Bashir says talks on Sudan’s border states’ conflict must not cross “redlines”
September 25, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has asserted that any settlement to the ongoing conflict in the country’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile must not overstep the existing provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which border the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, descended into violence in June and September respectively after clashes erupted between the Sudanese Army (SAF) and fighters of the armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).
In the CPA, which ended more than two decades of Sudan’s north-south civil wars in 2005 and paved the way for South Sudan’s secession in July this year, the two states were accorded a special protocol stipulating security arrangements to demobilize or integrate SPLM-N combatants, who fought alongside the south in the war.
While the CPA gave South Sudan a vote on independence, the South’s erstwhile allies in South Kordofan and Blue Nile were left orphaned with only a vote called “popular consultation” to gauge local satisfaction with the implementation of the agreement.
In an interview published on Sunday by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Al-Bashir indicated his government’s willingness to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis, but he stressed that such settlement must not cross the “redlines.”
“It is for the sake of peace that we have lost a dear part of Sudan [the south] and therefore we will support and stand behind any efforts to achieve peace. But there are redlines that cannot be crossed,” he was quoted.
According to the Sudanese president, the redline lies in negotiating on any basis other than the provisions already existing in the CPA.
“We will not seek any new thing unless we implement what has already been agreed,” he declared.
In early July, the Sudanese president disavowed a framework agreement signed by Nafei Ali Nafei, NCP deputy chairman and presidential assistant, on 28 June with the SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Addis Ababa deal, as it has become to be known, laid the foundation for new security arrangements in the two states and recognition of the SPLM-N as a legal political party in the north.
The Sudanese government later banned the SPLM-N, saying a political force should lay down arms before to be authorized as political party. Khartoum argues that the registered SPLM is no longer part of the current Sudan, since the independence of South Sudan.
Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 23 September, South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit called on the Sudanese government to seek a negotiated settlement to the crisis in the two states and reinstate commitment to Addis Ababa deal rejected by President Bashir.
In the same interview, the Sudanese president said that what was happening in Blue Nile and South Kordofan is a “conspiracy” to change the government in Sudan.
According to al-Bashir, it is now clear that the failure to implement the CPA’s security arrangements in South Kordofan and Blue Nile was premeditated in order to "create a nucleus" for rebellion in the country.
"We believe this is a foreign plot to change the government and we know who is standing behind it," he said.
Earlier this month, the Sudanese government lodged a complaint to the UN Security Council accusing South Sudan of supporting the rebellion in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
In his address to the UNGA, Salva Kiir reaffirmed the south’s denial to this charge, saying that his country fully adheres to respect for sovereignty and would not interfere in any domestic conflict in Sudan.
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