September 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Karti, announced that Sudan is awaiting the arrival of the newly appointed US envoy to see if he will offer a clear “road map” to resolve the issues between the two countries or not, saying that Khartoum’s cooperation with him depends on the nature of his mission.
- Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti speaks during an interview with Reuters in Khartoum January 18, 2012 (REUTERS PICTURES)
"If the new U.S. envoy has a clear roadmap for relations between Khartoum and Washington, including helping to resolve the remaining files, we welcome this role but if he goes to other issues we will certainly move away from him," Karti told Sudan state radio in an interview today.
"Sudan will look at the performance of the new U.S. envoy [to see] if he was interested in the relations between Sudan and the United States and its focus on a specific program" he added.
Sudan has been under the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harboring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror" over the last decade.
Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.
Late last month, Donald Booth, former ambassador who served in different parts of the African continent, was named special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
The diplomat who served in Ethiopia, Zambia and Liberia "has extensive experience promoting peace and prosperity across the African continent", the White House said.
The White House also said that Booth will work with the African Union (AU) and the international community to facilitate the resolution of pending issues between the two countries, including Abyei referendum and the disputed border zones.
He also seeks to aid efforts aimed at ending the ongoing conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile "as part of a holistic solution to Sudan’s human rights, humanitarian, and governance crises", the White House underlined.
In a related issue, Karti said that the visit of South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, to Khartoum last Monday came in the wake of estranged relations between the two countries.
He said that border issues and the delay of border demarcation as well as problems caused by the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in South Kordofan and Darfur led to shutting down the oil pipeline carrying South Sudan’s oil through Sudan’s territory.
In September of last year, both Sudan and South Sudan signed a series of cooperation agreements, which covered oil, citizenship rights, security issues, banking, border trade among other issues.
In March this year the two countries signed an implementation matrix for these cooperation agreements but in June, Sudan’s president, Omer al-Bashir, ordered the suspension of South Sudanese petroleum exports through Sudan’s oil installations, accusing Juba of providing shelter and support to the SRF.
South Sudan rejects accusations of rebel support leveled by its northern neighbor and in turn alleges that Khartoum is aiding David Yau Yau’s rebellion in Jonglei state.
Karti noted that Juba recently witnessed positive political developments which paved the way for the visit, pointing to the positive outcome of the visit including resuming oil flow and Juba’s commitment to resolve the outstanding issues particularly the security issue.
He also underscored the crucial role played by movements of ordinary citizens, civil society organizations, and the parliaments in bolstering relations between Juba and Khartoum.
The foreign minister pointed to the positive role played by Sudan’s popular delegation including political, economic, cultural, and sports representatives which visited Juba prior to Kiir’s visit to Khartoum.