Sudan seeks EACís mediation
Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir has called on the East African Community (EAC) partner states to help resolve the ongoing dispute between his country and its neighbour, South Sudan.
Bashir has over the last few days sent envoys to his EAC counterparts, including Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, to deliver the message.
On Saturday, a Sudanese delegation led by Ahmed Abdelrahman Mohamed, a senior Member of Parliament and president of the International Popular Friendship Council, delivered the President’s message to Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo. President Kagame was away to the US.
A day earlier, the same delegation had met and held talks with Senate President Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Rose Mukantabana.
“We have been to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and now Rwanda as part of our mission to let our neighbours know the truth about the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan. We want them to first know the real cause of the problem before they intervene. It’s not the Sudans’ problem, it’s an African problem,” Mohamed told The New Times after meeting Minister Mushikiwabo.
Last month, the EAC Heads of State called on the Sudans to end hostilities and return to the negotiating table to resolve the outstanding issues under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which resulted in last year’s South Sudan’s Independence from Khartoum. The landmark deal was signed in Kenya.
Rwanda is particularly an interested party in the Sudans since it maintains a considerable size of peacekeeping contingents in UN-backed missions in both countries; namely, UNAMID (Darfur) and the newly created UNMISS (South Sudan).
Tensions have risen between both sides in recent weeks mainly due to disputed oilfields that lie along vague borders, as well as use and sharing of oil infrastructure and proceeds.
UNAMID officials have said the skirmishes along the two countries’ border undermined progress in Darfur, as some rebel groups are taking advantage to threaten the relative peace and calm that had been achieved over the recent years.
Mohamed blamed the South Sudan government for “continuously violating the CPA,” and charged: “The southern government is going to be threat in the region, that’s why we need to quickly inform our neighbours of the reality of the situation as we see it on our side. South Sudan troops are still in the Heglig region which belongs to Sudan territory.”
The two states separated officially on July 9, 2011, but tensions have not subsided over unresolved issues.
But Sudan does not approve the intervention of the UN or non-African actors in addressing the problem. Reports indicate that South Sudan has also appealed to EAC to help mediate between the two sides.
“We believe Africa is in position to handle its own problems...no need for foreign involvement. We should come together and resolve such conflicts; we would like to see African institutions get involved in solving the African problems,” he noted.
In a statement, Minister Mushikiwabo said the delegation was in the country to see the President and that it “praised Rwanda’s effort to bring about peace in Sudan, particularly the role of the Rwanda Defence Forces in Darfur”.
“Africa has had enough of wars, enough conflicts. We would like to focus on the new Africa. That’s why we would like to dialogue because these problems cannot be resolved unless by dialogue and dialogue alone,” Mohamed told The New Times on Friday, shortly after meeting Dr Ntawukuliryayo.
Border clashes between the two neighbours escalated ever since South Sudan became independent from Sudan, on July 9 last year, six years after the signing of the CPA which ended decades of war between the largely Arab and Islamic north and the black and Christian south.
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, reiterated calls for both countries to disengage, resume post-independence negotiations as well as immediately establish a joint border verification monitoring mechanism as per the May 2 Security Council resolution.