Home | News    Monday 10 May 2010

South Sudan wants quick resumption of referendum talks

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By James Dak

May 9, 2010 (JUBA) — The Southern Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has expressed concern over the limited time left to resolve the outstanding issues in the implementation of the 2005’s North-South peace deal that ended the 21 years of brutal civil war.

In a meeting on Thursday with the visiting Norwegian Special Envoy to Sudan, Tom Vraalsen, the Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM and Vice President designate, Dr. Riek Machar, said time was running out and that the two parties should resume the negotiations in implementing several contentious issues before the referendum takes place seven months from now.

He explained that the negotiations were interrupted by the recent elections and have not yet resumed with the understanding that the government could be formed first.

Machar however added that since the formation of government in Khartoum has been delayed until the end of May or beginning of June, he would consult with his President elect, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, in order to look for a way out so that negotiations resume even before the formation of government.

Dr. Machar, who chairs the SPLM High Political Executive Committee charged with implementing the CPA, outlined a wide range of issues to be discussed and which included among others the formation of referendum commissions for Southern Sudan and Abyei, North-South border demarcation on the ground, and several items in the post-referendum arrangements.

On the formation of referendum commission for the South he said the SPLM is well ahead prepared with its four nominees and waiting for the NCP to present its other four nominees, making the membership eight in number. The ninth member who would then be the chairperson of the commission would be someone agreed upon by the two parties, he said.

The formation of the Abyei referendum commission seemed to be problematic, Machar told the Envoy, explaining that his counter-part in the negotiations, Vice President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, had always rejected many personalities his team had suggested to head the commission.

“Ali asked me to look for an angel to head the Abyei commission. I gave him [angel] Michael, he refused. I gave him [angel] Gabriel, he refused…This time I may give him a Lucifer instead,” he jokingly referred to the seriousness of the stalemate in the nomination process of the chairperson.

Machar also said there are areas of disagreement on the North-South demarcation on the ground and potentially involves almost all the Southern Sudan states bordering the North. One of the disagreements, he said, emerged recently in northern part of Upper Nile state where an area of 5 miles (about 8 kilometers) long and 700 meters wide is being contested.

He also said number of other contested areas including Higlig oil fields in Unity state is expected to generate some serious disagreement.

Such disagreements may either end up in the Presidency for resolution or may be referred back to the joint committee of the two parties for negotiations, he explained, hence demanding quick resumption of the talks instead of wasting time.

Dr. Machar also appealed to the Norwegian diplomat to assist the state of Southern Kordofan in order to speedily conduct its population census and parliamentary elections which were postponed earlier over the controversial census results.

He expressed the necessity for both Southern Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains to carry out their respective popular consultations just before the Southern Sudan referendum takes place as this, he added, would avail the needed “leverage” in the process.

The meeting also touched on the peace process in Darfur.

POST-REFERENDUM ISSUES

Machar also stressed the importance of thrashing out the post-referendum issues so that their implementation would kick off immediately on 10th January following the announcement of the final results for referendum on 9th January 2011.

He had earlier suggested that the referendum for the South and Abyei should take place in mid December this year and the final results be declared on the CPA’s celebration day, which is 9th January. He added that from 10th January to 9th July would be the period for implementing the post-referendum arrangements as the CPA would expire.

Dr. Machar presented a long list of post-referendum issues to be discussed and these included the future of oil production, transport and marketing, assets, debts, currency, waters, nationality, Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), international contracts or agreements, the fate of southerners in the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and civil service in the North [vice versa], etc. in case the referendum resulted to separation.

He previously said that if the referendum resulted to unity of the country, then the question of how such a post-referendum united Sudan would look like should also be discussed. This would include re-structuring of the state itself, he said, without revealing the extent of such re-structuring.

Commenting on the future of oil, which he earlier admitted to be problematic during the forthcoming discussions on the post-referendum issues, Machar said “We started from the position that the oil belongs to us (South), then it flows to the North, and this is where give and take will come in,” he revealed as he was referring to the more than 1,000 kms long pipeline carrying the crude oil from Southern Sudan through the vast territory of northern Sudan until it reaches Port Sudan in the extreme north-eastern part of the country.

The landlocked semi-autonomous Southern Sudan has neither built a pipeline to transport the crude oil to east African Ports for marketing nor refineries for its vast oil reserves.

He also told the Envoy that the leadership in the South would always want to see a stable North both politically and economically and maintain good relations with it even if the Southern Sudan would form its own independent country in the year 2011.

The Norwegian diplomat expressed his country’s willingness to continue supporting the peace process in the country and assist in implementation of the outstanding issues.

The diplomat is the fourth Special Envoy to have visited the Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba, this week following the announcement of elections results in the region.

(ST)

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  • 10 May 2010 05:33, by Dinka Boy

    Dear South Sudanese,

    The Goss negotiation teams need to examine the issues of referendum seriously without deception. The 2011 referendum in which South Sudanese will choose their destiny is no that easy;therefore, our leaders should speed up their effort of their discussion very efficiently without delay. The border demarkation between the North and South must be carefully clarify before the referendum exercise.

    The Abyei, the consultation of Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain should be the other focal points of focus when the negotiation ressumes. The oil sharing and the debt must be also examine in the discussion tentatively because the South has never been in the borrowing of the money that were used in the Sudan.

    The Northern government get its advantage of using oil revenues without Southerners during the war for decades. The Khartoum exchange the oil revenue for weapons ,and they even loan the lump some of money for weapons to destabalized or exterminate the South Sudanese. Debt sharing is out of negotation because we don,t know match about it use for centuries.

    Furthermore, the oil sharing will depend on and be categories base on geographical locations. If the oil is in the South region or North then after seperation,the North or South will choose its marketing or deliverying locations base on the contracts that will benefits them rather than abothersome connotation between the parties.

    I recommended that South Sudanese must stay away from jallaba employement because they know how to feed weak heart people to create confusion in the South,and because of very many steps and ideas that i have known during the war, i will just celebrate the seperation of South Sudan when i witness it because we have countless people who like our enemies more than the did to their own brothers and sisiters. The best outcome of referendum is noy yet to be celebrated. Thanks

    repondre message

    • 10 May 2010 06:26, by BlackLion

      Dinkaboy,

      All you have suggested are what Dr.Machar has said and been pushing for the Khartoum goverment to abide with. The Goss negotiation team under the lead of Dr. Machar is well prepared as you read through the article and now the ball is on the NCP. The only problem in the Southern goverment is how things pertaining the post-referundum issues are left for only Dr.Riek and astonishingly the stomach lover Salvakeeer is wasting time prostituting and drinking.

      Anyway, Dr. Riek is gaining momentum both internationally and nationally. Wished Dr. Riek all the best to get out his mother land through the hand of Jalaba. The saying goes like this;
      "The truth always gets slimer but finally gets fater" Time for the Dinka who hated Dr. Machar will end, and everybody in the South Sudan will chant his name Dr. Riek, Dr. Riek, Dr. Riek long live, long live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • 10 May 2010 07:02, by man of men

        but make sure that any laws which is not sign by superpower DINKA is not municipal by any laws

        Thanks Dr John Garang for his best achievement to the people of sudan and in particular south sudan for our self determination.

        God bless him. and my brother kiir mayardit too
        SPLA/. OYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

        DOWN TO NASSIR SLAVE BOYS GANGSTER
        DEATH TO THEM

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        • 10 May 2010 10:40, by sunny

          MAN OF MEN,(GAY)

          Hell with your comment tribalistic Dinka bor who will die without appreciating commitment of Dr. Machar, the only Charismatic Leader and the light of southern sudan.

          Sunny

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      • 11 May 2010 00:40, by R. TOOL

        Mr. Blacklion,

        You are fake and an idiot. Stay with the topic/program. Hey, nothing personals, just don’t be a stupid fool.

        repondre message

    • 10 May 2010 12:58, by choldit

      One of the points that I love in this post is the clarification that the pipeline and the oil refinaries are not belong to the Northern Sudan but belong to the Southern Sudan where the resource lies. This is true as Sinnar Damp and Kannen Sugar Factory ownerships may be dennied to Southern Sudan, should the nation be separated.

      Thanks Dr. Machar! I believe the Sudanese are listening to their valued Son. We are longing for Peaceful South and North Sudan states. Sudan has to give up the culture of war as it doesn’t help its developmental agenda at all. Sudan has waited valuable time and much needed wealth just for the sake of caltivating poverty amongst its citizens. This is a time we the citizens of Sudan need peace loving people like and your likes to get us out of this mess.

      May God lead us!!!

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    • 10 May 2010 17:10, by kuur Deng

      I wish I had a niclear weapon to clear and rubb off any Chinesse company extracting oil in palioch,Bentiu and along the Nile bascin. When I pay my first visit to Khartoum last week since in the creation of the earth definetely I felt nervous and sick sad simply because our God given resources are exploited and heavily stollen by the north.

      Just imagining that oil is being kept and station in every corners of the city. when I ask one of the lost sourtherner who called himself "Abdaraman Sadid" he told me that those containers you saw covered with tens are full of oil being extrated from palioch and there is a pipe down being pass throught it.

      You could’t believe this simply because your eyes are facing different direction and listening to politician lies and nonsense. That Egyptian idiot has nothing to change in our long designated succession who is him infront of southerners and who is going to unit this country? Is it Salva Kiir,the spirit of Dr. Garang or outside world. I think there is no way for us to listen to that idiotic mind shouting for fucken unity.

      For those who support such ideas take this as a grife " if we work like a fly then we are likely going for rubbish and if we work like a bees then we shall harvest honey" Many southerners sacrifies their lives just because to get honey for the life ones like us and not for us to go coacroches walk in the latrin and dustbin. Just use your five senses always and that is ear,nose,skin,eyes,tongue.
      Deng M .Deng

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  • 10 May 2010 07:13, by Gatwech

    Dear readers,

    I do blame the GOSS ministry of Energy and Mining and that of Finance and Economic Planning for not prioritizing the construction of our own pipeline to Port Mombasa and our own refinery for domestic consumption of oil.

    This should have been planned since 2005. But the incompetent Salvatore Kiir and his corrupt three consecutive tribal ministers of finance did not see the importance of it.

    Now the North whether we like it or not will have to continue taking some of our oil revenues shares until we build our own pipeline to Mombassa and our own refinery in Bentiu or Malakal where the oil is. They will charge us for using the pipeline and their refineries.

    Instead of quickly constructing the pipeline, Salvatore Kiir and John Luk last time were reported to have planned construction of very expensive and time consuming refinery in Warrap state, which can take up to three years to complete its construction, leaving the rightful location of Unity state.

    The corrupt tribal Ministers of finance since 2005 in the names of Akwen Chol, Kuol Atheen, Deng Athorbeei, have no economic planning at all because they should have known that 98% of budget comes from the oil in Unity state and Upper Nile state and if separation of the South comes then the North would either cut off the transport route or charge GOSS very high taxes for the use of pipe line going to Port Sudan and for use of refineries in the North.

    Now a temporary arrangement will have to be made with the North to continue taking some of oil revenues even if the South is independence until we complete the building of our own pipeline to Port Mombassa and refineries for our domestic consuption.

    There is no way out, otherwise the North will block the pipeline and refuse the usage of its refineries. GOSS can collapse financially because it will take a number of years to get those facilities of its own.

    Pathetic that incompetent President and corrupt tribal ministers do not see things ahead of time.

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    • 10 May 2010 10:20, by James

      You know what happened to our government?60% of our money was given to the SPLA with hope that the money would be use to strenghened the SPLA so that it become strong enough to defend the South against her enemies.This money unfortunately was stolen by the following people:Maj Hoth Mai,Maj gen Mabuto Mamur,Maj gen Bior Ajang,Maj gen Mathok Geng ,Lt Gen Oyai Deng,Lt Gen Pieng Deng Majok & their pay masters.This money was sqandered away on nonsense in Uganda.They claimed that they deserve the money because they were Garangs skivvies.I think that is too much.Let the whole South curse those devils.

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      • 10 May 2010 11:43, by Thon

        By Thon5.
        What ahell? for Bashier , the indicted man who has still to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity of Darfur What is wrong with his mad teams that failed to recognise the south-north borders of sudan let me tell we have lost our life but we can’t lost our land otherwise we will return back to war I know the interest of Khartoum regimes your interest is only to take oil richs areas of south sudan which lies I warn you those areas of Hegling of unity state will be like Gass strip between Israeli and your fucken Plastenine whom you support.

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      • 10 May 2010 11:51, by Gatloth Gai

        I think every things is running normal under this man Dr. Riek.

        Who can say no to Dr. Riek on his work he is doing on behave of GOSS? No body leave him to continiou this referendum need person with integrety like Dr.Riek not just a person becuase it is most stricked by those Arab.

        repondre message

        • 11 May 2010 01:00, by R. TOOL

          Gatloth Gai

          With all due respect to Mr. Machar, a feeble minded person, one cable of performing under supervision.

          For your information, Machar was never ( he is more of subservience) elected. Machar must (he killed 85.000 people, and 250.000 die of starvation- thanks to Machar) redeemed himself in the eyes of the southern people for the mess he created in the early 90’s.

          You know Mr. Gai, the truth hurts like hell, sorry to have bust your dreams ..... get with the program and help your people, I mean southern Sudan citizen. .. screw all the tribes.

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      • 10 May 2010 13:43, by Abyei

        my friend you should avoid that kind of ideology.what the hell is wrong with you?why do you talk about what you are not fit to ?first witness and tell the truth.
        see the way you mention their names in the website and compair to if any of them is not a part of that issue.you need to smart yourself properly by adjusting your says at the web not to talk against people. on the other hands i would like to tell you that, this website was not created for the nonesense people like you. it’s for good advises,news,awearness and the best comment not the insultation without good advises.

        shame on your says without evidant.

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        • 10 May 2010 14:09, by Master

          TEREKEKA, Sudan (Reuters) - With southern Sudan stumbling toward independence next year, the Chinese oil workers in Africa’s biggest country are bracing for trouble. For southern villagers like Maria Jande, trouble is already here.

          World

          Dinka tribesmen briefly abducted Jande, her family and more than a dozen other women and children in a raid last month that destroyed crops and food stores and killed five men from her Mundari tribe.

          It’s a far cry from the hopes that sprung up in southern Sudan five years ago, when a peace deal with the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in Sudan’s north promised to end a generation of conflict.

          Elections this month and a secession referendum by January were meant to secure a stable future for the south after 22 years of civil war and the loss of two million lives.

          Instead, age-old rivalries between the south’s dozens of different tribes are resurfacing.

          "If we stay here, we’ll die of hunger. There’s no food," Jande said, standing beside a pot of rancid goat meat cooking beneath a mango tree in Terekeka, a tiny town 100 km (60 miles) north of southern Sudan’s capital, Juba.

          As she spoke, her five-year-old twins hid in the folds of her tattered brown skirt, which would be scant protection from the annual rains and malaria-carrying mosquitos due in force within days.

          A host of foreign governments including the United States, Kenya, Uganda and Britain backed Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which gave the south autonomy, a 50-50 share of oil revenues from wells within its borders and a route to independence via referendum by January 2011.

          Mutual distrust and vitriol between Khartoum and Juba in the run-up to the April 11-13 elections mean the plebiscite is not assured: if it does proceed the south is almost sure to split and declare itself an independent state within six months.

          So the deeply impoverished region’s outlook is far from clear.

          In the worst-case scenario, the hostility between north and south that has riven Sudan since before its independence from Britain in 1956 will boil over once again, rekindling a civil war that would destabilize east Africa and halt oil output from the sub-Saharan region’s third-biggest producer.

          Or the south could negotiate — as the United States is hoping — a "civil divorce, not a civil war" with Khartoum, securing billions of dollars in oil revenues that it can use to drag itself out of its war-induced time-warp.

          Under this view, a flood of foreign investment should ensue, developing hoped-for oil reserves across the region and giving birth to state-of-the-art farms and fisheries fed by the waters of the upper Nile and its tributaries.

          In their more fanciful moments, southern ministers even talk of droves of foreign tourists flying in to witness wild animal migrations said to rival those in Kenya’s Masai Mara.

          ARMS FLOWS

          History suggests optimists in southern Sudan, a region nearly as big as Texas and with a population estimated at anywhere between 8 and 13 million people, are more likely to be wrong than right. A return to war is not out of the question.

          In the five years since the peace accord, the bulk of oil money accruing to the south — more than $2 billion a year — has gone on pay for civil servants and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the southern rebel movement that has morphed into its government.

          But the SPLA, whose soldiers rescued Jande and her family from her Dinka captors, has also spent at least some of the cash re-arming, according to the Small Arms Survey, a global arms trade watchdog.

          Citing satellite images and reports of arms shipments from Ukraine via Kenya, the Survey estimates the south bought more than 100 Soviet-era battle tanks, anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers and 10,000 AK-47 assault rifles from 2007 to 2009.

          Not only do such flows break an agreed weapons embargo, they also ensure that any conflict would have implications beyond southern Sudan’s borders.

          "The southern Sudanese arms acquisitions are rooted in civil war-era political alliances, with regional allies, including Ethiopia and Kenya, acting as conduits for arms supplies from their own stocks or acquired on the international market," the Survey said.

          Alongside reported arms purchases by the north from China, Iran and Belarus, this has set nerves jangling at the Chinese, Indian and Malaysian oil firms running the south’s oil fields, which all lie close to the unofficial border.

          In the event of conflict, they would have little option but to halt production from a country that was China’s fourth or fifth largest supplier of crude oil for much of 2009.

          State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the largest foreign player with a roughly 40 percent stake in Sudan’s oil industry, is "hoping for the best but preparing for the worst," according to an industry source familiar with Chinese operations in Sudan.

          "An independence vote for the south is likely to lead to clashes between the north and south, a worst-case scenario that we do not wish to see," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

          CNPC would have no option but to "halt production and evacuate our 2,000 people in Khartoum and the oil-fields," the source added.

          WANING APPETITE FOR WAR

          However, analysts say neither north nor south have much to gain from a resumption of hostilities: the disruption of oil exports would cut a cash lifeline that both governments need, now and in the foreseeable future.

          "As much as oil has been a major source of conflict in the past, it also potentially represents the single greatest disincentive to renewed conflict if the parties can agree on wealth-sharing," said Zachary Vertin, a Sudan analyst for the International Crisis Group in Nairobi.

          Southern oil accounts for the lion’s share of Sudan’s total output, although the precise proportion depends on the final demarcation of a north-south border in areas such as Abyei, which was too sensitive to be included in the 2005 pact.

          However, more importantly for the south, all its oil goes by pipeline through the north to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. This means that if it wants to, Khartoum can cut off a revenue stream that accounts for 98 percent of Juba’s budget.

          In that event SPLA soldiers would quickly find themselves without pay, suggesting the south’s generals would struggle to mobilize large numbers of troops.

          For the north, the prospect of disrupted or no production is almost as alarming, given that oil currently accounts for 45 percent of Sudan’s national budget.

          As southern Presidential Affairs Minister Luka Biong Deng put it, both sides know what they stand to lose.

          "Peace is our common objective because nobody will benefit from going back to war or seeing either party collapsing," he told Reuters.

          The United States has broadly backed the south, mainly due to its dislike for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the western region of Darfur.

          But analysts say Washington will be loathe to take sides in a fiendishly complex conflict in the heart of Africa, and is more likely to focus on avoiding a new north-south war and keeping an independent south in one piece and on its feet.

          "I would guess that the preference for the U.S. government all along is the unity of Sudan," former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn told Reuters.

          "But you have to make plans for a divided Sudan — and then just hope that it doesn’t divide into more than two parts."

          THE ONLY WAY IS UP?

          Despite the lessons of history, foreign investors and business interests from the world’s second largest brewer to enterprising Ugandan and Kenyan taxi-drivers are betting on a bright future.

          Juba, a chaotic mish-mash of prefabricated buildings and wooden huts on the banks of the Nile, is reputed to be one of the world’s fastest growing cities, although nobody has any real idea of the pace of its expansion.

          A population of 300,000, three times its total five years ago, is the most widely quoted figure.

          More tangible evidence comes in the convoys of Kenyan trucks battling along the south’s unpaved roads and Ugandan barges floating down the Nile with everything from fuel to cement to bottles of Johnny Walker whisky destined for Juba’s only supermarket with a price tag of nearly $300.

          The arduous route to Juba, and the presence of thousands of well-paid foreign aid workers and southern civil servants reaping the benefits of five years of oil wealth, make it one of the most expensive corners of Africa.

          A hotel "room" — more accurately a converted shipping container — is $130 a night, while a bottle of locally brewed beer costs $1.50 in even the most-run down roadside shack.

          But all that means rich pickings for those hardy enough to take the plunge.

          "Earning $100 in Kenya is difficult but here it’s easy — just one day’s work," said Amos Njay, one of many Kenyan taxi drivers plying Juba’s potholed streets. "But you have to be careful. There are no rules here. It’s the law of the jungle."

          Kenya Commercial Bank, Kenya’s largest bank by assets, and rival Equity Bank have both opened Juba branches. Ethiopian Commercial Bank is also in on the act, alongside more than two dozen money changers catering to foreign workers sending cash back to Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa.

          On Juba’s outskirts, global drinks giant SABMiller has built a $50 million brewery to serve the least-tapped market in east Africa.

          With the plant’s first birthday approaching, its bosses could not be happier.

          Every week it produces nearly a million bottles of soft drinks and White Bull beer — named after the south’s famous long-horned cattle — and they say it is on track to make a profit within 18 months of starting commercial operations.

          "Our market is the average southern Sudanese citizen who is battling to make a living and who goes to the local market for a beer in the evening," said managing director Ian Alsworth-Elvey, a South African who’s been in the industry for 21 years.

          "And it’s our belief that that market will grow."

          Businessmen and political leaders in Uganda and Kenya also need the Juba boom to continue to provide an alternative source of growth for their own economies.

          According to Uganda’s central bank, informal trade with southern Sudan amounts to $170 million a month, around 60 percent of all exports, lending support to the Ugandan shilling.

          Similarly, India’s Sanghi Cement and Kenya’s Cemtech are planning a $105 million cement plant in northwest Kenya solely with a view to supplying southern Sudan with concrete.

          World Bank and government officials also talk of keen investment interest from Gulf states, particularly to tap the fertile south’s huge farming potential.

          Catering for their needs are the trim offices of the Southern Sudan Investment Agency in Juba, touted as a "one-stop shop" for foreign investors, even though it has yet to get round to hanging the sign up above its door.

          UPHILL STRUGGLE

          However, even in their most positive moments, Juba’s political leaders and its band of hardy foreign diplomats admit southern Sudan faces a long and bumpy road toward becoming an even vaguely successful independent nation.

          By many yardsticks, it is the least-developed place on earth: 70 percent of its people have no access to any form of healthcare, one in five women die in childbirth and one in five children fail to make it to their fifth birthday.

          The experience of the World Bank in administering a $526 million trust fund on behalf of international donors is testament to the difficulties of doing business in one of the roughest corners of an infamously rough continent.

          By the time its mandate expires in January with the scheduled referendum, the Bank will have dispersed only two-thirds of its promised cash — and yet it still trumpets this as an achievement.

          Besides helping build a government from scratch out of a rebel guerrilla movement, the Bank has spent much of its time beating down tenders from external contractors charging sky-high premiums to work in a war-scarred, landlocked country.

          "Don’t underestimate the costs of putting investments into southern Sudan," Laurence Clarke, the Bank’s representative, told Reuters in its compound in Juba’s ’government quarter’, a collection of prefab or hastily erected low-rise office blocks.

          "We’ve had our full share of tenders for schools or buildings coming in 200-300 percent higher than the costs of doing business in neighboring countries like Kenya or Uganda," he said.

          "In Liberia, I used to see 150 percent, 200 percent higher, and I would think, ’Jeez!,’ but southern Sudan is even bigger. It’s the geography, but it’s also the risk premium of coming out of war. Is the rule of law fully established? Is the security situation comfortable enough?"

          Furthermore, the south is also likely to have to absorb some of the north’s mountain of external debt, racked up over decades of war and international isolation and estimated by the Central Bank in Khartoum at $30 billion, or equivalent to half the country’s annual output.

          Until that can be rescheduled — in all likelihood two years — foreign private or multilateral investors are likely to remain cautious.

          French oil giant Total, for instance, has had an exploration concession for years for huge tracts of the lower portions of the south but has so far done nothing.

          Adding to the uncertainty is a very ambitious political timetable.

          Even before the referendum, north and south will have to agree on borders that were too contentious five years ago to address in full, and decide on the citizenship and rights of the hundreds of thousands of southerners living in the north.

          If its people give the green light for secession, Juba will also have to negotiate an oil revenue deal with Khartoum, decide what to do with its currency, the Sudanese pound; and renegotiate a host of international treaties.

          To the chagrin of southern leaders, some foreign diplomats are starting to consider the possibility of deferring any independence declaration to make time to prepare for statehood.

          TRIBAL VIOLENCE

          However, it is the south’s patchwork of feuding tribes that may pose the biggest threat to its future as a nation state.

          Last month’s Terekeka raid by the Dinka, the south’s dominant ethnic grouping, could have happened at any time in the last 500 years given the region’s myriad tribes and a tradition of sparring over cattle, land and water.

          But warriors now use automatic rifles rather than spears.

          Instead of easing as independence approaches, the violence seems to be increasing, with analysts saying as many as 2,500 people died in 2009 in fighting between cattle herders and pastoralists of different ethnic groups.

          The Norwegian Refugee Council, an aid agency, estimates that 390,000 people fled their homes last year, compared with 187,000 in 2008.

          The further south such raids occur, the harder it is for Juba to blame a trouble-making government in Khartoum for stoking tensions between the groups in the south’s 10 states.

          Yet until the government puts the lid on the raids and fighting, southerners will have little incentive to plant crops or start tiny businesses, leaving the region forever on the brink of food shortage and with stunted growth prospects.

          "When the Juba government is talking about security, their number one concern is the relationship with the north," said Michael Elmquist, head of the Joint Donor Team in Juba. "But officials from the states say internal tribal fighting is their biggest concern."

          A disarmament program designed to limit the violence by cutting the number of weapons in circulation may even be having the opposite effect, with disarmed tribes such as the Mundari becoming soft targets for their fully armed neighbors.

          "We just ran. We had no weapons because of the disarmament," said cattle-herder Joseph Mody, in Terekeka’s spartan health center for treatment to a bullet wound to his left elbow.

          Next to him, his friend James Wani, shot through the lung with a rifle round, sat in silence: talking was still too painful.

          Suspicions — strenuously denied by the Juba government — that disarmament is being rolled out in favor of the Dinka represent a major threat to a shaky unity built mainly on fear and loathing of Khartoum.

          With that threat of Arab domination potentially removed by secession, the risk increases that the south will unravel along tribal lines.

          "We’re trying to separate ourselves from the Arabs because of marginalization," said Clement Maring Samuel, a Mundari SPLA pastor now serving as Terekeka’s Commissioner..

          "But if the Dinka don’t behave, we will separate again."

          repondre message

          • 10 May 2010 14:35, by Abyei

            not biggers but largest country.fuck your says against Dinka .you are the son of bashir ammed bashir. mother fucker gay man.your structure looks like your fther bashir and both of you could not even explain yourselves in english while pretend

            repondre message

  • 10 May 2010 15:45, by Jerie

    Readers,

    So this ’Alliance’ that Yassir Arman is calling for to be formed would include the traditional enemies of South Sudan such as, Umma party of Sadiq al Mahdi, PCP of Hassan al Turabi, the DUP of Al Mirghani, the Sudan Communist Party of al Nugud....... etc. What makes him think that after more than 50 years of being lied to, this ’Alliance’ will crack open the hardened South Sudanese this time around?

    The CPA was signed to be implemented to the letter and spirit. It is not up to any bigoted northern politician or military to choose what to implement and what to delete from the peace agreement. The CPA DOES NOT need Yassir Arman’s dubious and really suspicious “alliance”, as a tool for its implementation. If Arman is about to form his version of “Alliance for Unity” similar to what Omer al Bashir has done, it would be better for him to be sincere with himself, and to rest of us South Sudanese, and straight forward join the Al Bashir camp. let Yassir Arman and his other unionists clearly understand that the so-called “alliance” which he is now actively calling for is obviously not in the interest of the people of the South Sudan who have made it very clear beyond reasonable doubt that they are for an independent South Sudan Nation.

    North is for unity under Islam and Sharia Law, and South for secession away from Sharia Law and Islam, and no room for the ambiguous and utopian New Sudan Vision. The only person who would have been capable of twisting the Northern regime’s hands into its implementation passed away prematurely, and the New Sudan conundrum should be dead and buried.

    Start your countdown timers folks. Let’s do it this time. At least there’s no politics among us in this one. It’s South Sudan united for a purposeful course!!!!

    repondre message

    • 10 May 2010 20:28, by Kon Paul Awenchol

      Dear All.
      For those who comment well and those who comment at perilous aiming to distort the welfare of Southern Sudan people for what is on the horizon,[referendum].there is nothing good for a person to be a good citizen in his/her own country,you must have to yield well like women do toward their beloved one to satisfy their needs,it is our turn all to pressure the bureaucratic politics of NCP for hindering the coming referendum of Southern Sudan.Since the ruling of [KEZAN] in Sudan nothing have gone at rightful ways of good governance but their act is definitely totalitarianism and denial evasion toward Sudan prosperity.the SPLM must try alot to alert the World about what is happening in Sudan.the Southern political forces can play good role also to help Splm to confront antagonized imperialism of NCP.

      Wake up Southern Sudan the time for war is at an inch, please unite and be one to solve the problem in one hand.

      THE TRUE CITIZEN.

      repondre message

  • 11 May 2010 04:27, by Madhod

    Dr. Machar, this guy called Ali Osman Taha is trying to waste our time and thus delaying the whole referendum process. You could give "prohet Mohamed" and thousands of good angels or (list of good people), and he will never gets satisfy. And like you said, trying to give him a lucifer, and let see if he will be ok with that. And next time he objected to any suggestion, present to him an Infidel, maybe from the north.

    repondre message

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