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South Sudan Delegation Visits U.S. This Week


A delegation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by First Vice President Salva Kiir, is expected to arrive in the United States later Monday to brief U.S. and United Nations officials on the latest developments concerning the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The CPA was signed in 2005 to end 21 years of civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. But the south has accused the ruling National Congress Party of Sudan of violating the agreement. Southern ministers withdrew from the government of national unity last month to protest the alleged violations.

However over the weekend, President Omar al-Bashir and First Vice President Kiir reportedly agreed to implement some key provisions of the CPA.

Luka Biong Deng is the minister of presidential affairs in the government of South Sudan. From Khartoum, he told VOA that for the time being, Bashir and Kiir averted a crisis.

“First I want to highlight the point that the SPLM, as a signatory to the CPA, we have not been able to resolve some important issues of the CPA implementation. One of them is the redeployment of forces. The redeployment of forces was supposed to withdraw the Sudan Armed Forces as of 9th of July this year to north of the north-south border. But what happened is that the two leaders they managed to avert a crisis. At least they managed to address about 10 issues except one issue remaining, the issue of Abyei,” he said.

The oil-rich district of Abyei forms the boundary between north and south Sudan. Deng said the parties agreed on Abyei but have not found a final solution. He also said south Sudan is not seeking to control Abyei.

"In the CPA, Abyei has been given a special status to be under the presidency and have its own autonomy, its own administration. And these people are given the right to decided whether they would like to be annexed to the north of to the south. The oil of Abyei has been clearly defined how to be distributed to be allocated to the different levels,” Deng said.

He said the south Sudan delegation’s visit to the United States Monday was at the invitation of the Bush administration.

“The purpose of the visit first, to share with the American government his (Salva Kiir’s) initiative to unify the Darfurian movement that did not sign the Darfur agreement and to encourage to go for the peace talks. As we talk today, most of the movement is in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan. And they have decided that they want to be united first before they could go for the peace talks…Another one is to brief the American government and the United Nations about the status of the implementation of the CPA,” he said.

This weekend’s developments in the implementation of the CPA called for northern troops to be given a new December 15 deadline to withdraw from the south.

Deng said the SPLM is pleased with the latest developments, but he would not say when southern ministers who withdrew from the government of national unity would be returning to the government.

“I believe the side (SPLM) is happy, but it is not happy fully because the Abyei issue is not yet fully yet resolved. But we are hopeful, given the spirit which has been shown, that they will be able to solve the issue of Abyei,” Deng said.

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