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South Sudan remains split over receiving President Bashir

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By Ngor Arol Garang

March 18, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan remains split over whether the country should receive Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir for talks on key post-independence issues in the capital Juba.

In recent days senior figures in South Sudan’s ruling party - the SPLM - have given contradictory views on whether Bashir should visit and whether he should be arrested for alleged war crimes in Darfur if does.

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Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir (R) welcomes his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir (C) during his arrival at Khartoum Airport October 8 ,2011 (REUTERS)

A meeting between Bashir and his counterpart, Salva Kiir, is expected in the next few weeks to sign a border and four freedoms deals initiated by the delegations from the two countries Sudan in Addis Ababa on March 13, 2012.

The visit, which would reciprocate Kiir’s visit to Khartoum in October last year, will is managed to allow the two leader to break the deadlock over many other files.

The framework agreements allow nationals of each state the rights to enjoy “freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom to undertake economic activity and freedom to acquire and dispose property".

Last Wednesday, South Sudan top negotaitor Pagan Amum who is also the SPLM secretary general said he is aware that Sudanese president Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) but his country will not arrest him “because we have problems to settle first” and that South Sudan does not hold an ICC membership.

Luka Biong Deng, a senior member of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) commended the signing of the framework agreement on the four freedoms as well as reaching the deal on the border demarcation.

However, Biong said it would be wise if the venue where the two heads of state are scheduled to meet can be changed so it does not compromise South Sudan’s international values and moral obligations.

"With due respect to the position of [the SPLM’s] Secretary General, comrade Pagan Amum, I think it would be wise holding the summit elsewhere if the intention is to reach genuine agreement. The venue should actually remain Addis Ababa," Biong told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

He said that holding the summit in South Sudan would reflect badly on the new nation struggle, which fought Khartoum for over two-decades until a peace deal with Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) granted the region self determination.

Biong said that the Sudanese government is "killing of innocent civilians" in Darfur, where conflict started in 2003 as well in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the group allied to the SPLM began fighting the government last year.

"The killing of innocent civilian amounts to crimes against humanity”, Biong said.

The senior official who served as a cabinet minister in SPLM-NCP power sharing government Sudanese government, which was dissolved after South Sudan’s independence said “it would not be ethical or moral to allow those behind the killings in Darfur including his contested region of Abyei to get away with their crime for mere public relations”.

Biong, a native of the contested Abyei region is the Co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), which represents the Presidents of the two countries in the area.

Deng Ajok Dut, another member of the country’s ruling SPLM said he supported Biong’s position saying that the Juba government should not compromise its moral obligations and arrest alleged war criminals regardless of their political status.

“In my view, we need to act swiftly in order to avoid making mistakes. We have the moral obligations to stand with the citizens from Darfur, Nuba Mountains and of course citizens from Abyei”, Dut said.

Dut also question Amum’s statement the there was no obligation to arrest Bashir if he set foot in Juba.

"I think the leadership of our party will have to sit down and discuss thoroughly whether inviting President Bashir to Juba is really in the interest of South Sudanese when everyone knows he is indicted. We are still a young nation with a lot of things to do together with the international community" Dut said.

On Saturday a coalition of major civil society organisations in South Sudan issued a statement rejecting the position of the Secretary General of the SPLM Pagan Amum that the Juba government has no obligation to arrest Bashir if he travels to Juba for the crucial talks.

Bashir attended South Sudan’s independence ceremony on 9 July last year but tensions have steadily risen between the two nations, who have fallen out over oil transit fees for southern oil. Both sides fear that the other has a policy of regime change, with regular accusations that rebels groups are receiving outside support.

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for the conduct of Sudan’s army and paramilitaries in the nine-year Darfur conflict and is wanted to stand trial in The Hague. However, eight-month-old South Sudan is not a member of the court.

BIONG BACKS DEAL

Despite his misgivings over Bashir’s potential visit Biong said he fully supports the four freedoms and border deal describing it as “important step” to resolving contentious issues which the two parties have not been able to resolve over the years.

“I must recognise the importance of this agreement, especially the agreement on four freedoms. It has far reaching benefits particularly to the government in Sudan because it has citizens, whose livelihood depends largely on peaceful co-existence through building harmonious relations with the republic of South Sudan”, Biong told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

“There are about two million nomads from the north who enter the South every year to access water and pasture for their cattle. This explains why this particular agreement is very important to the north more than the South which has only about 500,000 to 700,000 people [in the north]”, he explained

The senior official believes that honouring the deal would have social and economic benefits that would encourage mutual relations and viability of the two states since citizens from both states would continue to interact with each other by enjoying freedom to reside, move, acquire and dispose off (sell) their properties while being able to undertake economic activities within the territories of the two states without fear of being their property being confiscated.

(ST)

Video:

Luka Biong Deng - Co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) discusses his perspective on the current political and economic situation in North and South Sudan.

Biong was speaking in Juba as part of an event - Juba calling: what next for South Sudan? - which was held on the 14th March 2012 at the offices of the Overseas Development Institute in London.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 19 March 2012 10:43, by stateman

    relax citizens as we flex our muscle supporting these rebels we must set a strategical visions and contingency plans be it diplomatically or military to protect our national interest and finish off these remaining protocols.we now on the right track as for bashir let him come will receive him as if he attend the independence celebrations as we have unfinished business.

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    • 19 March 2012 10:55, by stateman

      oil shut down should continue till lamu port is online facts are with that deal we get optical fibre cable technology,rail way system thats gives direct accesses to the port its cheaper than the deal khartoum is offering because of the parties involved on the lapsat project second lets put building a mega dam in jonglei canal project on the table this should give us more leverage on northern polit

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      • 19 March 2012 14:42, by Big Boy

        Dear Eastern

        That’s a foolish question? how did you see him or heard is he Southerner or Motherfuck Arab? A child miseducated is a child lost.you are totally lost eye sight or ear deaf.wherever you are? he’s Dinak too!

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  • 19 March 2012 11:30, by Eastern

    Is Luka Biong a South Sudanese?

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    • 19 March 2012 13:11, by Chol A.

      Stupid question, what do you think Luka Biong is ya Foet!!

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      • 19 March 2012 14:38, by Eastern

        So you have time to answer stupid questions?

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        • 19 March 2012 23:01, by Tiger

          Eastern!
          that’s the best answer man.

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  • 19 March 2012 11:39, by stateman

    benefits of the four freedoms:as we deporting southerners back home our national security organs can infiltrate within surgically,coordinate closely with anti government groups which can be influenced and given support including rebels to run a proxy war bring in foreign elements hostile to the north to sabotage their progress if we ever need to implement our hidden agendas

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  • 19 March 2012 11:45, by Emporio

    let bashir come to south and have acup of wine with his counterPart lord moyar of juba , at lease he can relax and remember some unfinished protocols of CPA,south sudan is not ICC police

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  • 19 March 2012 12:25, by Sudan virus

    Bashiir is obstacle to all the two Sudans . Let me tell you this seret-its he clan and some few Arabized black African Sudanese who are supporting him.

    The real Arabs hate him just the way they hate late president Gaddafi of Libya, Ousted president Ben Ali of Tunisia, ousted president Mubbarack of Egpyt, outed president of Yemen and current under pressured president Basra Asad of Syria

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  • 19 March 2012 12:34, by Sudan virus

    So i mean its the think tank of both Sudans to decide weather he should be arrested if he visits SS or.Otherwise his visit to South Sudan is still normal because we have some CPA elements to completed. On the other he might be dodging to implement the remaining articles of the CPA so that we can still gain support from some South Sudanese-without him still the remaining protocols can be implement.

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  • 19 March 2012 13:39, by pabaak

    Peace agreement was not singed in Juba, those who think that coming of Bashir to South Sudan will bring peace are pool, if he does not abide by the six year old CPA period, how do you think will be abide by Juba agreement? we should not allow him to set foot here, he will go back and dance that he has defy international law by visiting South Sudan.

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    • 20 March 2012 04:00, by SeekingTruth

      Thanks you a lot Pabaak,
      Indeed! those who think Bashir brought the CPA and his visit would also bring something positive to the South are really stupid. Reckon that Bashir is being driven right now by lack our oil flow through their territories which all of you knew that the entire North Sudan economy was depending on. If it wasn’t because the oil was shut down, do you southerners especially....

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      • 20 March 2012 04:11, by SeekingTruth

        ....those of you who claim to be intellectuals think President BAshir would have offered to visit South Sudan for the sake of the outstanding issues?? Don’t be too dumb to reason within your noses! How many agreements has Al-Bashir already dishonoured, most of them documented internationally leave alone this framework which is not even signed yet?

        Bashir is after is interest to say the least!

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        • 20 March 2012 04:21, by SeekingTruth

          Everybody need peace including myself and it should be done somewhere else, not South Sudan where each one of us cries daily of the atrocities Al-Bashir had committed on our people! What sense does it make when you cry about the person for doing you wrongs and at the same time be so quick to jump on his bandwagon when he is at full using his baits as usual?

          It will as well mean peace regardless.

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          • 20 March 2012 04:27, by SeekingTruth

            ...regardless where it’s signed. It doesn’t necessary feel so important if it’s done or welcome crooks to the South. I wish this visit would mark the end of Al-Bashir...pretty much, it will be historical if not ironical !

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  • 19 March 2012 15:45, by JAMES KUOI STEPHEN

    My opinion contributed to more talking and signations,with Northern government of Sudan. Don’t ignored neither rejecting your independence and Principles of CPA!With allowing more compromise to signations. Don’t always give Bashire a chance to abused us!.Bashire is our enemy not friends or neighbourhood,We should stop more discussion with our enemies,he was not respecting Human Rights.

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    • 19 March 2012 19:17, by bior angeth

      Those who say Bashir should be arrested in the South Sudan, you are saying what you do not know. Who is negotiating peace with South Sudan, not Omar Bashir? You have to be fair in your judgement! If anyone among us Southerners wants to arrest Bashir, let him go to Khartoum. Let him not drag the country back to needless war. What is going to be achieved by arresting Bashir in Juba?

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      • 20 March 2012 04:34, by SeekingTruth

        Bior,
        Arresting Al-Bashir in Juba will go down the story book with the over 2 millions Africans he has killed.

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        • 20 March 2012 06:18, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

          Seeking truth
          Please assess the situation, I am not meant to insult you but what do you do for living? The matter of arresting Bashir is a common sense that does not need argument amongst each other, why are we not fair? The Bashir visiting is related to what we accepted, “comprehensive peace agreement,”
          Why do we hate Bashir and NCP? Because Bashir is the head of the country whom we are

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          • 20 March 2012 06:20, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

            engaging with about our outstanding issues and if he say no within one hour time, than the negotiation would be off even though we got our country, we would be in a disputes of unresolved issues with another new incoming member of NCP,
            You need to know that we are not agent of ICC however I know Bashir has murdered and massacre lots of people but if we need to arrest him [Bashir]; we would open

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            • 20 March 2012 06:25, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

              our own case apart from ICC because we are independent party,
              I know you are very wise man and seeking for the truth which is the right of everone but when it come to act in a certain situation, we first need to know what will be the catastrophe in term of consequences,
              God bless you,
              Foregave me if i offence you, i rest my case

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              • 21 March 2012 06:22, by SeekingTruth

                DD SPLM,
                My understanding on your take tells me that you want the oil to flow through North Sudan again, which is the same gambling the South officials are opting for seemingly. What a shame to say the least! I thought all of us( South citizens) including gov’t elites agreed to take some risks when we decided to shut down the oil! Didn’t you too Mr. DD SPLM?
                I think politicians who truly ........

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                • 21 March 2012 06:35, by SeekingTruth

                  ...represent Southerners would do something different to counter the challenges you’re alluding to than actually advocating for a resumption of the oil flow through Northern Sudan. Those of you who are currently advocating should also acknowledge that sometimes you need to take risks before you refer to yourself as mr. "INDEPENDENT", otherwise we’ll always be attached to Arabs through this thinkin

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  • 20 March 2012 08:54, by Ross

    Dearest
    I’m wondering, we discuss many issues regarding RSS and SD relationship, and forgotten the other foreigners who are making business in RSS even the simplest one that we should do. Our economy is going out while we are after politics. Why don’t we make change and do all works alone so as we benefit from the little economic we have?

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    • 20 March 2012 09:20, by Sudan virus

      With out hormonal political government the economic of a country can not grow-that is why successive Khartoum governments made us southerns the poorest on earth.

      Therefore, politics first economic later because the hot war has been missed with cooled war.

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