist Sudan offset the impact of the loss of oil revenues from wells in South Sudan.
In yet another gesture of goodwill, South Sudan “offered to jointly approach the international community to seek contributions to Sudan’s gap, forgiveness of Sudan’s external debt and removal of economic sanctions.”
Juba’s AFRC proposals came just days after South Sudan’s army accused Sudan of carrying out bombing raids in Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Unity States.