October 11, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has turned down a proposition made by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to facilitate peaceful settlement to the conflict between Khartoum and Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N).
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (Getty)
Sudan and South Sudan presidents on 27 September signed a series of cooperation agreements including a demilitarized zone on the border between the two countries and military disengagement between the former rebel army turned South Sudanese army and the SPLM-N fighters.
Kiir had proposed last July during a meeting with Al-Bashir in Addis Ababa to facilitate a solution to the crisis with the SPLM-N, the issue was raised again during the six-day talks in September. On Wednesday 10 October, South Sudan Ambassador Dut Mayen reiterated Kiir’s proposition in a meeting with the presidential assistant Abdel Rahman Al-Mahdi.
Badr El-Din Ahmed Ibrahim, NCP spokesperson, reacted quickly to the proposition saying the issue of negotiations with the SPLM-N already had been discussed during the meeting between President Omer Al-Bashir and his counterpart Salva Kiir.
He pointed out they do not recognize the SPLM-N as a Sudanese political force, insinuating they are an extension of the South Sudanese army (SPLA), stressing that the government refused already to negotiate with the rebel group in Addis Ababa.
The SPLM-N fighters are from Blue Nile and South Kordofan, areas which joined the SPLA in the civil war against Khartoum but were left north of the new international border when South Sudan seceded last year as part of a 2005 peace deal.
In statements to the semi-official Sudanese Media Centre, Ibrahim further said that issue of SPLM-N and other armed groups was included in the security arrangements agreed between the two sides.
The government negotiating team held indirect talks with the rebel delegation but the mediation failed to create a common ground because the government delegation asked to disarm the rebels first and the SPLM-N demands to hold a comprehensive talks process including Darfur rebels, which whom they formed the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) alliance a year ago.
The SPLM-N formed the alliance after the NCP scrapped a deal agreed in principle with senior Sudanese official Nafie Ali Nafie in Addis Ababa, which recognised the SPLM-N as a legal political party.
The UN Security Council has called for the discarded deal to be the basis of talks between the two sides.
A government sponsored consultative conference on peace in South Kordofan was wrapped up in Kadugli on Wednesday 10 October, where a number of recommendations defining the government’s position for future talks with the rebel SPLM-N were endorsed.
The conference called a ceasefire in the Two Areas; speedy implementation of border security arrangements with South Sudan; disengagement between "the State’s sons members of the SPLM" and the SPLA of South Sudan, and to manage the situation of the rebel fighters in line with the option of integration into the Sudanese army (SAF) and the other disarmament, demobilization and reintegration measures.
Ibrahim called on the South Sudanese government to accelerate the implementation of security arrangements, to disengage with the SPLM-N and to not support the rebel groups on the common border as well as to fight the arms smuggling.
The Sudanese government, during the interim period of 2005 peace agreement, demanded that the SPLA withdraw its troops from the Two Areas which have a different protocol providing to conduct a popular consultation process.
On 26 May 2011 following the seizure of Abyei, Sudan’s military First Commander Ismat Abdel Rahman announced that the Sudanese army would start within a week a compulsory evacuation of all the SPLA forces in the Two Areas, adding they already addressed a message asking them to withdraw south to 1956 border.
Their presence is illegal, he added.
The difference between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese army over when they should be disarmed (before or after the popular consultations) led to the start of hostilities on 5 June 2011 between the two parties in South Kordofan, and in Blue Nile on 1 September 2011.
Since the Sudanese army say the SPLM-N fighters should be disarmed before any political process, stressing that they demobilize the their officers and soldiers from South Sudan in line with the peace agreement.
Based on this position, the army pushed the Sudanese president to scrap a framework deal his close aide Nafie Ali Nafie signed with the rebels on 28 June 2011 aiming to restore the political partnership between the two parties.
UN Security Council resolution 2046 demands the two parties to resume political talks without preconditions and to allow humanitarian aid to affected civilians in the rebel held areas.