Home | News    Thursday 15 March 2012

US seeking help from other countries to put financial pressure on Sudan


March 14, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – A United States (US) official will travel to the Middle East in the coming weeks to seek the help of governments there in pressing Khartoum to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to rebel-held areas in the border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

US Special Envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman testifies at the Senate Foreign Relations Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on March 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

The two states have been the scene of fighting between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and rebels from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N). The latter had been part of what is now the army of South Sudan during the north-south civil war, which was officially concluded by the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

South Sudan, which became independent last July, continues to reject accusations by Khartoum that is backing SPLM-N operations.

With the displacement caused by the fighting and inaccessibility of parts of these states, there have been warnings about a looming humanitarian crisis unless aid groups are allowed in. US officials and aid experts have said that as many as 250,000 people could be on the brink of famine by the end of April.

There has been a joint initiative unveiled last month by the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Arab League (AL) which called for the three organisations to assess the needs and humanitarian situation throughout the conflict area, and then to deliver assistance to the needy.

While the SPLM-N agreed to it, Khartoum has yet to give its blessings to the plan.

The US have warned that it could act unilaterally to deliver relief even without Khartoum’s consent. But the latter rejected any plans for an aid corridor without involvement by its government organisations, saying that supplies could go to SPLM-N rebels.

At the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, the special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said that they prefer to get approval from Khartoum because it would be the most efficient method.

"Should Khartoum agree to allow access to international humanitarian organisations across the lines of fighting, there must be swift progress on implementation. If necessary, we will examine ways to provide indirect support to Sudanese humanitarian actors to reach the most vulnerable. We have monitoring and accountability tools to make sure that civilians would be the beneficiaries of these activities. Nevertheless, an international program, as proposed by the UN and its partners, is the best means to reach the most people and we continue to urge the government to approve it,” Lyman said.

The US official said the economic crisis faced by the Sudanese government as a result of secession of the oil rich south provides a leverage opportunity particularly in the light of the agreement signed between Khartoum and Juba on Tuesday, which will pave the way for a summit between Presidents Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Salva Kiir.

“I think the opportunity is coming up as a result of this agreement that was reached in Addis because what it focused on more specifically was the recognition on the part of the negotiators from Khartoum is that they face a very major economic problem and the only way out of that is not just an oil agreement with the south because the south can only provide so much out of that,” he said.

Lyman said that Khartoum’s allies namely China and the Arab countries should be convinced to press Khartoum on the humanitarian issue in return for financial assistance.

“And therefore what matters is the kind of assistance they will get from their friends in the Arab world, China, etc.” Lyman said

He also disclosed that some unnamed countries have recently “stopped giving Sudan considerable assistance”.

“[W]hat now we can do and I think is important that we do, is work with those countries on the kind of support they offer to Khartoum that is to encourage Khartoum…That they have to deal with Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. You can’t have a big investment and donor program in the middle of that…But also to give them encouragement that if they do the right thing and do the right kind of agreement that the support would be there for them to deal with their major economic problem. That what I think we have to work on a great deal more” Lyman added.

“A colleague of mine is going to be visiting the Middle East later this month to talk with the countries in that area” he revealed.

The US envoy hailed this week’s accord between Sudan and South Sudan that was brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHUP) chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki. However, he warned that without a resolution to the issue of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the environment for talks will be poisonous.

“You can’t get to the atmosphere they are talking about if we don’t make progress in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. It is simply poisoning the situation… It is forcing them to clash on the borders because both have security concerns in those areas. We have to make progress before the summit [between Bashir and Kiir]; that will lead only to quieting of hostilities but hopefully the atmosphere political talks can start” Lyman said.

He went on to say that he sees signs that the Sudanese government is changing its attitude towards ending the conflict with SPLM-N.

“Another factor quite frankly the growing realisation in Khartoum that there isn’t a military solution to this conflict and that simply going on with the fighting and facing the opprobrium of a humanitarian disaster is not in their interest…..The argument and I think the resistance that has come out from Khartoum has been is that they see the situation and the calls for international assistance as a plot to get inside Sudan and eventually take these areas south and they see a repeat of the CPA. That the international community will come in then they will set up camps then they will set up peacekeeping operations and pretty soon the government will lose control of more of its territory…..so there is deep suspicion of the motives of the international community and they see this as ‘we are not gonna go down the path again we are gonna keep the country together even if we do it through military means”.

He expressed guarded optimism on the chances for a breakthrough on post-secession issues between Khartoum and Juba. The two sides remain locked in disputes over issues including the position of their borders, control of the disputed Abyei territory, and the transit fees South Sudan pays its northern neighbour to export oil from Port Sudan.

Tensions have been further exacerbated since South Sudan shut down all its oil fields in January in protest of Khartoum’s seizure of crude it said was to make up for unpaid fees.

"We have seen these re-commitments before. So while we take a great deal of hope from them, a lot will depend on what happens over the next several weeks," Lyman said.

Nancy Lindborg, a senior official at the US Agency for International Development, said the US hoped that the new agreements due to be signed during Bashir’s trip would open the door to the worst hit regions.

"If necessary we will examine ways to provide indirect support to Sudanese humanitarian actors," Lindborg said, without providing details. "We stand ready to immediately deliver food and humanitarian assistance to those in need”.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 15 March 2012 10:17, by RUMBEK ONE

    The system is called ’Carrot and Sticks’ in Management. There is nothing that US can do aprt from talking talking assistance everyday. This is bringing shame to the victims than helping them.
    This is a bullying mentallity and US must account for this..

  • 15 March 2012 10:33, by Daniel Buolmawei

    "what it focused on more specifically was the recognition on the part of the negotiators from Khartoum is that they face a very major economic problem and the only way out of that is not just an oil agreement with the south because the south can only provide so much out of that,”

    A major economic problem? Excellent!

    • 15 March 2012 14:50, by mohammed ali

      Daniel,you didn’t discover America! We have a major economic problem, so what & why should that make you happy? Is it just to quench your hatred?! America, Britai,France, Italy, not to mention Greece or Spain are all facing very major & huge economic problem.What about your country, which should concern you first? Do you have economy at all? You have 4.7 millions, that is more than 50% of your...c

      • 15 March 2012 15:00, by mohammed ali

        ..population are starving, hundreds died of hunger, major security problems, tribes are fighting with each other , in your capital Juba 3 are killed daily & your government is loooooting billions of dollars of the poor marginalized citizents.It would be far better for you to concentrate on solving your own problems than celebrating our plight, & we will be happy for you.Our predicament...con

        • 15 March 2012 15:17, by mohammed ali

          ..might quench your hatred, but certainly it would neither make life better in SS or solve your formidable problems.Sudan Tribune is putting a title which satisfies your hatred but the man didn’t talk about pressure.He talked about stopping hostilites on the borders, creating the right enviorment for investment & support, providing idirect help to Sudanese organisations to avoid the repetition...c

          • 15 March 2012 15:26, by mohammed ali

            ..Darfur or SS story & in other words stopping the war. Apparently that is very positive, we don’t war, we don’t want blood shed & we don’t hostilities or enemies.We want peace & we want investment; which good for human being living in Sudan N or S.There is no hint that they are going to do anything unilaterally, on the contrary ,they will provide assistance thrugh local Sudanese organisations...c

            • 15 March 2012 15:40, by mohammed ali

              ..which is fine.Monitering these organisation is welcommed, we have to moniter them even more strictly! Unfortunately Sudan Tribune see things with their hateful eye ,hence is their negative title.It is true that we donn’t trust US,we have our good reasons.Apperantly they want to stop the war & hostilities across the borders. We know from where the support comes , certainly Amercans know better!

          • 15 March 2012 15:32, by zulu

            Well said. these guys are feeling the hurt n we will not make a mistake to get the oil northward. How expensive does not make sense because uganda next door is planning to ship its oil n where is it going to get the billion $$$$ 2 build refineries and pipelines? Over 30m sudanese have meager income now and the dollar is rising.

            • 15 March 2012 16:42, by mohammed ali

              (( the only way out of that is not just an oil agreement with the south because the south can only provide so much out of that,” he said. It is not about oil, can’t you read.You just want , pathetically to satisfy and quench your hate. Read this carefully: you will never be able to build a pipe-line.

            • 15 March 2012 17:08, by Northern Sudanese


              A sudanese citizen is in a far more better situation than a south sudanese citizen so i suggest you better shut up......

              • 16 March 2012 04:15, by zulu

                Northern Sudanese,

                South’s GDP is the highest of all neighboring countries, including Egypt. Get your facts right. The world is hurt with the high oil prices, even if we produce less, its impact affects global output that soars the prices up. With that as well, Sudan is hurt because of theft and the lack of discernment.

                • 16 March 2012 05:30, by Corrector

                  "South’s GDP is the highest of all neighboring countries, including Egypt"

                  Gdp (Egypt) [as of 2012]: 218.9 Billion
                  (The Sudan) [as of 2012]: 62.05 Billion
                  (South Sudan) [as of 2012]: 12.368 Billion

                  Get your facts right.

  • 15 March 2012 19:37, by Anynya One

    See how "Reckless" Arabs acting? Why would China and the Arab countries be convinced to press Arab immigrants in Khartoum on the humanitarian issue in return for financial assistance just to rescue our poor Nubians, Darfur & other tribes etc. while everybody knows Arabs intentional motives I.e. force, rap/ spread Islamic religion, and loot all resources by wiping &/or committing genocidal acts!!!

  • 15 March 2012 20:09, by davesam

    It is important to put this pressure to turn things around.
    Film porno

  • 15 March 2012 22:43, by Longa

    This time around Khartoum got it rough. It was using food as a weapon to wipe out South Sudanese through out 80’s and 90’s. This time the world is aware of the genocidal doom planned by Khartoum to wipe out the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The world will not make a mistake for that to happen. It is very sad. Where are the Sudan intellectuals? This is an immoral act by NCP!!!!

  • 16 March 2012 03:56, by Daniel Buolmawei

    Mohammed, please stop preaching peace that will not be realized. Hear from this radical and you will never be thinking of peace anymore. What kind of peace you think will happen if such extremists like this one exist in Sudan? Listen, he called Christian priests monsters and Christianity cult, and furious against Khartoum’s governments for allowing monsters to preach in the streets of Khartoum.

  • 16 March 2012 03:57, by Daniel Buolmawei

    Here’s the firm, listen to it below:


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