Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 10 June 2012

The African Union Roadmap: Will it yield win-win solutions?


By Luka Biong Deng

June 9, 2012 — The roadmap adopted by African Union (AU) came as a result of the failure of Sudan and South Sudan to reach an agreement on the post-secession issues, which degenerated into war that threatened regional peace and security. While the main objective of the roadmap is to put the two states on the track of peace, the possible outcomes of the roadmap are less clear. South Sudan is keen to ensure its survival and build the new nation after years of prolonged civil war. But the regime in Khartoum also has an interest in making use of the roadmap to prolong its lifetime in power and reduce chances of regime change.

In fact the road of the negotiations will be rather bumpy as the parties will be calculative, trying to get maximum gains without running the risk of being labeled the bad guy by the international community. While the South, being a new nation, is concerned about its image, the regime in Khartoum seems less sensitive to pressure by the international community. Such behaviour of Khartoum might change in the light of a looming economic crisis, political challenges posed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front, serious division within the NCP leadership, increased international isolation and a possible popular uprising as a result of deteriorating living conditions.

The roadmap consists of measures to ease tension, facilitate a resumption of the negotiations and reach an agreement on the pending critical issues so as to normalise relation between the two states. In fact, the outcomes of the roadmap will be gauged not only by the final resolution of the pending issues but also by the process with which to reach such solutions. On the process, it would be in the best interest of the parties to amicably reach an agreement on the pending issues so as to ensure a win-win solution rather than having a win-lose solution imposed on them. Any imposed solutions will not be sustainable and may not contribute towards normalisation of relations.

Sometimes the process may be more important than the solution itself, particularly in a situation where two parties lack trust. Although Sudan may be inclined towards win-lose solutions provided by the African Union Panel, it would be in the best interest of the region to assist the parties reach an acceptable agreement on the pending issues.

On finding solutions, the parties, with the facilitation of the African Union Panel, reached a general understanding on most of the pending issues. On the oil, the remaining issues include transit fees, transitional financial assistance to Sudan, arrears and reconciliation of the outstanding oil claims. The most critical issue is the transit fees as Sudan suggested unreasonable fees that are inconsistent with international practices. It is likely that a solution will be found within the range of US$0.67 per barrel, as suggested by the South, and US$1 per barrel, as seen acceptable by some circles in the international community. Others have suggested US$3 per barrel. This will not be acceptable by the South as it far above the international norm and may set a precedent for its future alternative pipelines in the region. On financial assistance, the South accepted to contribute US$2.4 billion towards the US$10 billion deficit faced by Sudan, to assist in mobilising the international community to meet the remaining deficit and to relief Sudan of its US$40 billion debt. This provides a solid basis for reaching an agreement on oil and other issues.

On the border, there seems to be a great deal of difference between the parties. Sudan considers only four contested areas: Wanthou (Joda), Maganis, Kaka and Kaffia Kanje, and Hofrat el Nahas. The South, however, considers two additional areas: Panthou (Heglig) and the border area between Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Southern Darfur. Despite such differences, there is a way the parties can reach an agreement or find a mechanism for resolving the issue of the disputed border areas. In fact, the border dispute between Sudan and South is not unique. Most boundaries of African countries are not demarcated and many border areas remain disputed. Even Sudan’s other international boundaries are not clear and it has contested areas with most of its neighbours. With the secession, the South has inherited some of these disputed border areas.

The problem of the border between South Sudan and Sudan is that it has been agreed to be delineated as strictly administrative borders without due consideration to land use and communal flexibility. African land use practices are more inclusive than exclusive. Any strict boundaries will not be economically, ecologically and socially viable. The parties are likely to reach a solution either through compromise or by referring the disputed areas to an arbitration court, either a court in the UK, which has historical records, or the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Netherlands. The framework agreement reached by the parties on the four freedoms for their nationals will contribute in making their border soft and flexible.

On the final status of Abyei, the agreement of the parties will be guided by the Abyei Protocol and the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. As the parties have agreed on a referendum to determine the final status of the Abyei area, the focus should be on how to conduct such a referendum. The referendum should ensure that the Ngok Dinka, the indigenous population, freely express their views about the final status of their area. The definition of other residents who will participate in the referendum should not include nomads - whether from Sudan or from South Sudan. It is important that interests in land should not be confused with rights over land. The arbitration ruling has clearly defined the Abyei area as the land of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms and defined the interests in land as ensuring nomads access to water and pasture.

The South and the Ngok Dinka will be keen to have a referendum without being diluted by the participation of nomads. But Sudan will be interested in using Abyei as its bargaining chip to maximise its gains on other pending issues. Finding an amicable solution to the final status of Abyei will be less likely. The African Union Panel may be forced to come up with a solution. Such possible solution should attempt to reconcile the interests of the parties but within the parameters three of the Abyei Protocol and the arbitration ruling. Any solution that may temper again with the land of the Ngok Dinka will not only outrage the local population but renew conflict between the two countries.

During my participation in the first round of talks in Addis Ababa last week, I noticed that the parties are keen to comply with the roadmap. Although these talks did not yield good results, there is seriousness by the parties in finding solutions. During the talks, the South has performed well with a capable negotiating team. The team of Sudan was rather weak and lacked solid leadership. It is clear that Sudan is rapidly losing ground in the current talks. It is seen as irrational and unreasonable and it has more red flags of non-compliance with the roadmap. This poor performance should make Sudan cautious to defer any pending issues to the African Union Panel. Subsequently, there are good opportunities that the AU roadmap will yield win-win solutions.

Luka Biong Deng is senior member of the South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. He is the Chief Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee representing South Sudan President. Biong has held lots of high level positions including being a Minister of Cabinet Affairs, in the SPLM-NCP led government of National Unity in Khartoum during the six years of interim period of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), before resigning when Sudanese troops took control of his native region of Abyei in May 2011. He can be reached via lukabiong@kushworld.org

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  • 10 June 2012 06:12, by katnyokarieu

    luka biong don,t barked like dog ,u son of Abyei u are a problem to south. Curse on u and Deng Aloor.u people u have strongly misuse SPLA/SPLM power were ur ngok general are getting involve in politic instead of going tm front line like other south general .eg tiger Isaac mamur mete who fought many battles along with the true son of apandang george Athor Deng.

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    • 10 June 2012 06:22, by katnyokarieu

      u Abyei son u are like a prostitute.a man power today is friend ,see when nif government in khartoum was in power in united sudan u became most converted were to ilamic, and northerners when john garang was a rebel leader strong tied to bor community, now when salva became a president turn to be barh el ghazal, i hope when wani igga be president will also equartorian in central. Fuck ur ass gey.

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    • 10 June 2012 16:53, by Zionist

      Be kind, polite and moderate in your criticism, try to state your facts and referain from using your obscene and offensive language childishly in public forums as ST. And remember, criticism is meant for bringing about improvement, and indeed, you need to select your words carefully; otherwise, you’ll loose your arguent if there’s any at all.

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  • 10 June 2012 06:28, by Akol Liai Mager

    In my view, Abyei sons and daughters have performed and still performing well shoulder-to-shoulder with their non-Abyei counterpart brothers and sisters in the South. I will consider it a sin if I hate a son or a daughter because I do not like their dad or mum. Abyei Sons and daughters have made sacrifices beyond doubt and is upto anyone to see and deny it or pay respect to their contributions.

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    • 10 June 2012 19:26, by Zionist

      Akol Liai Mager
      The sons and daughters of Abyei’ve got what it takes to make things right, they’ve natural ability to exel, succeed and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their fellow South Sudanese. In 1983, they’ve helped in the formation of SPLA/M, became a backbone and prominent leaders in the movement that brought independence in 2012. However, in 1991 division, sons and ...

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      • 10 June 2012 19:39, by Zionist

        ...daughters of Abyei stood firm in support of SPLA/M "Torit faction", however, they’ve never turned their guns against fellow South Sudanese, a shining star on their chests, Although one of Abyei sons is included in the negotiating team; however, he’s not representing Abyei but South Sudan, and these’re mere facts.

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        • 11 June 2012 04:07, by Zionist

          ...I just don’t understand why would somebody as ignorant as "katnyokarieu ", who’s a refugee in Egypt trying to make his way to Israel instead of South Sudan, while those of Abyei’re making their journey home to the ruins, determined to rebuild the land they’re attached to, body and soul, I think those of Abyei are better off without those ignoratnts as "katnyokarieu", the ASYLUM SEEKERS.

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          • 11 June 2012 04:27, by Zionist

            ..."katnyokarieu", goodluck with your efforts of trying to be a refugee in Israel like the rest of South Sudanese asylum seekers in US, Canada and Australia, when the war’s over in South Sudan. You can choose diaspora as polite word, but you’re still a run-a-way Southerner who let the fight and negotiations to Abyei sons and daughters, while mouthing’em off, from diaspora.

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            • 11 June 2012 07:53, by katnyokarieu

              zionist am not seeking refugee in Isreal but seeking education in cario in higher instituation where ur,ur gangs of Abyei and barh el gazal are mounting corruption,steal USD 4 billion,which can modernised unversity of juba,make it a conducive environment for learning ss, but Abyei rooted have looted ss money, then we have get our way for higher education development not corruption as ur con..

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              • 11 June 2012 08:07, by katnyokarieu

                luka boing who is a dr of corruption not dr of philosopher,2015 is coming soon out all corruptionist rule true nationalist .

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              • 11 June 2012 17:58, by Zionist

                If you’re not seeking asylum in Israel, then you must be seeking a cure for your Abyeiphobia. I got a cure for you: just stop hating, and start loving your enemies from Abyei; because they love you as a fellow South Sudanese with whom they face the same common enemy.

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            • 11 June 2012 08:24, by katnyokarieu

              please to lie to the public,war are u people in Abyei if not the war of dick and ass.imagine the whole SPLA army in ss ,there is single abyei son in the rank ,only kuol diem kuol pieng deng kuol who are fighting with the head of John Garang in KCB and Bank of ss ,while misseryia spent almost 2 yrs in Abyei if u re brave why didn,t force them out of the Abyei,thanks God a friend of mine called con.

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              • 11 June 2012 08:35, by katnyokarieu

                in Juba told me that SAF have withdrawed Abyei refugee are beginning to leave twic mayardit and unity state to be resettle.am true soth sudanese i proud of my country,where i was borne and colloberated in liberation struggle.from the beginning 1983 to 1999 when left to Ethiopia than to kenya and finally in Egypt now soon iwll come to ss with my family.

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  • 10 June 2012 06:36, by Akol Liai Mager

    The use of "F" words and abusive Language is ineffective and does not bring any desirable changes. This where Sudantribune should be blamed for developing hatred that has been known to Khartoum Media. The didtor must abide by the setted regulations for comments making. Again, insults do not imply being well-parented or effective debator.

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    • 10 June 2012 06:48, by Akol Liai Mager

      correction; "the editor of Sudantribune must abide by the regulations setted for comments making". For Dr Luka, please discard the first two comments, look at other feedback comments and keep your gun pointing at the enemy as usual. The enemies of South Sudan are leaders of NIF, racist, religious and sectarian parties in Khartoum. May Almighty God bless South Sudan, Abyei sons and daughters.

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    • 10 June 2012 06:54, by katnyokarieu

      to akol liai mager .what contribution have u people of in Abyei contributed in the liberation struggle,instead of gossiping to salva kiir and by than to John garang,u either to say they talking strong part in looting s.sudan money. Could u please refer ur mind back to SPLM 2nd national convention 2008, how did mama Awut Deng Achuil firred luka Boing .did luka answered awut the brave woman

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      • 10 June 2012 07:02, by katnyokarieu

        why to discurt important comments like this, exactly is showing corrupt u re son of Abyei ,after all u have read and i post it ,am concern of what ihave said.

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        • 10 June 2012 07:21, by Akol Liai Mager

          Indeed, you should be concerned about what you have said because you haven’t fedback Luka or the readers about the views expressed in this article. The article is not about the heros or cowards, corrupted or angels. The topic is about the effectiveness of African Union Roadmap to bring accepted outcomes to both sides (South & North Sudan). Where does Luka promoted Abyei sons in this article?

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  • 10 June 2012 07:07, by Akol Liai Mager

    Luka Biong has provided is contact email just in case some readers need to discuss person issues with him. Why don’t you have guts to clearly identify yourself, use his email and challenge Luka personally? What is the crime that Luka committed here by saying what he has observed in the dialogue with our enemy where he has represented our country? Maybe I want to read the article again and see

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    • 10 June 2012 07:12, by Akol Liai Mager

      Maybe I should re-read the article again to see where Dr Luka failed South Sudan at the current Addis Ababa talks. But based on my first reading of the article, I felt thankful to Dr Luka for his information to the public to know exactly what was going on on those negotiations even if it is a little information.

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      • 10 June 2012 07:31, by katnyokarieu

        Akol Liai Mager than u might be one of the house boys in Luka Biong house ,if u re not seeing the failur the s.sudan is encountering in Adis,disputing heglig is tippically problem created by Luka Boing & Deng Aloor .u prepare the tea to ur master ,this site is not at level.

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        • 10 June 2012 07:44, by katnyokarieu

          Akol Liai Mager what identificaton do u want to e-mail u and Luka, rather than my name katnyokarieu, am now in Egypt cairo. Luka deng Aloor &Edward Lino , drag heglig in to thier ABC report is that not a big crime to them,they further more claim that the have bounder with parieng which disputed that,here i don,t see ur arguement.

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          • 10 June 2012 09:02, by Akol Liai Mager

            Defending, criticising, praising or insulting anyone including myself all are none of my business. What is my business is that I ask God to give me a wisdom that I could use to follow effective communications skills so that I can communicate wiht people with respect and acceptance. Even sending a message to my enemies, I ask God for that wisdom. That is the culture I was brought up with.

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            • 10 June 2012 09:16, by Akol Liai Mager

              What prompted me to respond to you are: 1 your own words do not reflect positive criticism and seemed not to be bordered either. 2 The awareness of your lacking a sense of responsibility is clearly demonstrated by your abusive words and collective condamnation of Abyei people. I could be one of the boys, but in the houses of all Abyei’s sons and daughters not only Luka.

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              • 10 June 2012 11:39, by Akook

                Akol Liai Mager, plse i am getting sick with your ballistic and blind argument defending whatever Luka Biong wrote on this web. Pls don’t u have anyother forum for you to make yourself known to Luka Biong rather than dismaying smart readers of this web on nosense defense argument!

                Luka is a human being, let him be criticise on his flaws like any other politician in the South

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                • 10 June 2012 13:07, by Akol Liai Mager

                  You must be right Akook if you considered insulting and abusing Abyei’s sons and daughters as smartness. I thought you can see my point, but if you don’t see it, then take my apology as simple as that.

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  • 10 June 2012 07:43, by Jur Tier

    To Luka Biong

    Many thanks for publicing this very first article. Fisrtly, you have demonstrated a sense of tranferency in your article. However, I would like to bring into your attention a few things here. The issue of Abiei is complicated by the khartoum government and all Southerners and the international community are aware about it. That is the first part of the Abiei dispute. Secondly,Abie

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  • 10 June 2012 07:54, by Jur Tier

    ... Abiei citizens like yourself have a part in its dispute. Here are the reasons why:
    1) majority of the educated Abiei citizens live in the North. This is where the khartoum government gets its chance. This causes confussion between the AU and the international community.
    2) Those with the little education like yourself never voice your concerns over this issue louder. What I mean here is...

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  • 10 June 2012 08:06, by Jur Tier

    you rely on the UN to decide for you and forgetting that it is you the Abiei citizens who will determine the AU and UN decisions over the Abiei. Even though you resigned from the then government of the national unity due to the Abiei invation, there is no doubt that you behaved a northerner and waken up by that invation. You therefore, need to review your past and see what the future will be.

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    • 10 June 2012 08:54, by katnyokarieu

      convient by Ayom Matien Ayom &Atem payiuen during the ABC report Luka knows what told to him this two brothers from Abyei about the the position of Abyei in the current problem.

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  • 10 June 2012 09:12, by mohammed ali

    I don’t think prolonging the liftime of the government of Sudan is of concern for the vast majority of the innocent, poor,decent & marginalized SS citizents.Their concern is to live in peace ,secure their food, educate their childrens & have a healthy enviorment in their rich & beautiful country. The regime in Khartoum to remain or change is not their problem as long as they live in peace.

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    • 10 June 2012 09:20, by mohammed ali

      con:This is the battle of the Abeyei sons gang who looooooooted billions and secured a very cofortable life for their families, like Deng " Ahmmed" Alor who know have hotel chain in both of Kenya & Ethiopia run by his Ethiopian wife. You yourself secured a big mansion in UK & a fat saving account , it’s interest rate of which are making living a luxury life in one of the most expensive .....

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      • 10 June 2012 09:32, by mohammed ali

        con: cities of the world.Your children are going to private schools paying about $ 30,000 per year, enough money to run a complete school full students in SS.You secured your life and want the marginalized S.Sudanese to suffer & die for you while you & your family are far & away from the battelfield of a war which you are ignited & fueld. Abeyei gang thieves of communist & leftists ....

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        • 10 June 2012 09:43, by mohammed ali

          con:are behind the deterioration of the relationship between the 2 Sudans, hence the misery & plight of the ordinary peacful, decent & marginalized pple of SS.The billigerant enviorment of hate, war & enemosity allow them to tighten their grip over the SPLA and government of SS.Alaways trying to give the false impression that the regime in Sudan is going to collapse, which is not true.

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          • 10 June 2012 09:49, by mohammed ali

            con: They should be satisfied with the money they robbed from the poor " actually" rich pple of SS. They should allow the pple of SS to live in peace & enjoy the richness of their country.Would Dr. Luka respond to Salva’s letter , sell his house in London, bring his children home & repatriate the stolen money?!Doing that will make him work for peace, instead of hate and war.

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            • 11 June 2012 06:48, by Daniel Buolmawei

              Mohammed, you’re contrary to the reality. This is reality, it is said "Sudan loses ground" in the talks. This is actually confirm that liars are not good negotiators because lies are lies and can’t penetrate into the mind of the world for long after they are critically analyzed and exposed. This article has nothing to do with children of the officials unless you’re in fact angered of doing poorly.

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              • 11 June 2012 10:04, by mohammed ali

                Daniel, do thieves pentrate the mind of the world? Your government had been labelled as thieves by your president.Thieves are the biggest liars.Soon you will be asked to repatriate the stolen money.Somebody is correcting me that his family is in Australia.He has got another house in UK where he lives.Could you explain to me how could he afford that, while more than 50% of SSudanese are starving?!

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      • 10 June 2012 11:50, by Akook

        Not UK Mohamed, State of Queenslands, Brisbane Australia.

        Coruption is sin wherever it exists

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  • 10 June 2012 17:05, by Zionist

    Mr. Luka Biong
    If all what you’ve stated about South Sudan’s negotiating team is true, then that team is doing a good job; however, you stopped short from asking: what if the entire negotiations ended in a failure, what’s next for South Sudan? And what other options South Sudan’ve to achieve its goals? I hope there’s a handy plan B.

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  • 10 June 2012 18:46, by Ayuel Bong

    Dr.Luka Biong,
    Your analyses would give the people of Southern Sudan in a public and people of Abyie in a particular a hope that this year they will live peaceful without worrying that Sudan government will not come to bomb their villages without accountability that the government of Sudan violate the principle of human rights but they will ask you to put their rights on the agreement!

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