Home | News    Monday 4 January 2016

Juba to mediate between Khartoum and Sudanese rebels

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January 3, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Barnaba Marial Benjamin said his country is making efforts to mediate between Khartoum and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

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Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour (R) and his South Sudanese counterpart Barnaba Marial Benjamin (C) speak in a joint press conference in Khartoum on 3 January 2016 (ST Photo)

Benjamin, who concluded a four-day visit to Khartoum Sunday, said in a joint press conference following talks with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghanodur that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit is leading by himself the mediation efforts between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N.

Ghandour, for his part, said Mayardit has earlier discussed his initiative for mediation between the government and the SPLM-N with President Omer al-Bashir and the First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Salih, saying the two leaders have agreed on the manner in which the mediation should be conducted.

In an interview with Al-Sudani newspaper late last December, Sudan’s spy-chief Mohamed Atta said that Khartoum rejected a proposal from Juba to mediate between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N, describing the latter as “not neutral”.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011.

Last October, the two warring parties in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states announced a unilateral truce but the fighting resumed after the failure of the peace talks by the end of November.

BILATERAL TIES

Meanwhile, Ghanodur said the two sides have agreed on several issues including those pertaining to the South Sudanese fleeing to Sudan due to the ongoing conflict and the accommodation of South Sudan’s students in the Sudanese schools and colleges.

He pointed that the talks between the two sides reflected the seriousness and desire to achieve understandings leading to peaceful relations between the two nations, saying they agreed to end the presence of rebel movements through a joint mechanism.

“We spoke frankly on this issue and we underscored that [the only way to stop] the trade of accusations [ of harbouring rebel groups] is to implement the agreement signed [between the two governments] on September 2012 by determining the zero-line and the demilitarized zone and the crossing points”, he said.

Khartoum and Juba regularly trade accusations of support to rebel groups from both sides.

To settle this issue, the two countries committed themselves in the Cooperation Agreement of 27 September 2012 to stop supporting or harbouring rebel groups, and agreed to establish a buffer zone on the border and to form a joint monitoring team to prevent rebel infiltration.

However, the agreement was not implemented as Juba fears that the establishment of a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) may irritate the Dinka Malual who believe that the deal leads to concede the disputed 14-Mile Area to Sudan.

For his part, Barnaba said the two sides would stop the presence of (Sudanese) armed groups in their territory as soon as they achieve peace, pointing to the strong ties between the two countries.

“The two countries wouldn’t settle down without achieving peace and we are moving in the right path," he said.

The peace agreement signed last August between Juba government and the armed opposition of the SPLM provides to disarm the rebel factions of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) present in South Sudan during the pre-transitional period.

The visiting South Sudanese top diplomat called for coordinating positions of the two countries in the international forums besides activating the work of the committees tasked with cancelling the foreign debt.

the visiting minister further called for opening the border between the two countries to activate trade, noting that his country is the largest market for the Sudanese products.

He denied that Sudanese nationals have been targeted in South Sudan; pointing Sudanese traders in his country receive the same treatment as the local citizens.

Baranba pledged that Sudanese nationals who reside in South Sudan for five years would be granted passports.

(ST)

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  • 3 January 2016 22:05, by Khent

    And this makes sense, how? Juba should just accept that Sudan is an enemy State and should completely reject any prospect of rapprochement as long as Khartoum occupies areas like Kafia Kingi. Khartoum started this game of supporting rebels across the greater Sudan border, so Juba should not feel obligated to work with Khartoum.

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    • 3 January 2016 23:51, by Khent

      Assuming that it could be an effective ’mediator [like hell], South Sudan is not in any position to help solve conflicts in other countries, considering that it can’t even bring peace to its own people. Forget Sudan and concentrate on your own affairs. Sudan is an enemy State.

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      • 4 January 2016 00:33, by dinkdong

        Exactly! They must be joking.

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        • 4 January 2016 06:14, by Mi diit

          "For his part, Barnaba said the two sides would stop the presence of (Sudanese) armed groups in their territory as soon as they achieve peace, pointing to the strong ties between the two countries."

          So lies and denials have finally come to an end. Then kick them out from South Sudan’s territory.

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      • 4 January 2016 09:46, by jubaone

        Khent,

        Your remark here is objective and in place. Thank you.

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  • 4 January 2016 05:22, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    I disagree, let south Sudan finish its internal problems first before such forecasts if mediation, even nine cooperation agreement between Juba and Khartoum are not well treated.

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    • 4 January 2016 07:21, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      This the best they could come with after they let foreigners like Deng Athorbei and Korrom spoiled our Christ
      mas.

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  • 4 January 2016 09:03, by Kalo

    There will not be any process between two countries unless to stop the issue of accusation of supporting rebels,to Midiit,if SPLA-N still presence in S.Sudan,there was not need of S.S government to inviting the Ugandan in S.S to fought Riek there.
    Son of Nuba

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  • 4 January 2016 10:22, by Moses Deng Malual

    Barnba pledged that Sudanese nationals who reside in South Sudan for five years would be granted passports.
    Hon.Barnaba,please explain the validity of your statement.

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    • 4 January 2016 12:25, by Eastern

      Moses Deng Malual,

      That’s what SPLM set to achieve after all: to have a United Sudan. Don’t blame this on Marial Benjamin, it’s a rapprochement from the kleptocratic government in Juba. In return, Bashir will order the frozen borders with South Sudan to reopened - back to square one!!!

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