Home | News    Wednesday 2 May 2012

South Sudan asks IGAD to help AU resolve conflict with Sudan


By Tom Law

May 1, 2012 (LONDON) - South Sudan’s lead negotiator with Sudan over post-independence issues and resolving the current conflict indicated Tuesday that he hopes East African countries can play a larger role in talks between Juba and Khartoum.

Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum speaking at Chatham House in London on 1 May 2012 (Photo: Chatham House)

Pagan Amum told an event at Chatham House in London that South Sudan’s "primary membership" was of East African regional bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and then continental bloc the African Union, which has been mediating between the two sides.

Pagan who is also the Secretary General of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that there was an "important role to be played by our region" in resolving the un-demarcated border, disputed territories, oil fees, citizenship, debt and other issues.

Sudan and South Sudan are both members of the seven member regional group, which mediated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended two decades of civil war between Khartoum and the SPLM.

South Sudan joined the body after its independence last year joining Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

However, the regional organisation has been marginalised in the talks over the implementation of the peace agreement and the outstanding issues. The AU Peace and Security Council became much more involved after 2005 attempting to positin itself as lead-institution in resolving conflict and maintaining peace on the continent.

Amum’s comment, that he would like to see IGAD "playing a more active role" in the negotiations, comes after severe criticism of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) by some South Sudanese officials in recent weeks.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, chairman of the AU mechanism, has also come under criticism for his role at the negotiations, which had been taking place on and off in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa until conflict broke out over the disputed oil-rich area of Heglig in April.

On 2 April, South Sudan’s information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters in Nairobi that his government was unhappy with the AU report to the UN Security Council about the recent border clashes. Some South Sudanese officials have gone further and accused Mbeki of being closely linked to Khartoum.

However, Amum said that he was happy with the road map laid out by the African Union Peace and Security Panel (PSP) calling on the two sides to resume talks and resolve key issues within three months.

Amum reaffirmed the readiness of his country to return to the negotiating table but was waiting for Sudan to do the same. South Sudan already informed The African Union of its acceptance to resume talks with Sudan.

Khartoum announced Monday its formal acceptance of the AU road map but accused Juba of occupying recently a number of disputed locations on the border between the two countries.

Sudan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said Tuesday that South Sudanese forces were currently occupying nine areas he claimed were northern Sudanese along their 1,800 kilometre un-demarcated border.

Sudan has also said the talks should start with the security file including the presence of Sudanese rebels in South Sudan.

The African Union plan for peace, which gives the two countries three months to reach peaceful settlement over the disputed issues, is being debated at the UN Security Council. The US drafted a resolution to endorse the African road map under Article 41 of Chapter 7 which would allow the world body to impose economic sanctions if the three month deadline is not met.

But China and Russia are seemingly reluctant to allow the sanctions threat to be included in the draft resolution, also but it appears unlikely that they will veto it should the vote proceed as planned on Wednesday.

Speaking about the Chinese role, in the resolution of the conflict between the two countries, the chief negotiator regretted that Beijing is being very "cautious". "They definitely need to be more proactive, especially in relation to Sudan and South Sudan," he further said.

Until last year China has been very close to Khartoum, often protecting it at the Security Council regarding Darfur, due to its interests in Sudan’s oil and other resources.

However, when South Sudan became independent Khartoum lost control of 75% of oil production.

A recent report from the International Crisis Group described how Beijing was having to find a balance between its old friends in Sudan and its new friends in the South.

Last week a South Sudanese lawyer and commentator, Macor Agok told South Sudan TV that China now has important interests in the new nation stressing that they expect the international community to exercise more pressures on Khartoum to stop the bombardment on his country.

Amum said they want to see China playing a more active role and to catch up its foreign policy with its international position, as they "have huge investments abroad".

"By trying to move away from Khartoum so as to get closer to South Sudan and trying not to get too close to South Sudan so as not to cause displeasure to Khartoum ... neither Khartoum nor Juba will be happy with China," he said.

Speaking at a later event at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Amum said that China had to "reconcile its two interests" but thought that Juba’s relations with China had a "bright future".

The recent visit of South Sudan President Salva Kiir to Beijing secured an $8 billion loan to build hydroelectric damns, roads, hospitals five universities as well as other development programmes, Amum said.

It was expected that South Sudan would use Kiir’s visit would secure China’s involvement in an oil pipeline to East Africa. Since February Juba stopped pumping its oil through Khartoum over an oil fee dispute, which saw Khartoum confiscate southern crude.

Amum told the audience at ODI both South Sudan and China would prefer to use Sudan’s infrastructure to export Juba’s oil "but it is not [good] business" considering the fees demanded by Khartoum.

China was considering joining Japan in developing the pipeline and other infrastructure that would negate landlocked South Sudan’s reliance good relations with Khartoum to export its oil, which - until the shutdown - accounted for 98% of the governments budget.


Audio of the Chatham House Event - Perspectives on the Sudan, South Sudan Crisis

Pa’gan Amum, Chief Negotiator of South Sudan: Perspectives on the Sudan, South Sudan Crisis (Click to download)

Q&A Recording (Click to download)

Transcript Perspectives on the Sudan, South Sudan Crisis HE Pa’gan Amum Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Secretary General and Chief Negotiator of the Republic of South Sudan Chair: Alex Vines OBE Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; and Head, African Programme, Chatham House. 1 May 2012
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  • 2 May 2012 08:46, by LL Reuben

    IGAD is better than the do-nothing-money-begging AU filled with terrorists sympathizers and like minded. Thabo is ineffective and doesn’t fit to continue mediating. He needs to go to nursing home where he should be not be involved in real issues affecting humans. Go back home old boy and eat your money, you’ve already earn enough than you need anyway.

    • 2 May 2012 10:33, by Lorolokin

      Mbeki only Option right now is to go and relax under his tree if any to chart with his grand children. Thanks for the wise decision taken by our leaders to criticize Mbeki role.
      That’s why there is a time to start and time for end, what you show is what you ripe.


    • 2 May 2012 11:44, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      Really Pagan Amun has already touches all the areas of the problem,between Khartoum and Juba,there was no rebel for Sudan,but Khartoum themselves has created this by occupting the area of South Kordoan and Blue state without implementating what is in CPA.AU and UN should known that,and IGAD should come in,former president o South Africa is a buyer and having link with Khart.


  • 2 May 2012 09:19, by Daniel Buolmawei

    "By trying to move away from Khartoum so as to get closer to South Sudan and trying not to get too close to South Sudan so as not to cause displeasure to Khartoum ... neither Khartoum nor Juba will be happy with China," he said."

    Exactly, that’s the position of China at the moment. But how long China maintains that position since they heard Khartoum labeled us as enemy # 1, before Israel.

  • 2 May 2012 09:30, by General B

    I thank Mr.CR.Pagan Amun for your excellent duty daily. Yesterday our Southern politicians were blindfolded by PCA and that was the reason Arabs claimed our land without saying single word in Hague Court because we would have lost our right to achieve new country. Today,let’s tell the entire world that Heglig (Panthou)belongs to Panaruu Dinka in Panrieng County. If not,let SPLA use forceful means

  • 2 May 2012 09:54, by viper

    Pagan, you need to send an official letter to AU stating to them the incompetence of Thabo Mbeki as a mediator between the two sudans. Mbeki is doing nothing and the worst of all is that, he is not neutral in the talks, hence you need to sit as decision makers of this country and dismiss him and we, the pple are behind you

    • 2 May 2012 10:36, by Lango2010

      why in the first do South Sudan allow this partial old man who is running out of sense to be mediator

  • 2 May 2012 10:14, by Moneky Tainer

    Jumping over the Rope:
    I think the rhetoric of the coming wars in The Sudan (North & south) would change a lot in the few coming months. Mottos of both governments will focus on fully radical factors to inflame the mainstream and add more fuel to the already burning situation. In the north, religion will be pivotal catalyst, while Nationalism will play the same role in the south..

  • 2 May 2012 11:21, by solider

    SUDAN STARTED PUMPING OIL FROM HEGLIG FIELDS RIGHT NOW . i just want to know what benefits ss gained from invading heglig? spla lost 1200 soldiers in heglig operation, r spla soldiers considered as useless animals so u can send them and die for nothing??!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 2 May 2012 12:44, by Beneben Bai

      soldier, since when do succesive khartoum governments work for the benefits of southerners (now South Sudanese)?. don’t talk of benefits here for us. we know where our benefits are and that is why you keep crying so that we don’t obtain them. we are now working hard to gain our benefits either on tables or by bulets

  • 2 May 2012 15:29, by Beneben Bai

    CMDR Pagan, you are strong man. keep phushing for our victory. that is the right direction. IGAD mediation is the one brought the CPA and what not solved are part of CPA. IGAD role need to be effective here otherwise the international community should not listen to khartoum, but come & find out by itself what is what on gound and on the table instead of sitting behind and sending out condemnations

  • 2 May 2012 16:05, by wadelsudan

    If you betray your husband and he divorce you,dont look for repairing the relationship, look for another husband or start prostituting around(chine,uganda,kenya), sudan will not do business with south we have no trust on you, we looking into alternatives for our economy

    • 3 May 2012 05:23, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

      Arab Northern settlers are Land grasper North should be called Northern settlers. Our southern leaders should not calling it Republic of Sudan. is settling them in Sudan.
      They are not Sudanese, they are not Black. Those black are getting over Rule by Arab colony.
      Called them Arab Northern settlers
      Called them Arab Northern settlers
      Called them Arab Northern settlers
      Arab land Graspers

  • 2 May 2012 16:36, by eye-of-an-eye

    The great Pagan will always honor y his fellow citizn from begining to the end of the world, Thanks for always standing still for your own people and country, its good thought and we hope for positive result than Africa union

  • 2 May 2012 17:05, by Beneben Bai

    S. Sudan has been the main market for sudan all the time. they kept it for so long without production facilities while looting its resouces. Lets see what are they going to do with their local products. i think they will dilute their sugar and salt and drink it. wear their slyppers, take bath with local soap, eat raw their onion .. ha ha ha haaa. They can not compet in Egypt or elswhere ha ha haaa

  • 2 May 2012 17:23, by Beneben Bai

    khartoum government, don’t make farfra. you are caught red handed here. you know what did to S. Sudanese, people of Darfur, Blus Nile and N. Mountain. you are going to pay for all your dids. S. Sudan is going to lead the case and all will come up on the table or you face the battle fields. your jalaby and moahmed ali kids are equal to nothing when facing such gloomy fate. take care and think twice

  • 2 May 2012 18:51, by wadelsudan

    Dont worry about nouth Sudan we have been handling our business since 55 years,u dont even have a soccer team, dont play victims,just take care of the icoming doom after less than a year of independ3nce, even if you pay 50$ per barrel we are not interested, you can block the river nile as well so you can all drawn of stupidity.

    • 3 May 2012 00:50, by Kurnyel

      Cowardice SPLM/A never ask IGAD for help any more because we told the world that only language you can hear is the sound of guns.

  • 3 May 2012 04:58, by Nguetbuny de Luelpiny

    If I was a decision maker of SPLA/M? Northern Arab Settllers should never spend a month to pumps the oil in south. we indigenous Africa have a right all over the sudan. North-south and west-East,letting Arab settlers invade our Land give them movementum to the interior Land of Africa. They slave ours people,still doing it now. Why not Advertise accrurate History of sudan to the World. repeat alway

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