IGAD crisis summit on South Sudan called for Thursday

20 Jan

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

The Sudan Tribune reported an hour ago that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders including president Omer al-Bashir will meet in the South Sudan’s capital Juba on Thursday to discuss the ongoing crisis in the new nation and to encourage a negotiated settlement.

According to the Sudanese ambassador to South Sudan, Mutrif Sideeq, Thursday summit aims to push towards a peaceful end to the conflict which started on 15 December last year. In statement to Khartoum based Ashorooq TV, he further said that IGAD foreign ministers will gather on Wednesday, a day before the meeting.

The Sudanese diplomat further disclosed that the three-member mediation panel arrived to Juba on Sunday evening in a bid to secure the release of the political detainees, as the signing of a cessation of hostilities seems imminent.

Reliable sources said the two negotiating teams in Addis Ababa agreed on three draft agreements that to be signed immediately after the release of the 11 detainees. The mediators hope to persuade president Salva Kiir to free them without trial as he accuse his opponents of fomenting a coup d’état.

The three mediators propose that Juba release the political detainees under the responsibility of the East African regional body, IGAD.

The sources further said the two parties still disagree on how to identify the Ugandan troops in the agreements (foreign allies or allies only), underlining that the UPDF are there on a request by the South Sudanese government.

Rebels say the Ugandan role, may hamper IGAD efforts to broker a peaceful settlement to the one-month conflict in South Sudan, as Uganda is a member of the IGAD body.

The rebel leader Riek Machar says the detainees, including Pagan Amum, Deng Alor and Oyai Deng Ajak, will negotiate with the government delegation a political agreement to end the conflict.

Meanwhile, quoting the same source, Mohammed Amin reported on Africa Review the same story.

Speaking to journalists in the South Sudan capital Juba on Sunday, Sudanese ambassador Mutrif Sidig said the summit would take place at the invitation of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, who is the African Union chairman, in an attempt to push forward the stalled negotiations between the South Sudanese warring parties in Addis Ababa.

“This extraordinary summit will be preceded by a meeting of Igad’s Foreign ministers on Wednesday in Juba,” he added.

“Then the summit will be attended by the head of states on Thursday including the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir,” he pointed out.

Many towns have changed hands between the government troops and rebel forces since fighting erupted.

The UN accused the warring parties of committing atrocities against civilians among many other serious violations.

More than 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and 400,000 others displaced during the fighting.

Oilfields restoration

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government has confirmed that it has no intention of intervening militarily in the current war in South Sudan.

Sudanese army spokesman Colonel Alswarmy Khalid Saad said in a press release on Sunday that the army will only consider intervening at the request of the government of South Sudan.

“We have no desire to take part in the internal conflict in South Sudan and Juba did not ask for any military help or intervention from Sudan,” the spokesman stressed.

“The Sudanese army can’t enter the soil of any other country unless under legal protocol or a joint agreement,” he said.

“We have no agreement with South Sudan to protect the oilfields and the protection of the Sudanese technical experts working to maintain the oil wells is a responsibility of the government of South Sudan,” he added.

However the Sudanese ambassador to Juba, Mr Sidig, told journalists on Sunday that Sudan has already implemented many measures to protect its oil facilities, which he described as the “common wealth of the both countries.”

He added: “We are ready to help South Sudan to protect the oilfields if they ask us to do so,” he added.

Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to jointly work to restore oilfields damaged by the fighting between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Sudan will provide technical support to South Sudan to enable it resume production in Unity and Upper Nile states.

The two countries have also agreed to send 900 Sudanese petroleum technicians to the oilfields.

 

Editor’s observation:

    Ethiopia holds chairmanship of both the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Unfortunately, this news does not appear on: Foreign Minister’s Tedros Adhanom’s twitter or facebook (FB), or the Ethiopian foreign ministry’s webpage or its FB, IGAD’s or anywhere else.

    At the time of this writing, Dr. Tedros was on his twitter six hours earlier and on his FB 21 hours earlier from the United Arab Emirates. The foreign ministry’s FB was updated 15 hours earlier; and, as usual, their webpage is frozen. The AU people never turned to their pages since early Saturday. The latest story on IGAD’s pages is dated January 15, 2014, 11:47.

    Since Ethiopia is the chairman country, it cannot escape the blames for this. Why such negligence, when information is key part of diplomacy?

    Does this not say a lot about compounded inefficiency of Ethiopia’s diplomacy? Or is it the habitual information suppression our government is known for? Or is it utter disregard of consumers’ information needs?

    Or is this part of the concession to the Sudan to fan its propaganda? Or has the Sudan become Africa’s information outlet on matters relating to the AU and IGAD – courtesy of Ethiopia to the Sudan? Or is there division of labor between Ethiopia and the Sudan, although officially Ethiopia is the chairman of both the AU and IGAD, at least, the last time I read?

 

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