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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan’s Abyei, the recipe to future north-south conflict

Abyei- the Ethio-Eriterian Badme of Sudan North-South Conflict Pending in Action (CPA)

By Bor Gatwech*

June 1, 2006 — The failure of the presidency to endorse Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) report notably manifested in the last week strategic SPLM-NCP meeting in Khartoum is a recipe to future conflict between North and South Sudan.

Notably, it has become crystal clear that the parties who signed the historic CPA- here Comprehensive Peace Agreement are very selective of what to implement and what to avoid.

Unfortunately enough, however, the parties don’t know that CPA is like a glass in which if you intend to break one part of it because it doesn’t bring your image beautifully or clearly, you inevitably destroy the whole frame.

As a matter of fact, SPLM on its own file has only prioritized to fight for issues related to South Sudan and its people in CPA implementations leaving NCP to burry explosive ordinances in other part of the country that will explode later and put CPA to ashes.

The case of Abyei is being shaped by the so called “the presidency” in the Sudan as a time bomb to peace loving people of the Sudan. My question is who are the people in the presidency failing to endorse the ABC report as stipulated in the CPA? Are they three, four, two or one in number? Have they agreed to make Abyei the Ethio-Eritrean Badme to test their military might on it before or after 2011? Is VP Salva part of the presidency or just knocked out by democracy of one against two?

Succinctly, there are clear evidences that NIF (NCP), the ruling party has no ideological and political will to make peace in the Sudan. Rather, it has tirelessly been investing in military hardware through oil revenue to have power to threat any commission, party, organization in the Sudan and beyond, who does not dance to the tune of its music.

As a result, SPLM need to prepare, equip and train our gallant force-SPLA to counteract misinterpretations of CPA by the hostile NIF as Conflict Pending in Action.

SPLM should not just give salaries for men in our uniforms, but proper professional training, and must purchase advanced military hardware to protect the marginalised people of the Sudan from NIF tyranny and dirty games.

CPA has to remain Comprehensive Peace Agreement and not anything else, and shouldn’t be implemented selectively by both parties. It’s neither for the south nor for the north; it is for the Sudan.

The conflict on Badme, a dusty town at the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea took some 100,000 lives between 1998 and 2000. It should be a lesson to African nations and international community at large for its likes not to happen again in Africa though not yet settled.

After referendum, many Ethiopians are determined not to cede any territory to Eritrea after having allowed its independence.

For Ethiopians who opposed Eritrean independence, the threatened loss of Badme is emblematic of the loss of Eritrea, while for many Eritreans the fate of that town of 5,000 cannot be separated from their worry that Ethiopia may one day try to regain access to the sea. For both sides, losing Badme would make the sacrifices of the 1998-2000 conflict much harder to justify (Crisis group report, 2003).

This game is coming alive in Sudan. Badme, unlike Abyei, is unfertile and dusty. However, it is Eden to the Eritrean, but a tactical legitimacy for Ethiopia to thwart development and prosperity for the young brother-Eritrea.

Unfortunately enough, NCP is tricking and conspiring to perform same game and theory: giving south no time for peace, development and prosperity before and after 2011 through Abyei. It has rejected the report made by 15 members of the commission, accusing them of overstepping their mandate and threatened to take the case to the “sharia” constitutional court, which are procedures never mentioned at all in the CPA.

* Bor Gatwech is a Sudanese living in Australia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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