The government of South Sudan says it is still committed to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 to end 21 years of civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. South Sudan said last week it was withdrawing from the unity government with Khartoum because the party of President Omar al-Bashir had failed to adhere to the CPA.
Over the weekend, the top U.N. official in Sudan, Taye-Brook Zerihoun told South Sudan officials to reverse their decision. European Union foreign ministers are expected to make the same appeal Monday when they meet with officials from both north and south Sudan.
Luka Biong Deng is the minister of presidential affairs in the government of South Sudan. From Khartoum, he told VOA that South Sudan stands for peace not war.
“First of all, we have not pull out from the government. What we have decided is to call our ministers and advisors from the government of national unity. But all our representatives in the assembly and other institutions, even the army, we did not call them back. And this move came as a result to show our protest and dissatisfaction about how things are going on in Sudan, especially the implementation of the CPA,” he said.
Deng said South Sudan has instructed its ministers not to resume their positions in the government until the National Congress Party of President Bashir meets key conditions.
“We have very clear issues. One is the issue of Abiye (the oil-rich region), a clear case of the violation of the CPA; two, the redeployment of Sudan Armed Forces. All the Sudan Armed forces were supposed to be redeployed outside of Southern Sudan last July ninth. That one did not happen. Number three is the issue of north-south border demarcation and the boundary has a lot implication on election and the referendum. The fourth thing is around the oil sector transparency. A lot is hidden; a lot is unknown, and we are depending on the oil,” Deng said.
He also accused the north of blatant abuse of the basic rights of South Sudan, including censorship of the media and what he said was an attack on the offices of South Sudan and the defacing of the photograph of the late Sudan Vice President John Garang.
Deng also accused the Sudan ruling party of deliberately encroaching on the powers of the first vice president and refusing to allow the south to reshuffle its members in the government of national unity.
He said South Sudan officials met over the weekend in Juba with the top U.N. official in Sudan, Taye-Brook Zerihoun and discussed with him key issues concerning the implementation of the CPA and the role of the U.N.
“We discussed actually key issues, and we are saying the U.N. should push the issue of the CPA implementation even in the Security Council and for the U.N. to clear up its operation in Southern Sudan, especially for them to monitor the movement of the forces. So those are various issues that we discussed with him and to pass this information to the Secretary General and to assure him we are not for war unless the South is pushed to the edge to defend itself. We want to implement the CPA,” he said.
Deng said the international community should intervene and force both the north and south to implement the CPA.
With Darfur rebels and the Khartoum government set for peace talks in Libya at the end of October, there are concerns the South Sudan decision to withdraw from the CPA could have an impact on the upcoming Darfur peace talks.
Deng said South Sudan has been helping the Darfur rebels prepare for their upcoming talks with Khartoum.
“As we talk with now, we have invited the nine signatories to the Darfur peace agreement, and they are now in Juba. And we are going to hold a very big meeting so that we can share with the Darfurians our experience in the process of the peace, and we are going to facilitate their coming together for a common position and then to have their own delegation that is going to go to Tripoli by the end of this month. So we are committed to the peace not only in the south or in the east but in Darfur because we feel we can offer a lot to the people of Sudan,” Deng said.
He said there could not be talk of peace in Darfur unless both Khartoum and the south can show to the world that the CPA can be implemented.