News / Africa

After AU Summit Talks, Sudan Peace Still Elusive

  • Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) held talks at the AU summit with his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir on issues including oil, ongoing rebellions in the two countries, and new border crossings, but Bashir refused to discuss the disputed region of Abyei when Kiir tried to raise it.
  • African leaders get ready to pose for a group photograph at the African Union (AU) summitin Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 2013, at which the 50th anniversary of the founding of the AU's predecessor, the Organization of African Union (OAU) was celebrated and elusive peace in the Sudans was a talking point.
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom in discussion after holding a news conference in Addis Ababa May 25, 2013, at which Kerry said he will soon name a new envoy for the Sudans.
  • Former South African President Thabo Mbeki (C) looks as Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at a meeting in January 2013 of the AU panel trying to broker agreement on the disputed region of Abyei.  
  • Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abyei at this makeshift camp in South Sudan want to return to the disputed border region to take part in a referendum in October about the area's status. 
  • Khartoum is against an African Union proposal to hold a referendum on the future of the disputed region of Abyei because it says people from the Misseriya tribe, shown here during a protest in Nov. 2012, who are allied with Sudan, will not be allowed to take part in the vote.
  • Sudan said it had nothing to do with a recent shutdown of oil production in the volatile border region. Production resumed at oil fields like Paloch in South Sudan, shown here, in April after being halted over a transit fee dispute in Jan. 2012. 
  • The leaders of the two Sudans announced plans at the African Union summit to open four new crossing points along their 2,200-kilometer border.
Sudans Hold Talks at AU Summit

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday threatened to close a pipeline that carries oil from South Sudan to export terminals in Sudan, dealing a blow to talks held hours earlier with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at the African Union (AU) summit to iron out differences and move the Sudans toward peace.

Speaking on national television after the Sudanese army said it had recaptured a town in the troubled South Kordofan province of Sudan from rebels, Bashir said Sudan would stop carrying crude from landlocked South Sudan as he accused Juba of backing insurgents fighting the government in Khartoum.

Rows between Juba and Khartoum over oil, which is vital to both countries' economies, and backing for rebel group, as well as clashes at the border have kept tensions high between the two Sudans since South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011.

All three issues were among obstacles to lasting peace that were discussed by Kiir ad Bashir when they met on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Ababa over the weekend. 

On a positive note, the two leaders announced they will open four new crossing points on their 2,200-kilometer (1,370-mile) border to facilitate trade, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti told reporters in Addis Ababa after the talks.

Kiir pledged during the talks that South Sudan will not support rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which remain part of Sudan even though many residents fought against Khartoum during Sudan's long civil war, Karti said.

When the talks turned to oil, Bashir showed Kiir documents that, according to Karti, indicate that Sudan had nothing to do with a temporary shutdown of oil production in the volatile border region. The foreign minister blamed the shutdown on  "elements along the border with South Sudan."

The South Sudanese delegation refused to comment to reporters, other than to say the talks had gone well.


Oil is key to both countries' economies. South Sudan gained control of three-quarters of Sudanese crude production when it split from Sudan in July 2011, but oil from the landlocked south has to be transported through pipelines running through Sudan to seaports in the north before it can be exported and generate revenue.

A row with Khartoum, mainly over pipeline transit fees, led to Juba shutting down oil production in January 2012. Production resumed last month.

Stalled Abyei Referendum


Both sides described the talks between Kiir and Bashir at the AU summit as positive, even though the Sudanese leader refused to take up the issue of the disputed region of Abyei when Kiir raised it.

Abyei straddles the border between the two Sudans, and is claimed by both Khartoum and Juba. The province, which is prized for its fertile land and small oil reserves, is currently under United Nations' administration.

An AU panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki has proposed holding a referendum in October in Abyei to determine the area's status.

A referendum on whether Abyei was to remain part of Sudan or become part of South Sudan was to have been held in conjunction with the 2011 referendum that gave South Sudan its independence, but that vote was delayed as violence flared in Abyei between ethnic Dinka residents, who are allied with the south, and Arab Misseriya nomads, who have ties to Sudan.

Juba welcomed the AU's proposed October referendum on the region's status but Khartoum has said the vote won't happen because the Misseriya and other nomadic tribes who migrate through Abyei would not be able to vote.

Early this month, the AU called for an urgent meeting of the leaders of the two Sudans to try to find a solution for the flashpoint region after Dinka tribal leader Kuwal Deng Mayok was killed in Abyei by a member of the Misseriya tribe.

Kerry to Name New U.S. Envoy for Sudans

In separate talks at the summit, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he will soon name a special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan to replace Princeton Lyman, who helped negotiate the recent resumption of oil exports from South Sudan through Sudan after a halt of more than a year.

One of the new U.S. envoy's priorities will be to help resolve the status of Abyei, Kerry said.

South Sudanese government spokesperson Barnaba Marial Benjamin said in Juba that the AU should be responsible for solving the continent’s border disputes, including the ongoing disagreement between the Sudans over Abyei.

While Marial held the AU responsible for the Abyei deadlock, Juba University Professor Afred Lokuji laid part of the blame with the South Sudanese government.

Juba should take the lead in the process, he said, pinning the failure to resolve the status of the region on a lack of leadership in South Sudan since independence in 2011.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nyagoachob from: Uganda kampala
May 28, 2013 5:18 PM
Abyei is not land of Sudan is Land of South Sudan the Sudanese are not owner of Abyei but the people of that land are there, they will ask their right from AU

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid