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Salva-Bashir Summit: What is expected?

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By Luka Biong Deng

January 3, 2013 - Presidents Salva and Bashir will meet on 4th January 2013 in a summit that is widely expected to be decisive and final in giving the last chance for the two countries. This summit came as result of the last meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council that calls for such a summit as the last chance for the two countries to resolve amicably all the pending issues. The diplomatic shuttling by the Ethiopian Prime Minister between Khartoum and Juba has hastened the convening of the summit earlier before the next meeting of the AU Council at the level of heads of state.

Most people of the two countries, particularly the people of the South, have lost confidence in these summits as similar summits raised only expectations but did id not yield tangible results. In particular, the last summit between Salva and Bashir in which nine (9) agreements were signed raised hope but with pain in the South that their oil will start flowing for export through Sudan. However, such hopes were dashed by Khartoum when it refused to allow the oil of the South to be exported through its territory by putting unreasonable conditions. Also Khartoum started provoking the people of the South with air and ground attacks of innocent civilians inside the territories of the South along the border.

The real question is what can be expected from such summit with Khartoum consistently dishonouring agreement after agreement. One is not even sure of how much patience remains with Salva to continue negotiating with Bashir. Also this summit is been convened with Khartoum amassing and moving troops with heavy weapons along the border areas with the South. The recent air and ground attacks of the civilians in Raja County in Western Bahr el Ghazal state that resulted in killing of more than 32 civilians clearly showed the intention of Khartoum to put more pressure on Juba before the summit. It is a common belief in the South that the recent increase in the level of insecurity in the South is largely instigated by Khartoum with the aim of weakening the leadership of the South.

The summit is being convened when the two countries are experiencing serious economic and political challenges. In particular, the economy of Sudan is at the brink of collapse as shown by its 2013 budget. Despite the political rhetoric that the Sudanese economy is recovering with the oil production increasing to about 140,000 barrels per day and with increase in gold export, the Sudanese pound is severely suffering and may end up like Zairian currency during the rule of former president Mobuto Sese Seko. Although some circles in Khartoum seem to gamble to strangle the South by not allowing the export of its oil through Sudan, the experience of the last few months has proven to be suicidal.

Also Sudan is experiencing a real social unrest with increased demonstrations that may threaten the survival of the regime in Khartoum if the current economic hardship continues for the next few months. The Sudan Revolutionary Front seems to be gaining militarily. It is also succeeding politically by winning other traditional and democratic political forces to agree on a regime change through peaceful means. Diplomatically, Sudan is losing the Arab world with its clear choice to associate itself with Iran. Sudan may soon lose the support from most African countries in the next meeting of the AU Council if it continues to reject the African solutions on Abyei and border.

The South on the other hand, despite its successful austerity measures, is facing serious economic difficulties as its foreign reserves seem to be dwindling rapidly. Despite the successful austerity measures, increased level of agriculture production and signing of serious refinery construction agreements, the economic situation in the South may deteriorate further in the next few months. There is also increase social unrest and feeling of uneasiness among the citizens in the South over increased insecurity in most parts of the South, unjustifiable and cowardly assassination of Isaiah Abraham, and the unfolding pains of austerity measures. Diplomatically, the South has performed well in showing its seriousness in respecting the nine agreements.

Presidents Salva and Bashir will go to the summit and aware that the business will not be as usual as people of the two countries, particularly in Sudan, and international community have run out of patience. The summit is the last chance for the two leaders to agree on the way forward for implementing the nine agreements and on Abyei and border. President Bashir is fully aware that failure to agree on these pending issues in the next summit will force the heads of state of the AU Peace and Security Council not only to endorse the AUHIP proposals but it will forward these proposals to the UN Security Council for endorsement, a path that Khartoum wants to avoid.

Given the political and diplomatic consequences if the two heads of state failed to agree in the next summit, one expects that Bashir will be more reasonable to abandon his unjustifiable conditions of disengagement between the South and SPLM-North and the alleged harbouring of Sudanese rebels by the South so that the nine agreements to be fully implemented. In fact Sudan is so desperate for the oil revenue from the South.

On the five disputed border areas, there is almost agreement between the parties to resort to the international arbitration after listening to the non-binding opinion from the AU border experts. The summit can easily resolve this issue and proceed to discuss the mechanisms for resolving the claimed border areas. While Sudan is asking for the claimed areas to be handled after finalization of arbitration over the disputed areas, Juba sees it appropriate to handle the disputed and claimed border areas simultaneously. One would expect this issue of the claimed border not to be a stumbling block as the summit could easily agree on a process of finalizing the identification of the claimed areas with facilitation of the AU border experts before these areas are taken for the international arbitration.

On Abyei area, the AUHIP Proposal on the final status of Abyei will be the basis of discussion in the next summit. President Bashir will try to push for further partitioning of Abyei area. One is not sure of how much patience remains with President Salva to renew negotiation over Abyei. However as the summit is a forum for negotiation, President Salva is expected to convince President Bashir to accept the AUHIP Abyei Proposal as a fair deal. It will be for the best interest of President Bashir to accept the AUHIP Abyei Proposal and to raise concerns, if necessary, that would constitute the basis for negotiating with President Salva.

One may expect that President Bashir not to be serious on unjustifiable option of further partitioning of Abyei but he may accept the AUHIP Abyei Proposal but with some reservations. These concerns are likely to be over eligibility of voters, the chair of Abyei Referendum Commission, timing of the referendum, the Abyei oil revenue sharing and political representation of Arab nomads in the administration of Abyei. President Salva is unlikely to renegotiate on the fundamental issues of eligibility, chair of the Commission and timing of the referendum but he may entertain new ideas on oil revenue sharing and political representation of Arab nomads in Abyei administration. If discussion over Abyei could focus on these two issues, then the summit could easily adopt the AUHIP Abyei Proposal with minor changes.

The worst scenario is that if President Bashir continues to be intransigent on the aforementioned issues, then this summit will be the last summit between Presidents Salva and Bashir. The next meeting of the AU Council will be decisive as it will either endorse what the summit agreed upon or to endorse the AUHIP proposals on the pending issues as final and binding African solutions. There will be a window of opportunity for Sudan to be given the last chance to accept these proposals before they are forwarded to the UN Security Council for endorsement and enforcement.

As the path of confrontation between the two countries or with the international community is suicidal and unwinnable, one expects the summit to reach agreement on the pending issues. President Bashir is fully aware that any further confrontation with the South and international community will not only shorten his life in power with misery but will leave a bad legacy that will haunt his family for generations to come. I am confident that the wisdom, imagination and the interests of the people will prevail in this summit so that the people of the two countries can enjoy again peace and stability.

Luka Biong Deng is a senior member of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. He can be contacted at lukabiong@kushworld.org. This article is also published by the New Nation Newspaper - New York, US



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  • 4 January 2013 07:55, by Piny Amec Abethool-Jesus

    Thanks alot dear Dr Luka B. Deng
    This is a great analysis on Pres.Salva and the leader of the National Criminal Party (NCP) summit.
    As you have said it all. Indeed, it is the last chance.
    Pres. Donkey Horse Towel has a criminal mentality. He only listen to guns and not meetings or summits.
    He knows killing only, but not solutions to issues. He is 100% a liability. Bashir must go in 2013.

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    • 4 January 2013 18:34, by nuer food lovers

      mr.George Bol,anti-triaters,ddsA/m u have condemning me,have see the colour of luka Biong today.am confindent both of u re s.sudanese but blind fool by Abyei ladies that were given to u politically.luka Biong shouldn,t cry in the early session,Basher have not added the suap into the food of negiatiation,u have punished our brothers in Ruweng through SPLM provided seat.it is no ur turn under basher

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  • 4 January 2013 08:02, by zulu

    RSS must in my humble opinion reroute the oil.
    It must not seek mediation, but internationally binding decision on Abyei.
    It must stop further negotiations as they are not taking us anywhere.
    It must respond reciprocally to attacks by sudan.
    It must unilaterally obtain powerfurl US military hardware to shoot down enemy planes

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    • 4 January 2013 08:21, by Piny Amec Abethool-Jesus

      Thanks dear Zulu.
      We are on the same page my friend.
      Bashir is the only liability that could not be turned into an asset.
      Some leaders who are liabilities could be turned into assets if they listened to advices and put the people interests first.
      I can tell every body is runing out of patience including Dr Luka Biong. Bashir is a very costly leader.
      CIA is sleeping when it comes to Bashir.

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      • 4 January 2013 09:04, by zulu

        Brother Piny Amec Abethool-Jesus
        Thanx. The paradox is that we are autonomous, but to who, the international community (conglamorations-frenchise) or the elite of sudan, or are they both our guardians?
        Our leaders need to act sometimes like M7 or Kim Yo Un.
        Beshir despises the UN, international community and defies them on answering criminal charges. He moves, bombs and steals our oil at wil

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        • 4 January 2013 09:12, by Wiyual

          Dear Mr. Luka Biong,
          To answer your question. We are expecting no tangible solution out of this summit. Why? Because peopel like Nafie Nafie are not interested in any agreement with South Sudan no more. Bashir is the only one that heart is full with love with South Sudan, but his lip is tight among his NCP colleagues.
          Second, Mr. Luka Biong, you sound critics these days by writing a lot

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          • 4 January 2013 09:16, by Wiyual

            of artcles while you are among the first cabinet who failed to prepared the alternative route to our oil since 2005 rather than enriched yourselves with a lot of billions of oil money. You should rather keep quite with your collegues who enjoying the fruit of this independence while ordinary citizens are facing the hardship and miscalculations of your mistakes.

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    • 4 January 2013 16:27, by Mapuor

      Mr Zulu
      HAHAHA,Yea that implies going back to war on Abyiei.South Sudan is currently unable to collect non oil revenues to finance the war leave alone financing sectoral policies and programs.This phenomenon is squarely blamed on the elite not Kiir alone.wide spread nepotism has killed the morale of South Sudanese patriotic elements.Lastly,international community lost confidence in the South

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      • 4 January 2013 19:21, by nuer food lovers

        mr.mapour bro i don,t know what is wrong with our president &same commetist like George Bol&dinka dominated splm/a?Abyei is Tree like any other trees in south sudan like acacia tree.coming to oil,there is no oil in Abyei as it was clearly defined by the Hague base court in 2009.that the area doesn,t belong to Abyei but the tribe east of Abyei,who re they?Ruweng in Biemnom or Abiemnom.

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  • 4 January 2013 13:39, by sudani ana

    Luka
    Explain this statement to me "Bashir will be more reasonable to abandon his unjustifiable conditions of disengagement between the South and SPLM-North and the alleged harbouring of Sudanese rebels by the South" ????? How can condition of disengagement be unjustifiable???? Why should South Sudan have links with, and support our rebels?? Disengagement should be a permanent condition.

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    • 4 January 2013 20:15, by Peacocktail

      Ya Sudani Ana<
      Do not quesition our dear Leaders on his views on Sudanese behaviors. How can Sudan pre condition another Country of habouring rebels?? How Many do have base in Paris, Kampala, Chad, and in London and Sudan had never summon the Ambassador nor withdraw their representative from those state. Ridiculous idea. South Sudan shall not looks into issues of SRF/SPLA_N, they are your own mad

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      • 5 January 2013 12:33, by Northern Sudanese

        Peacocktail
        those who are in London , Paris , kampala don’t have arms. we don’t have good relations with Kampala anyway, Chad stopped supporting rebels when we stopped supporting theirs who reached Ndjamena. South Sudan is giving rebels a safe heaven for attacks, London and Paris are not as they are against conflict!

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  • 4 January 2013 20:21, by Peacocktail

    Thanks Hon.Luka BIong for those views, our President should not be bulled by Bashir to signed any thing without popular consultation for the interest of SOuth Sudanese. This time if comes back home with useless promise and non durable agreement,we shall not respect him as a true hero in our ancestors land. He will day one and we shall buried while sing song of witches.Our President must LISTEN FIR

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  • 5 January 2013 10:35, by jwok

    we’re expecting No thing from this summit just like others summits ,it’s just another way of wasting the time and resources of south Sudan.
    we’ll consider this summit as a lessons learned ,to confirm that Bashir regime is not committed to any agreement

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  • 5 January 2013 12:35, by Northern Sudanese

    people, close the border and stop supporting rebels and we will all be happy!

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    • 5 January 2013 15:44, by Piny Amec Abethool-Jesus

      Dear North Sudanese
      If we stoped supporting the marginalised people of Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Nuba Mountains, you will not still be happy. Happiness comes from inside not from outside.
      Have a heart for humanity. Stop supporting the National Criminal Party (NCP) or Donkey Horse Towel. Donkey has killed many people. Bashir is going to hell. Change your thinking and attitude.

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