News

South Sudan Says Khartoum Stalls Peace Talks While Waging War

South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum (file photo)
South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum (file photo)

South Sudan has accused the Khartoum government of rejecting peace overtures while its forces bomb targets in the south. As a result, African Union-mediated talks in Addis Ababa are in danger of collapse.

South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum says Sudanese warplanes bombed southern positions for a seventh day Sunday, while Khartoum's defense minister spurned scheduled security talks. He said the minister's absence for a meeting of a Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) shows Sudan is rejecting the AU-mediated peace process.

"Unfortunately, the response of Khartoum is war. They have launched aerial and ground attacks from Monday. Up to today they are bombing South Sudan. The government of Sudan is the one that is waging war, the head of the JPSM on their side is not here.  The Meeting was supposed to take place yesterday, and he has not appeared."

Officials of the AU mediation panel described the talks as “on hold” pending the arrival of the Sudanese defense minister. They held out hope that he was on his way after receiving what was described as a personal invitation from the chief mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Trading accusations

The South Sudanese delegation that arrived for the scheduled start of the talks was clearly upset at having to wait while defense ministry officials in Khartoum deal with what they say is a military incursion from the south.

Chief southern negotiator Pagan Amum flatly rejected reports of a military incursion into Sudanese territory.

"There is no South Sudanese presence.  Not a single South Sudanese soldier on Sudanese soil".

Mediators had hoped the talks would lead to a rescheduling of a summit meeting between Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.  The meeting had originally been set for April 3 in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. But the Khartoum government backed out of the meeting after accusing the South of attacking the Sudanese oil center of Heglig last Monday.

The south vehemently denies the attack, and accuses Sudan of instigating the clash.

Remaining hopeful

Mediation panel sources remained hopeful Sunday that the Juba summit might still be held, though it could be delayed a week. They say a meeting of the presidents is crucial to breaking logjams that have delayed progress in the talks on key issues, including sharing oil revenues.

South Sudan is said to be in especially desperate straits after shutting down its oil production in January. Oil accounts for 98 percent of the country's income.

South Sudan's Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial tells VOA his government would be willing to move the summit to a neutral site, probably Addis Ababa, if that would ease Khartoum's objections.

"We have no objection at all to meeting President Bashir in a venue other than Juba in South Sudan, though we would prefer President Bashir to come to Juba, as a return because President Salva paid a visit to Khartoum last October and the understanding was that President Bashir would come to Juba. But if for any reason he feels coming to Juba is objectionable, we have no problem meeting him anywhere else."

African Union officials said mediation panel chief Thabo Mbeki was willing to stay as long as necessary to get the two sides to implement a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. The mechanism is aimed at preventing a war by jointly examining outbreaks of hostilities along the disputed frontier. The mechanism was part of an agreement signed last June, weeks before the south declared independence from Khartoum.  


This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs