August 7, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The eventual improvement of bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan would lead the later to reduce its support to rebel groups in western Sudan, said Tijani Al-Sissi the head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) on Tuesday.
- Tjanai Al-Sissi, head of Darfur Regional Authority
Sudan and South Sudan signed an agreement on oil transportation fees last week and are still discussing ways to implement security arrangements the two countries signed sealed in November 2011.
The implementation of the deal is just depending of Khartoum acceptance of a map proposed by the mediators to operationalise a demilitarised zone on the border between the two countries to prevent cross border attacks carried by rebel groups from both sides.
"The way I see it now, the two countries are moving to harmonise their relations and (Darfur) rebel movements have become victim to that," Sissi told the Agence France Presse in an interview on Tuesday.
DRA chief in the past months following the surge of rebel attacks in Darfur, accused Juba of supporting them and urged the international community to press Juba to stop backing them as these aszsaults hamper the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
"Everybody knew that they were in South Sudan. Everybody knew that they are supported by South Sudan," he said.
"I think the (rebel) movements must have realised that they have been used by South Sudan to strengthen their position in Addis Ababa," he further said.
Sudan and South Sudan trade accusations of backing rebels groups. From the Sudanese sides, Khartoum says Juba supports their former comrades of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM) and Darfur rebels.
Juba denies generally supporting the Sudanese rebel groups who are more important and strong than the weak South Sudanese rebel militias. However, officials in the newly independent country, like information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin and SPLM secretary general and chief negotiator Pagan Amum speak now about sympathy and solidarity with the SPLM-N.
"President Salva has been saying that we are not supporting the SPLM-North, but the fact that we are sympathetic to them and that President Kiir can help to assist President Bashir if he negotiates peacefully with the SPLM-North as required by the Security Council 2046", government spokesperson Barnaba Marial told Sudan Radio service two days ago.
"As people of South Sudan, we’re in solidarity with all the marginalised groups in the world, and the marginalised groups in Sudan. It’s solidarity. It’s solidarity. It takes all its forms," Pagan told Reuters on Tueday.
SPLM-N rebels, under international pressures, are engaged in a timid process to reach a negotiated settlement to a crisis that erupted in June 2011 over the implementation of a protocol related to South Kordofan and Blue Nile included in a peace agreement Sudan and South Sudan’s former rebels signed in 2005.
SPLM-N, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, and Minni Minnawi forged in November 2011 a rebel alliance, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), vowing to topple the regime of Omer Al-Bashir in Khartoum.
Sudanese government and SPLM-N signed a humanitarian deal allowing aid agencies to reach civilians in the rebel held areas for the first time since the start of the conflict in June 2011. For the political track, the mediation is preparing to engage the process during the upcoming weeks.
UN Security Council, in a meeting to be held on 9 August, is also expected to underline the need for a quick resolution of the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan as the issue of Khartoum – Juba relations and this conflict are see inextricably linked by the international community.
Darfur holdout rebel groups refuse a framework peace document, DDPD, Khartoum and Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) of Sissi inked in July 2011 in Doha. Regime change is seen as best way for the rebel groups for a true peace, justice and power sharing in the country.
Darfur rebels are asked by the Security Council to join the DDPD as a donor conference is expected to be held by the end of the year to collect some six billions the DRA says it needs for recovery projects and development.
However Khartoum has failed, due to the financial crisis, to honour its commitments to pay an initial $200 million for a reconstruction and development fund and financial compensations to those who are affected by the conflict.