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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudan decries slow progress in peace deal

April 14, 2007 (NAIROBI) — South Sudan on Saturday decried the slow progress in the implementation of the historic north- south peace agreement, which ended Africa’s longest civil war in the vast region.

Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, South Sudan Regional Cooperation Minister Bernaba Marial Benjamin called on regional countries, which spearheaded the peace process to move to intervene and ensure specific aspects of the deal are implemented to make unity attractive.

Benjamin said two years after the triumphant signing of the landmark peace deal, escalating militia attacks in the south and continued disputes over ownership of Sudan’s oil fieldss, mainly located in the south, and power sharing have not been resolved.

“Although some achievement and progress has been made in certain areas of relative peace and stability yet, there have been some areas of militia attacks with tactic support from some anti- CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) extremists from some sections of the National Congress Party (NCP),” Benjamin told journalists in Nairobi.

He said there has not yet been any progress on ascertaining the north-south borders, which will determine the division of the oilfields.

“We are running late and yet these are important matters of concern which must be resolved quickly in order to make unity attractive. Those who helped find peace in Sudan must remain engaged to make sure peace agreement is implemented,” he said.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Khartoum government formed a coalition government after signing a peace deal in 2005 in Nairobi to end more than two decades of north- south civil war. The deal also ushered in a southern Sudan regional government.

“The National Petroleum Commission (NCP) must be encouraged to be transparent with oil contracts and the sharing of oil revenues. This is a very serious matter which we urge the IGAD to address in the next summit,” Benjamin said.

Sudan’s oil wealth, its output of 330,000 barrels per day of crude accounts for more than half the nation’s budget, forms a key part of the agreement.

Under the agreement, oil revenues from the south would be split roughly equally between the northern and southern governments.

But the dominant NCP, said Benjamin, continues to reject an independent commission, which under the deal determined Sudan’s two main oil fields are in the south.

“We need to show our people peace dividends in order to change their lives. We are not getting our fair share of wealth thus making unity unattractive,” the minister said.

Despite the formation of the government of national unity two years ago, Benjamin said progress in several key commissions and committees and other bodies, which were supposed to implement the agreement, are yet to be realized.

The minister decried the fact that the international community, which played a crucial role in the success of the peace deal, is merely watching as the situation deteriorates.

“IGAD and the international community must remain engaged and encourage our partners to implement all the delayed provisions of the CPA e.g. North-South Border demarcation, establishment of New Laws and full implementation of security arrangements,” he said.

“IGAD should commit itself and the international community to support CPA implementation politically and financially.”

Benjamin also said the much needed help from the international community has been slow in pushing for the honoring of various aspects and the much needed financial assistance.

“We have not been abandoned but there are areas which we feel the international community has distanced themselves from us which they would have been in a position to intervene,” he said without elaborating.

Although the international community welcomed the adoption of the CPA, analysts feel that many problems are preventing its implementation.

That the CPA does not address the problem of the conflict in western Darfur — or the marginalization of the Beja community in the east — could be another stumbling block.

The 2005 deal formed a national coalition government, a semi- autonomous southern authority, and ensured power and wealth sharing. Separate north and south armies were formed and the south can vote on secession by 2011.

(Xinhua)