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 Facts about Sudan and South Sudan bilateral relations

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Dr/mohamed
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عدد المساهمات : 382
تاريخ التسجيل : 06/10/2011
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مُساهمةموضوع: Facts about Sudan and South Sudan bilateral relations   الجمعة يونيو 03, 2016 7:29 am

By James Okuk
Since the time of separation of South Sudan from the Sudan in 2011,
the bilateral relations between the two countries have not become
desirably institutionalized for the needed viability of co-existence and
cooperation of the two neighbouring countries for ensuring peace,
security, stability and prosperity in commonality. The two states have
not been seen treating themselves softly with best neighbourliness
foreign policies despite the fact that they are deterministically bounded
by the longest inseparable geography in the region with land
boundaries of about 2,158 km (according to January 1, 1956
alignment). Political leadership could be the problem because social
relations of the peoples of the two states are still fine.
The souring relations between Khartoum and Juba didn’t creep
instantly from the blue. The ruling parties in both capitals had been
fierce enemies for decades though the 2005 Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA) tried to tame them into partnership of making unity
of the Sudan attractive, especially to South Sudanese (including the
Nine Ngok Dinka Chieftaincies of Abyei Area). Because of that
commitment, preparation for institutionalization of the independence of
South Sudan was totally neglected by the CPA’s partners because they
were obliged to ‘make unity attractive.’ That was why both of them
were caught unaware by the overwhelming decision of the people of
South Sudan not to be attracted to the politicized unity of the Sudan.
The SPLM leaders in Juba found it difficult to go against the people’s
destiny and they had to betray their NCP partners in Khartoum who
were left with no option but to absorb the shock with bitter acceptance
of the result of the referendum for self-determination for the people of
South Sudan in January 2011, especially after they realized that the
separation project has the total backing and support of the U.S
superpower and other allies in Europe and Africa.
However and after politics of unity of the Sudan was thwarted by the
opposite referendum result, every other commitment that was
stipulated in the CPA but remained unimplemented had to get
subjected to either automatic collapse or renegotiation. Khartoum had
to uncomfortably delete anything that has to do with South Sudan and
Juba had to also do the same based on constitutional and sovereignty
necessity. The issue of nationality, borders, currency, oil, trade, debts,
assets, pensions, post-service benefits, Abyei Administration and
referendum, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile popular consultations,
and disengagement with the SPLM/A-North popped up to become very
urgent but at the same time intricately contentious. Nothing looked
sufficient to bridge the urgent gaps left in the broken Sudan and also
in the new made South Sudan with its open possibilities.
For example, Juba went ahead to print its own currency and passports
without consultation with Khartoum, and despite the previous
gentlemen agreement that these issues shall be handled evolutionarily
and coordinately so as to avoid any consequence of abrupt
unilateralism. The amount of the redundant CPA’s Sudanese pounds
circulating in South Sudan was seen to be a danger to Sudan’s
economy, especially after it has loss many oil fields to South Sudan.
Hence, Khartoum decided abruptly too to change its currency to a new
pound while disqualifying the old one it used to share with Juba. South
Sudanese working in Sudan had to get fired. A threat of conflict and
aggression became eminent. The border movements had to get
restricted and sometimes closed, especially after the Sudan People’s
Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-North) in the areas of Nuba
Mountains and Blue Nile went into war with Khartoum to add to Darfuri
rebels.
Nevertheless, the nature of the possible war by then between
Khartoum and Juba wasn’t the same as the previous civil wars (e.g.,
Anya-nya and SPLM/A) because of the new reality that the warring
parties were ruling two separate independent countries that are already
recognized legitimately by the United Nations, the African Union and
other international bodies and individual countries. The two countries
have also recognized each other’s independence when they opened
their respective embassies in Juba and Khartoum and exchanged
resident Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors. Such war, if
allowed to be fully conducted, would no longer be an internal affair.
Regional and International intervention was eminent. Thus, the AU had
to take it upon itself to mediate for negotiations through a High-Level
Implementation Panel (AUHIP) chaired by the former South African
President, Thabo Mbeki and with Abdulsalam Alhaji Abubakar (former
Nigerian President) and Pierre Buyoya (former Burundian President) as
core members.
The AUHIP led by these peer of former presidential elders and advised
by some experts on Sudan and South Sudan (like Alex de Waal) tried to
contain the situation though tensions over the post-CPA and post-
independence issues continued unabated. To make things worst, the
SPLM’s regime in Juba decided to shut-in oil production in January
2012 when the resource makes up over 90% of the government budget
and expenditure. The core justification was that Khartoum was taking
and taping out secretly the crude oil from South Sudan without
permission from Juba. In retaliation, the NCP’s regime in Khartoum
decided to close down the regular borders movements of the people
and tradable goods along South Sudan. In April 2012 the two countries
went for a brief but deadly war over the lucrative Heglig (known
originally as Panthou) oil facility that has been managed by Khartoum
while claimed by Juba. The UN Secretary-General, U.S President and
other allies mounted a pressure on Juba to leave Heglig to Khartoum.
Juba was left with no power to cement itself but withdraw from the
contested area with regrettable costs to many lives of soldiers.
But the accusations of each side for supporting rebel’s activities to
topple each others’ regimes became intensified with smearing and
rhetorical propaganda. The Sudan Parliament went as far as declared
Juba as “an enemy state”. The First Vice President of the Sudan issued
orders to shoot-and-kill any person found smuggling goods at the
border and to confiscate the caught trucks and other properties from
such betrayers.
The post-independence negotiations got stalled until breaking news
came later when Presidents Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Salva Kiir
Mayardit were invited to Addis Ababa by the AUHIP to be direct
participants of the September 27, 2012 agreements between their
respective countries. These were:
1) The Cooperation Agreement signed by Presidents Kiir and al-Bashir
themselves (confirming commitment to common viability and other
bilateral agreements);
2) Security Arrangements Agreement signed by the Ministers of
Defence, H.E. John Kong Nyuon for South Sudan and H.E. Lt. Gen
(PSC) Eng. Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein for the Sudan (to
demilitarize the border, starting with 10-crossing corridors)
3) The Border Issues Agreement (including demarcation and Zero-
Points identification);
4) The Framework Agreement on the status of Nationals of the other
state and Related Matters (e.g. Interior Ministers chairing negotiations
of details of implementation of the Four Freedoms: to Reside, to Move,
to conduct Economic Activity, and to Own Property);
5) The Framework Agreement to Facilitate Payment of Post-Service
Benefits (to establish principles and mechanisms that ensure
uninterrupted, timely and convenient payment arrangements for the
retired or pensioned citizens of either state);
6) The Agreement on Certain Economic Matters (Division of Assets and
Liabilities, Arrears and Claims and Joint Approach to the International
Community to erase Khartoum’s debts while it shoulders Juba’s share
but with no division of assets as a condition);
7) The Agreement on Oil and Related Economic Matters (Waiving the
arrears, Resumption of South Sudan Oil Production, Transit through
Sudan and Transitional Financial Arrangements, all costing USD 24.5
per a barrel for 42 months so as to enable Sudan to diversify its
economy for resilience after losing many oil fields to South Sudan);
Cool The Agreement on Trade and Trade Related Issues (pursuing
independent trade policy while considering the possibility of common
policies and adhering to policies of regional and international
organizations to which each state belong); and
9) The Agreement on a Framework for Cooperation on Central Banking
Issues (acknowledging the need for cooperation in the management of
monetary and fiscal policies to maintain confidence and control
inflation that could destabilize exchange rate due to fluctuations, and
continuing to adhere to international finance and banking standards).
The rest of the seven agreements were all signed by the Chief
Negotiators of the two countries (H.E. Pagan Amum Okiech for South
Sudan and H.E. Idris Abdel Gadir for the Sudan). For operational
institutionalization, the National Legislative Assemblies of the two
countries had to cordially ratify them within 45 days from the time of
signature so that the necessary mechanisms for effective monitoring
would get established in addition to regular or extraordinary Heads of
the two States Summits, Ministerial Meetings and Technical
Committees (and Sub-Committees) Meetings.
Some mechanisms commenced as expected but got slowed down later
by the tsunamic change of cabinet in Juba in July 2013 and the
resultant outbreak of mid-December 2013 crisis of the deadly SPLM/A’s
leadership struggle. Though Khartoum tried to portray itself as neutral,
Kampala direct intervention to take side with Juba in the war against
Dr. Riek Machar’ rebellion provoked the NCP’ regime to rethink its
September 2012 rapprochement despite the fact that one of the IGAD’s
Mediation Envoys (i.e, Gen. Ahmed Mohamed al-Dabi) was a Sudanese
Government’s nominee while Uganda was totally knocked out from the
mediation as a result of objection by the SPLM/A-IO. The counter
accusations and suspicion of maliciousness of one country against the
other continued.
Notwithstanding, the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict
in South Sudan (ARCSS) made Khartoum to be hopeful a bit with a
hope of bettering relations with Juba. President al-Bashir, and as a
member of IGAD’s Summit of Heads of State and Government,
appended his signature on the deal as a guarantor in the company of
other Presidents and Prime Ministers of the bloc who also signed the
peace document as guarantors in Addis Ababa. But before signing H.E.
al-Bashir voiced out his protest on the continuous use of the name
“Sudan Liberation Movement/Army” by the warring parties while South
Sudan is no longer part of the whole Sudan that the SPLM intended to
liberate in the past against the Islamic and Arabized injustices.
Khartoum was keenly interested in the ARCSS so that the Sudan could
gain from the stability in South Sudan, especially if Chapter II is
implemented in letter and spirit as provided in article 1.5 for the
withdrawal of Ugandan Forces from South Sudan within 45 days
(except in Western Equatoria due to the previous agreement on hunting
the LRA before the outbreak break of mid-December 2013 crisis), and
also as stipulated in article 1.6 for disarmament, demobilization and
repatriation of Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SPLM-North, JEM, SLA-
Minnawi, SLA-Abdel Wahid) within the pre-transitional period by the
state actors with whom they have been supporting.
This could be the crux of the matter why Khartoum sent a chilling
decision in mid-March 2016 to treat South Sudanese nationals as aliens
and close the border for security reasons. Fast steps that have been
taken by Juba to get admitted into the East African Community might
have also hastened the vile of Khartoum to decide the way it did.
Khartoum might have gotten worried of not harvesting the fruits of
ARCSS as its implementation is over-delaying while time is running out.
With no Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in place
and effectively operational in Juba, defeating and destroying the Sudan
rebels’ forces shall remain a nightmare to the NCP’s regime. But again,
pushing Juba to disarm, demobilize and repatriate the Sudanese
Revolutionary forces is not an easy project to pursue because it has a
tremendous cost to lives, properties and finance of South Sudanese.
Perhaps, if the AUHIP manages to strike a peace deal between the
Sudan rebels and Khartoum, that could be the only safer exit by Juba
from that trap.
Khartoum doesn’t trust the SPLM-Juba because of its connection to
the rebels of the Sudan and also to President Yoweri Museveni of
Uganda, despite his two-day bilateral visit to Sudan in September 2015
where it was highlighted that there shall be renewed cooperation
between them in security, intelligence and defence matters. Kampala
has been accusing Khartoum of harbouring the Lord Resistance Army
(LRA) of Joseph Kony in a remote area in Darfur region and assisting
them with arms. Nonetheless, Khartoum has been appreciating
Kampala for restricting activities of Sudanese rebels who used to hold
meetings in Uganda and get arms through it. That could be part of the
motivation why President al-Bashir took the risk of ICC’s Warranty of
Arrest and travelled to Uganda on May 12, 2016 for Inauguration of
President Museveni’s fifth term of presidency and further discussion
on bilateral ties even with protests by US, Canadian and some
European Governments.
It seems probable that the recurrent chilling bilateral relations between
Khartoum and Juba shall not get eased unless there is peace in both
countries. The positive moves towards revitalization of the delayed
ARCSS implementation shall make Khartoum to slow-down and monitor
the new political developments. The suspension of operationalization
of hullabaloo of the 28 states until a political consensus is reached as
directed in the January 2016 Communiqué of IGAD’s Council of
Ministers, may also cool the nerves of Khartoum to be patient and
improve the bilateral ties with Juba. Not only these but also if the
development partners and rest of international community come to aid
of Juba for easing the dire humanitarian situation and rescuing the
collapsing economy, Khartoum may reconsider its arrogant attitude
towards Juba. The NCP plotters could get tamed more if the TGoNU
sent to Khartoum a very high-level delegation composing of prominent
representatives of the four principal parties to the ARCSS to discuss
the hot issues with President al-Bashir and his cabinet. Their negative
attitude towards Juba may subside immediately with Abyei becoming a
bridge between the two countries as dreamt by veteran Ambassador
Francis M. Deng.
The result of that unique visit shall speed up the paralyzed progress of
the required missing ministerial and technical committees for the
proper institutionalization of the specific instruments of implementing
the signed bilateral agreements or renegotiating them. The normalized
cordial relations between Juba and Khartoum shall enable both
countries to venture into unsuspicious joint activities for rebuilding the
two states with common prosperous viability. Some of the
marginalized professional South Sudanese diplomats shall be willing to
help and use the nuance they have had within the Sudanese diplomacy
so as to generate fruitful gains within the context of sustainable peace
and desirable neighborliness as stipulated in the constitutional
principles of the two countries.
Thus, the key to ending the unending Khartoum-Juba diplomatic,
security and economic rows or show-downs is to properly
institutionalize the bilateral relations and cement it with concrete
mutual interests that each state will be sensitive to compromise at any
cost. Diplomacy and international relations is supposed to be based on
the premise that isolation is not an option but interdependence with
keen understanding and skilful management of sophistication of the
globalization process.
It is high time the TGoNU prioritizes a reformed and transformed South
Sudanese diplomacy in order to protect invigoratingly the national
interests and safeguard the territorial integrity; identify and level the
extent of cooperation or competition with others; preserve the national
security and stability and contribute in doing the same to the region
and the world at large; cement the development of core national
economic, social and political objectives; and motivate the influential
positive actors while neutralizing the negative ones.
Dr. James Okuk is lecturer of politics reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com



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Facts about Sudan and South Sudan bilateral relations
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