October 10, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Juba has renewed its willingness to facilitate a negotiated settlement to the ongoing conflict between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, who are fighting the government since last year. The two countries have postponed again a security meeting.
- A SPLA-N rebel soldier, in South Kordofan (AFP)
South Sudanese Ambassador to Khartoum Dut Mayen informed Wednesday, Sudanese presidential assistant Abdel-Rahman Sadiq Al-Mahdi who is tasked with relations between the two countries that South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayadrit has the sincere desire to facilitate a solution for the conflict with the SPLM-N rebels.
He pointed out that South Kordofan State, where the rebels are fighting the Sudanese army represents the largest border with South Sudan, and the settlement of this crisis will enhance the security of both countries.
The SPLM-N claim to control 40% of the border, including parts of Blue Nile State as well as South Kordofan.
South Sudanese president has already informed his Sudanese counterpart of his readiness to undertake this demarche during a meeting held in Addis Ababa on 14 July.
The negotiating team of Sudan’s government said they would start peace talks with the SPLM-N once Juba disengage its relations with the rebels who were part of its army the civil war that led to South Sudan’s independence last year. Juba denies assisting the SPLM-N and the SPLM-N themselves claim they capture enough equipment from the Sudanese army to continue their rebellion.
The rebels demand to be included in a security deal signed between Sudan and South Sudan last month, which provided for the establishment of a demilitarised buffer zone on the common border.
Speaking to the press following the meeting, Mayen said Kiir is ready to play any role that can contribute to end the crisis. He further said that Al-Mahdi welcomed the idea.
The SPLM-N rebels said they shelled the capital of South Kordofan Kadugli again on Tuesday evening stressing that the army bombed their positions on the same day. A mortar attack on the town on Monday killed six civilians.
A witness on Wednesday told the AFP news agency that a child was wounded during the shelling.
Kadugli commissioner Abu Al-Bashar Abdel Gadir Hussein said the army shelled the rebel positions on Tuesday evening adding that the government did not want to deal with the them during the consultative peace conference being held there.
DELAY OF SECURITY MEETING
Sudanese and South Sudanese defence ministers from both sides were expected to meet Wednesday in Khartoum to discuss technical aspects pertaining to the implementation of security arrangements they signed under African Union mediation in Addis Ababa on 22 September.
Mayen told reporters that there was some "involuntary confusion" that caused the delay of the meeting without giving further details.
He said that another date would be fixed soon for the meeting, pointing out that the Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein will visit Juba soon.
Initially Hussein was to travel to Juba last Saturday but he proposed to his South Sudanese counterpart to transfer the meeting to Khartoum and it had been announced the two sides agreed to meet on Wednesday.