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South Sudan starts withdrawing troops from border zone with Sudan

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January 19, 2013 (WAU) - South Sudan has started withdrawing its troops from the border with Sudan, according to senior government officials, to allow a buffer zone to be created between the two nations.

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South Sudan’s SPLA soldiers hold up their weapons as they shout at a military base in Bentiu 22 April 2012 (Reuters)

The Safe Demilitarized Buffer Zone (SDBZ) is a key part of a deal the two countries signed in September last year, to allow South Sudan restart oil production; the revenues from which are vital for both economies.

"By withdrawing its forces ... the government of South Sudan is clearly demonstrating its full compliance with the signed security agreements and full commitment to their implementation," says a statement the South Sudanese government issued on Thursday.

The September Cooperation Agreement had appeared to be a breakthrough in relations between the two nations, which have soured since South Sudan’s independence in July 2011.

The impasse was largely caused by the failure to implement the security element of the deal. Sudan accuses South Sudan of backing rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, while Juba denies this and has accused Khartoum of bombing its territory - most recently at the end of December and beginning of January.

However, at a Presidential summit in Ethiopia, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir agreed to implement all existing agreements. Sudan says that operationalising the buffer zone and the other security issues are a precondition for allowing South Sudan’s oil to resume passing through its territory for export.

Before the January 2012 shutdown, revenue from South Sudan’s 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) output accounted for 98% of Southern government’s income. Juba had hoped to have been producing 230,000 bpd by December, but now it is anticipated that the pumps could be turned on again in February, with South Sudan crude oil reaching international markets through Port Sudan by April.

But this remains contingent on the security deal being implemented.

Thursday’s statement, which bears signature of South Sudan’s Defence Minister John Kong Nyuon and Justice Minister John Luk Jok, asserted that the withdrawal was in full compliance with the road map put forward by the African Union Peace and Security Council, which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

“This withdrawal was completed within the time frame that has been agreed by the Parties. This is the first step in the separation of forces and the full operationalisation of the SDBZ (10km withdrawal from the centerline”, the statement reads in part.

The "centreline" away from which the two sides should withdraw, proposed by the African Union mediation led by Thabo Meki’s High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), has been a point of contention.

Under the proposal, the "centreline" is nonbinding and will have no influence on the resolution of disputed areas and any final border agreement. Large areas of the 2,000km border remain undemarcated.

At a meeting of the bilateral Joint Political and Security Mechanism in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia convened by the AUHIP from 14-15 January, South Sudan "fully accepted the full demilitarization of the “14 mile area”. The issue on Mile 14’s inclusion has proved controversial in the South Sudan, especially in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State where the Malual Dinka claim that the ownership of the fertile grazing area is not in dispute.

South Sudan said the withdrawing of its troops from Mile 14 would take 47 days from the day the pullback commences.

The acting chief negotiator, Minister John Luk Jok noted: “By withdrawing its forces south of the centreline of the temporary administrative and security map of the AUHIP and agreeing to the full demilitarization of the SDBZ and the 14 miles area, the Government of South Sudan is clearly demonstrating its full compliance with the signed security agreements and full commitment to their implementation."

Jok said his government expects the Government of Sudan to similarly implement fully and unconditionally the security agreements and all other agreements embodied in the Cooperation Agreement of 27 September 2012, explaining that, "these agreements lay the foundations for mutual viability of both our nations and enduring peace between our peoples.”

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Defense Minister added that: “In addition to the withdrawal of the troops south of the centerline, we have also started the redeployment of our forces from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (10km withdrawal from the centerline), which will be completed by the deadline of 4 February 2013.

However, Colonel Phillip Aguer, the spokesman of the South Sudan army (SPLA) said “the matrix of withdrawal with clear time frame has not come out” and the process needs to be coordinated on both sides.

(ST)

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  • 19 January 2013 07:56, by Jeti

    Why rush with withdrawal, H.E Mr. President? Is it because of oil to start flowing or what? Very bad move!!!

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    • 19 January 2013 08:13, by bakuluk

      money talk, with no plan b. just wait for spla convention to divide them self in to four group,

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      • 19 January 2013 18:02, by Hardball

        Why is it every time South Sudan is the one to withdraw from the border zone? When is the last time we heard/see Sudan withdrew from the border zone? Why is it that South Sudan is the only one that follows the orders from international community and Sudan doesn’t? This time allow Sudan to withdraw first and South Sudan will follow.

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    • 19 January 2013 09:12, by Dinkawarrior

      "to allow South Sudan restart oil production; the revenues from which are vital for both economies."
      Oh God Almighty! What is wrong with our Cowboy? He is getting craze about oil! The reasons behind of rushing to withdrawal troops is that our thieves are running out of C$$$$H!! Mr. President Oil-Kiir, you need to be careful at this! NO-WITHDRAL & NO-OIL! This is the last warning!!!

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      • 19 January 2013 09:44, by Ahmed Chol

        And is the North withdrawing or amassing troops on the border?
        South Sudan will regret soon. No matter what you do, North Sudan will still not allow you to transport oil since it has donated money from Arab gulf countries.
        Koc ci piny ke kueth!

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      • 19 January 2013 10:43, by Dinkawarrior

        I am scare to death about this man called Thombo Mbeke, he have been swallowing some many enormous things not just South Sudan. Chances are high for him to put our country in his pockets, don’t be too excited about oil. If you’re sleepy then you need to get up and do samething before it too late for us to catch up.

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      • 19 January 2013 13:10, by Jur Tier

        Very true Mr. warior, the need to rush for oil revenues wouldn’t help South Sudan economically. Southern politician need to understand that Khartoum need the flow of the crude oil in order to compansate Beijing’s terrilion of dollars loaned to Sudan for weapons during the War.
        And to make it worse, not only China. There are other world governments which I wouldn’t mention for the security reaso

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    • 19 January 2013 10:03, by daniell

      It must be a decisive withdrawal if not the Northern Sudan government will think that the 14mile is their eventhough it is not.

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    • 19 January 2013 14:57, by above king of arabs/muslims

      Why is useless kiir always the first to implement the matter that concern both nations. I’m pretty sure kiir is more concern about oil flow than life of south sudanese who become victims of khartoum Ariel bombardment. Kiir you need to invest on oil refinery other than licking Bashir ass in order to allow an oil flow.

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    • 20 January 2013 07:47, by bianaathling

      What again?why is it always south Sudan to understand thing quickly Mr.Cow Boy you are really confusing young nation’s future i thought that this time around could be Bahit to do it first.Bahit will not respect you with your inadequate actions and decisions you always make.Remember 2015 is approaching us and we will decide to choose the right person then a wrong person.

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    • 14 May 2013 06:37, by dwasex0f

      This one helped me for a thesis which I am writing. Thank you for giving me another point of view on this difficult situation. Now I can easily complete my article. Thanks
      sacramento website design group

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  • 19 January 2013 08:11, by Peter Marko

    The withdrawal must be done simultaneously on the both sides; otherwise our government should not withdraw our forces from the contested areas.

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  • 19 January 2013 08:25, by william

    South complaince toward the bribed Thabo Mbeke fake ideas will one day gives sudan full occupation of south sudan again why Kirr ordered withdrawal of SPLA meamwhile arab is beefing up its army at the borders and Abyei???? if he fears war let him resigns so that other person may come in.

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    • 19 January 2013 11:47, by Madiak

      Mr William
      I fully agree with you.
      Juliano Garang Mawien Mayath

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  • 19 January 2013 08:25, by barbayo

    South Sudan Army will not move in their land weather you want or not it your business.

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  • 19 January 2013 08:31, by william

    Another compaince as you did in case of Heglig?????? what is wrong with Kiir!! Please mr.president if you are tired due to endless war with terrorist in Khartuom better you leave the power.

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    • 19 January 2013 08:51, by zulu

      FOLKS,
      DO NOT DESPARE. ALL ARE VIGILANT AND RECIPROCITY WILL ACCOUNTT AS A MEASURE

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  • 19 January 2013 08:56, by master

    i told you that south sudan would withdrew it itroops
    you should disarm SPLA NORTH to allow oil flow

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    • 19 January 2013 09:52, by Mapuor

      Master
      Withdrawal from center line is enough.Its not practical to withdraw and again invade Sudan to disarm its rebels that are deeply staying in Sudan.Say something else.Both governments are in dire need of oil money on which they depend to run their institutions.

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  • 19 January 2013 09:10, by Ommar Bashir

    I’m Al Bashir president of Northern Sudan. I have been telling S. Sudan many times that I have no reason of letting Kiir’s oil flow through my land. If you keep fulfilling my demand, your government will soon collapse. I’m urging you to look your own way of supporting yourself and do not expect me to allow your oil through my land. Thanks for listening my advice.

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    • 19 January 2013 09:19, by Dinkawarrior

      Ommar Bashit!
      I am Dinkawarrior and I warn you to stop making a lot of noise! The second gutshot will be on your ass! You better shut up!

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      • 19 January 2013 09:35, by Ommar Bashir

        Dinkawarrior
        if that is your government, you better advice yourself first before you make a move. The land is yours and we should withdraw at the same time. I’m Al Bashir get advice somewhere.

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      • 19 January 2013 10:15, by Nuer Empire

        @ Dinka Warrior
        Ahahaha!You call yourself Dinka Warrior for fighting among yourselves like Mesiriya over grazing land?It would be shameful to see that soundless name insulting yourself!Dinka Agaar(Agaara)are chewing themselves over grazing land.They should fight with Arabs in the border if they were the real warriors otherwise it is a big shame to them!
        ***The Nuer Empire***

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      • 19 January 2013 10:34, by Mangor de Keroor

        the withdrawal done by the SPLA shows to the world the level of commitment on the side of South Sudan and that does not mean that SPLA has surrendered to SAF its controlled areas, we took Heghig when we were not there. so this is just to fulfill the obligation on the basis of agreement signed by two sides and nothing much.

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  • 19 January 2013 10:06, by Nuer Empire

    The President is coward,cowboy who does not think that such a with drawal must bring shames to him when Arabs are going to fully occupy the areas near to the border and killing people. How far is Gogrial from the border?

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  • 19 January 2013 10:33, by Nyakuzuny

    Look now people of South Sudan! look your stupid President he using decided withdrawal without know Advantages and Disadvantages. let Uselles President of Gogerial Village go to the Village to become a Heard of Community in Gogerial Not for South Sudan .

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  • 19 January 2013 10:44, by jwok

    unacceptable action from our president Salva Kiir , this mean we’re giving our land to Arab so that we can survive
    this is the biggest shame to us and its mean the land - for- food
    the implementation of the agreement should be in both sides not only South Sudanese Side
    our struggle for more than 20 years has gone .

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  • 19 January 2013 10:45, by Bilpam Land & Itang are Roots of South Sudan.

    hoo people of South Sudan , what we think the way forward because our withdrawal in Borders will Making our oils to taking of Arabs Khartoum , you know those of Arabs they becomes happy because they believe that we don’t have good behaviour they will collecting our all revernues to Northern Sudan , while you are still follow Nothing about U.N and A.U I sort You will remaining hungaries.

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  • 19 January 2013 10:48, by Alier42

    The withdrawal of Spla forces is not a bad idea.But its urgency, will give Sudan the upper hands to claim the contested borders which on the other hand can strengthen their claim ,to make matter worse their forces may move into the areas formally occupied by our forces and reclaiming them back may be another hell of task to our men in uniforms.

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  • 19 January 2013 10:50, by Nuer Empire

    Arabs will march South ward

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    • 19 January 2013 12:20, by Nuer Empire

      Infliation has reduced to 25% without oils

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  • 19 January 2013 14:26, by panchol

    Dear President!
    The world is planning for the South Sudan to be re-united with North Sudan. Why should our forces withdraw together with SAF @the second,minute,hour,day,week,month & year? What was done by UNSC when Khartoum carried out ground and air bombardment alongside our border without any condemnation. Khartoum will still that oil! Mark my words.

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    • 19 January 2013 17:31, by Ahmed Chol

      Panchol,
      I agree with you because cooperation agreement allows northerners to come to south and own property without being question, still one country?

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  • 19 January 2013 14:56, by panchol

    continue.. I felt very shock when I heard about SPLA withdrawal from the border line back ten kilometres southward. So far SAF will advance occupying the areas under control of SPLA.
    God help South Sudan! God help Martyrs! God cultiv

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  • 19 January 2013 15:25, by panchol

    Withdrawal of two armies is there as planned by mediators, but this time SAF must excuted it first.
    NB: SPLA and SAF were ordered last time in Abyei to fully withdraw forces but our Government obeyed the orders of UNSC but SAF have not yet withdrawn in the area up to now.
    Anyway we shall see what will happen in Abyei Referendum and the SS oil resumption.

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  • 19 January 2013 16:35, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    Frankly speaking, the President of the South Sudan is very "Naive and he can not withstand, nor bear the problems of the South Sudan" "I thought that Salva Kiir Miyardit was a brief leader when I was in Tharpam") In this point, withdrawal of troops from Abyei means Salva Kiir is incompetence to lead the South. Shame on him.
    By Augustino Deng. Jech la mer from Tharpam.

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    • 19 January 2013 19:09, by Nuer Empire

      Deng:Which Tharpaam are you talking about?

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  • 19 January 2013 18:46, by Tutbol

    Our senitised naive leaders from our Bhar el gazel who have never been good in leading; are now again trying to play the game that we all know, is constant intimidations & to be treated like kings, our ancestors fought off the ancient Egyptians. Pluotocrcy, greed & monarchism are diseases in S Sudan.

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    • 19 January 2013 19:21, by no peace with north

      I doubt may be is not true, if it is true SPLA withdraw their mean while Kiir is doing nothing on his leadership he is a real weak presindent, because Kiir know how to fight, but he don’t know how to talk that is the weakness of him even Riek is weak also in in term of talking I see him always stammering while is on interview he better Wani Igga.

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      • 19 January 2013 20:21, by Muorcienggok

        Note that Kiir is not alone he is being shouldered by a number of advisers of which if things do not work out then it is not kiir to be blame alone, not only that you have alleged that he does not know how to talk is a mere liar which is applicable in the movie, i hope you are not better than president kiir. let me assure you that what kiir has done will never be done by you,mind your busines

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  • 20 January 2013 06:18, by Observer

    I think you should be proud of your president for honouring his side of the agreement.
    It shows up our president for breaking all the agreements he has made.
    The international community is more likely to listen to S Sudan’s complaints about Sudan not adhering to the agreement made by both sides to withdraw their troops from the area.
    So think of this as positive

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  • 20 January 2013 21:44, by Kim Deng

    Folks,
    what do you expect if a country is lead by coward leader, of course, humiliation and defeat at the same time.

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