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I. INTRODUCTION

 

1. This report is submitted pursuant to communiqué PSC/MIN/COMM/3.(CCCXIX) adopted by Council at its 319th meeting, held on 24 April 2012. In this communiqué, Council articulated a Roadmap  for  the  ending  of  hostilities  and  the  resolution  of  outstanding  issues  between  the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.

 

2. The  report,  which  contains  a  brief  background  on  the  post-secession  negotiations, provides  an  update  on  the  implementation  of  the  various  components  of  the  Roadmap.  It concludes with observations on the way forward and the steps expected from the Parties. 

II. BACKGROUND

 

3. Since  May  2010,  at  the  initiative  of  the  Parties,  the  African  Union  High-Level Implementation Panel  (AUHIP) has been  facilitating  the negotiations on outstanding  issues  in the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and post-secession relations between the Government of Sudan and  the Government of South Sudan, within  the  framework of  the overriding principle of establishing  two  viable  states, at peace with one another,  cooperative and mutually  supportive. The AUHIP-facilitated negotiations between  the  two  countries have focused on security matters, oil and related financial arrangements, nationality, border  issues, and the status of Abyei. Additionally, the Panel has engaged with the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on the conflict in the “Two Areas” of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, in Sudan. 

 

4. During  this  period,  the  Parties  reached  a  number  of  important  security  and  related agreements.  These  include  the  Agreement  on  the  Temporary  Arrangements  for  the Administration  and  Security  of  the  Abyei  Area  of  20  June  2011,  the  Agreement  on  Border Security  and  the  Joint  Political  and  Security Mechanism  (JPSM)  of  29  June  2011,  a  standing ministerial-level  intergovernmental  structure between  the  two  States,  the Agreement on  the Border Monitoring Support Mission of 30 July 2011, the Decisions of the JPSM of 18 September 2011, and  the Memorandum of Understanding  (MoU) on Non-Aggression and Cooperation of 10 February 2012.

5. In  March  2012,  in  the  context  of  deteriorating  relations  and  worsening  economic conditions in both countries, the two sides agreed to work within a “new spirit”, whereby they would  negotiate  as  partners,  in  pursuit  of  their  original  strategic  objective  of  “two  viable states”.  It was also agreed  that a summit meeting of  the  two Heads of State, President Omar Hassan al Bashir and President Salva Kiir Mayardit, would be held in Juba, in early April 2012, to cement this “new approach”.

6. Unfortunately, this new spirit unraveled rapidly following the military attack on Heglig in April  2012,  spurring  a  confrontation  between  the  two  countries.   This  situation  considerably damaged the prospects for resuming negotiations, and raised the risk of an all-out war between the two countries, with its attendant negative consequences for the entire region. 

 

7. It was  in this context that Council, at  its 319th meeting, adopted a Roadmap outlining a number  of  steps  aimed  at  easing  the  then-prevailing  tension,  facilitating  the  resumption  of negotiations on post-secession  relations,  and  the normalization of  the  relations between  the two  states.  The  Roadmap  falls  into  three  parts,  namely  immediate  security  issues,  the resumption of negotiations on all outstanding  issues, and measures  to address  the conflict  in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

 

8. With regard to security matters, the Roadmap called for: (i) the immediate cessation of hostilities,  including aerial bombardment; (ii) the unconditional withdrawal of all armed forces to  their  side  of  the  border;  (iii)  the  cessation  of  harbouring  of,  or  support  to,  rebel  groups against  the  other  State;  (iv)  the  activation  of  the  Safe  Demilitarized  Border  Zone  (SDBZ),  in accordance  with  the  AUHIP  map  of  November  2011;  (v)  the  activation  of  the  Joint  Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM); (vi) the activation of the ad hoc Committee to  receive  allegations  and  counter-allegations  of  violations;  (vii)  the withdrawal  of  all  armed forces from Abyei; and (viii) an end to hostile propaganda. 

9. The communiqué also called on  the Parties unconditionally  to  resume negotiations on all  outstanding  aspects  in  their  post-secession  relations,  in  particular  on  oil  and  related payments,  borders,  nationality  issues  and  the  final  status  of  Abyei.  It  requested  the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North to enter into negotiations towards the resolution of the  conflict  in  Southern  Kordofan  and  Blue Nile  states,  and  gave  a  role  to  the AUHIP  in  this regard.  The  deadline  given  by  Council  for  the  completion  of  the  negotiations  on  the  post-secession relations was three months from the adoption of the communiqué.

 

10. Council  requested  the Chairperson of  the Commission  to  transmit  the communiqué  to the UN Security Council, for endorsement under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.  On 2 May 2012, the Security Council endorsed the Roadmap, as requested, with the adoption of resolution 2046 (2012).  In  a  communiqué  issued  on  3 May  2012,  I welcomed  the  unanimous  support  of  the Security Council for the AU Roadmap, as another  illustration of the close partnership between the AU and the UN, particularly between Council and the Security Council, in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa. It should be noted that the deadline for the completion of negotiations  was  thereby  set  at  2  August  2012,  3  months  from  the  date  of  adoption  of resolution 2046 (2012).

11. Both Governments wrote  to me  formally,  indicating  their acceptance of  the Roadmap. On 30 April 2012,  I  issued a communiqué welcoming South Sudan’s  formal acceptance of  the Roadmap.  On  2  May  2012,  I  issued  another  communiqué  in  which  I  welcomed  Sudan’s acceptance in principle of the Roadmap.

 

III. PROGRESS  IN THE  IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ROADMAP AIMED AT  EASING  THE  TENSION  BETWEEN  THE  TWO  COUNTRIES  AND  FACILITATING  THE RESUMPTION OF THE POST-SECESSION NEGOTIATIONS

 

12. As  indicated  above,  in  its  Roadmap,  Council  outlined  a  number  of  steps  to  be implemented  by  both  Sudan  and  South  Sudan,  in  order  to  ease  the  tension  that  was  then prevailing on the ground,  facilitate the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and  the  normalization  of  their  relations.  It  should  be  noted  that,  since  the  adoption  of  the Roadmap and  its  subsequent endorsement by  the Security Council,  there has been a marked decrease in the levels of fighting. Some progress has also been achieved in the implementation of other aspects of the Roadmap.

13. The  Roadmap  obliged  the  Parties  to  redeploy  their  armed  forces  out  of  Abyei,  in accordance  with  the  20  June  2011  Agreement  on  Temporary  Administrative  and  Security Arrangements  for  Abyei. On  10 May  2012,  the Government  of  the  Republic  of  South  Sudan completed  the  withdrawal  of  its  700-strong  police  from  Abyei.  I  welcomed  this  step  in  a communiqué  issued on 11 May, and commended the Government of South Sudan  for making good of its pledge to withdraw from Abyei. On 29 May 2012, Sudan completed the withdrawal of  its Armed  Forces and Police  Service  from Abyei,  leaving behind a  company of oil police  in Diffra  to  protect  the  oil  installations.  On  2  June  2012,  I  issued  a  statement  welcoming  the redeployment  of  the  Sudanese  forces  from  Abyei.  I  requested  the  Abyei  Joint  Oversight Commission  (AJOC)  to meet without  further delay,  to  address  the  issue of  security of  the oil infrastructure  in a way  that  respects  the provisions of  the Roadmap and  the Security Council resolution.  I also urged  the Parties  to  reach agreement on  the composition of  the Abyei Area Council and the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration as soon as possible, to facilitate the speedy resumption of normal life for all the affected communities of Abyei. 

14. The  AJOC met  in  Addis  Ababa  on  8  June  2012,  and  provisionally  agreed  to  the  draft Terms  of  Reference  (ToR)  for  the  Joint  Military  Observers  Committee  (JMOC),  which  is  a security mechanism  comprising  an  equal  number  of members  of  the  SAF  and  the  SPLA  and mandated  to  guarantee  peace  and  security  for  the  Abyei  residents.  It  also  took  decisions related  to  the  formation of  the Abyei Police Service  (APS), as well as decisions  relating  to  the provision of humanitarian assistance. The AJOC met again on 5 July, in Abyei, and finalized the ToR for the JMOC.

 

15. Following the redeployment of the armed forces of both Governments, the only security force active  in the areas of civilian habitation throughout Abyei  is UNISFA, the United Nations Interim  Security  Force  for Abyei, which  is doing  an outstanding work  in ensuring  security  for residents and pastoralists. Conditions are now propitious for the return of displaced people to their homes and the normalization of life in Abyei. At the time of finalization of this report, over 1,500 displaced persons had already returned to Abyei Town. 

16. During  the  last  round of negotiations, which  took place  in Addis Ababa  from 21  to 28 June  2012  under  the  facilitation  of  the  AUHIP,  the  Parties  exchanged  the  names  of  their monitors  to  the  JBVMM and agreed  to  send  them  to  the  JBVMM  temporary Headquarters at Assosa, in Ethiopia. They also agreed to the ToR for the ad hoc Committee, and exchanged the names of their representatives on this body. The ad hoc Committee has yet to convene its first meeting.

 

17. The  Roadmap  committed  the  Parties  to  implement  the  SDBZ,  in  accordance with  the administrative  and  security map  that was  produced  by  the  AUHIP  in November  2011  at  the Parties  own  request.  However,  at  the  time  of  finalization  of  this  report,  there  was  still disagreement  about  certain  areas  of  this  map.  On  27  June  2012,  the  Government  of  the Republic  of  South  Sudan  wrote  to  the  AUHIP,  stating  its  unconditional  acceptance  of  the November 2011 map. The Government of Sudan objected  to one  section of  the map, on  the grounds that it does not conform to its interpretation of the administrative boundary between the northern  and  southern provinces of  Sudan  as  they  stood  at  independence, on  1  January 1956. The AUHIP has clarified that the SDBZ and  its centre  line are established as a temporary security measure, without prejudice  to  the ongoing negotiations on  the  final demarcation of the  border  or  the  resolution  of  the  disputed  areas.  In  June  2012,  the Government  of  Sudan wrote  to  the President of  the UN Security Council,  raising  the objection  that  the map did not conform  to  the maps  produced  by  the  United  Nations.  The  United  Nations  Secretariat  has clarified  that  that  the UN maps were  produced  for  operational  purposes  and  should  not  be taken as indicating the recognition of any border. 

 

18. Given  the  looming deadline  for  the  completion of negotiations on outstanding  issues, the  Parties  have  been  trying  to  reach  a  compromise  on  the  SDBZ  that would  allow  them  to activate  the  JBVMM,  improve  security along  the border, and make  it possible  fully  to  resume the  negotiations  on  all  outstanding matters  in  a more  conducive  environment.  On  24  June 2012,  at  the  request  of  the  AUHIP,  the  leaders  of  the  Parties’  delegations  initiated  bilateral talks.  After  three  days  of  discussion,  the  delegations  informed  the  Panel  that  they  were developing a comprehensive framework for resolving all outstanding  issues, and requested an adjournment to enable them to consult with their Principals. They agreed to attempt a return to the “new approach” envisaged  in March 2012. This approach would allow them to conduct their negotiations as partners, not as adversaries, and facilitate decision-making on the basis of strategic  considerations.  The  two  sides  committed  to  resume  negotiations  in  early  July,  and continue throughout the period up till 2 August 2012, with the view to reaching an agreement on the outstanding issues, under the facilitation of the AUHIP.

 

IV. PROGRESS  IN  ADDRESSING  THE  OUTSTANDING  ISSUES  IN  THE  POST-SECESSION RELATIONS BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

 

19. As  also  indicated  above,  in  its  Roadmap,  Council  urged  the  Parties  unconditionally  to resume negotiations, under the auspices of the AUHIP and with the support of the Chairman of IGAD, to reach agreement on the  following critical  issues:  (i) arrangements concerning oil and associated  payments;  (ii)  the  status  of  nationals  of  one  country  resident  in  the  other,  in accordance with the Framework Agreement initialed in March 2012; (iii) resolution of the status of disputed and claimed areas and  the demarcation of  the border; and  (iv)  the  final  status of Abyei. 

Oil and related financial arrangements

 

20. Following the failure of the two Parties to reach an agreement on a package that would include  tariffs  and  a  Transitional  Financial  Arrangement  (TFA),  the  Government  of  Sudan,  in December 2011, decided to seize South Sudan’s oil in lieu of payment to arrears owed to it. In January 2012, the Panel convened a series of negotiations  in an attempt to prevent reciprocal unilateral  actions  by  the  Government  of  South  Sudan.  The  AUHIP  put  forward  a  “Cover Agreement”  on  oil  and  transitional  financial  arrangements  that  included  the  following  key elements: (i) tariffs; (ii) TFA; (iii) guaranteed provision of petroleum to refineries in Sudan; and (iv) settlement of arrears and claims. 

21. Unfortunately,  the  AUHIP’s  efforts  to  halt  the  threat  of  an  oil  shutdown  by  the Government  of  South  Sudan  failed.  Since  February,  no  new  discussions  on  oil  and  related payments have been held. The Parties have now agreed to resume negotiations on this issue.

Nationality issues

 

22. The  Parties  initialed  a  Framework  Agreement  on  the  Treatment  of  Nationals  of  the Other  State  in Addis Ababa,  on  13 March  2012.  The Agreement  proposed  a  Joint High-Level Committee, which would oversee the adoption and  implementation of  joint measures relating to nationals of  the other State. The Agreement also accorded  the nationals of  the other state the “four freedoms”, namely freedom of residence, movement, economic activity and the right to acquire and dispose of property. Both Parties have expressed  their continued commitment to  the  Agreement.  However,  conditions  for  its  full  implementation,  including  especially  the “four freedoms,” have not been conducive for progress. The next necessary step is for the two relevant Ministers to meet and agree implementation modalities and schedules.

 

Borders 

 

23. While both Parties accept, consistent with  the relevant provisions of  the CPA,  that the boundary between Sudan and South Sudan shall be that which existed on 1 January 1956, the day  of  Sudanese  independence,  they  do  not  agree  on  where  that  line  lies.  During  the  CPA Interim Period, the Ad Hoc Technical Border Committee identified four agreed disputed areas in which  the  location  of  the  1/1/56  line  was  not  agreed.  The  Joint  Political  Committee subsequently  added  a  fifth  agreed  disputed  area.  However,  when  South  Sudan  achieved independence,  its  Government maintained  that  there were  additional  areas  to which  it  had claims  that  had  not  been  accepted  as  disputed  areas  by  the  Ad  Hoc  Technical  Border Committee. 

 

24. The Parties have  resumed negotiations on borders,  in particular  the  resolution of  the disputed  areas.  In  March  2012,  they  initialed  an  agreement  defining  a  process  for  the demarcation of  the agreed areas of  the border. At  the  time of  finalization of  this  report,  they were  discussing  the  process  for  the  resolution  of  disputed  areas,  the  manner  in  which  to address  additional  claimed  areas,  and  ways  in  which  to  activate  the  third  party  binding resolution in the event that negotiated settlement is not reached. 

Final status of Abyei

 

25. The Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have agreed  that  the  resolution of  the  final status of Abyei shall be addressed at the presidential level. The Panel has followed the principle that  the 20  June 2011 Agreement should be  implemented, and  life  for  the  residents of Abyei and for pastoral populations that migrate seasonally to Abyei should return to normal as far as possible, before the Panel puts forward any proposals for the final resolution of the issue. In the meantime,  the commitment of  the Parties,  the Panel and  the  international community  to  the Abyei Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains intact. 

26. In pursuit of the implementation of the 20 June 2011 Agreement and the normalization of life in Abyei, the Panel has supported the efforts of the AJOC to enact all necessary measures to  establish  the  administration,  bring  displaced  persons  back  to  their  homes,  facilitate humanitarian  assistance,  and  promote  dialogue  and  cooperation  between  residents  and pastoralists. It is critical that the Parties diligently form the Abyei Police Service, as well as take the necessary  steps  towards  the establishment of  the Abyei Executive Council  and  the Abyei Area Administration, for these bodies are indispensable in creating a conducive atmosphere for peace and security in the area. 

V. CONFLICT IN SOUTHERN KORDOFAN AND BLUE NILE

 

27. In  the  Roadmap,  Council  reiterated  the AU’s  conviction  that  there  can  be  no military solution  to  the conflict  in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and stressed  therefore  the urgent  need  for  a  political  and  negotiated  solution,  based  on  respect  for  diversity  in  unity. Council requested the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North to extend full cooperation to the  AUHIP  and  the  Chair  of  IGAD,  to  reach  a  negotiated  settlement  on  the  basis  of  the Framework Agreement on Political Partnership between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the SPLM-N and Political and Security Arrangements in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states of  28  June  2011.  Pending  the  convening  of  talks  by  the  AUHIP,  Council  called  on  the Government to accept the joint proposal submitted, on 7 February 2012, by the AU, the United Nations  and  the  League  of  Arab  States,  to  permit  humanitarian  access  to  the  affected populations in the two states.

 

28. In  follow  up,  the  AUHIP  is  coordinating  with  the  Chairman  of  IGAD,  Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, on re-opening political dialogue on a resolution of the conflict in the Two Areas. The SPLM-N has accepted to restart the dialogue that had begun in June 2011. The Government of Sudan has indicated an in-principle acceptance of dialogue. The Panel is taking the necessary steps in this regard.

29. As Council would recall, the SPLM-N has expressed its willingness to implement without delay the  joint proposal for humanitarian access  in the Blue Nil and Southern Kordofan states. On 28 June 2012, the Government of Sudan expressed its acceptance of the joint proposal. In a communiqué  issued on 29  June 2012,  I welcomed  this acceptance, underscoring  the need  to ensure that the affected populations in the two states have access to humanitarian assistance, while a lasting political solution is being sought. I urged all those responsible to ensure that the roposal is effectively and fully implemented, without further delay. I underlined the readiness of  the  AU  to  contribute  personnel  to  the  joint  teams  that  would  undertake  humanitarian assessment in all the affected areas, as well as to deploy monitors to the two states, who would work  closely with  the  Sudanese  Parties  to  ensure  neutrality,  impartiality,  accountability  and transparency in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

VI. OBSERVATIONS

 

30. Sudan  and  South  Sudan  have  resolved  to  pursue  their  respective  futures  as  two separate sovereign nations.  In this context, the agreed overriding principle of establishing and sustaining a constructive and peaceful relationship between Sudan and South Sudan, which will promote  the  viability  of  both  countries,  is  essential  for  each  one.  Equally  important  is  the recognition by all that Sudan and South Sudan are both African nations, faced with challenges of governance and development common to countries across our continent. Each must govern a  diverse  nation  that  has  experienced  recurrent  conflict  over more  than  half  a  century,  and each must undertake its own national process of democratization accordingly, while addressing at  the same  time  the daunting  task of socio-economic development. These  issues would pose serious  challenges  to  the  two  Governments  even  in  the  context  of  peace,  stability  and cooperation.  In  a  state  of  conflict,  either  internally  or  between  themselves,  they  would  be insoluble.  

31. In their engagement with Sudan and South Sudan since the security  incidents  in Heglig in  April  2012,  Council  and  the  Commission  have  been motivated  by  the  conviction  that  the conflict  damages  both  Sudan  and  South  Sudan,  threatens  the  lives  and  livelihoods  of  the citizens of both countries, including especially nationals of one state resident in the other, puts in jeopardy the essential economic activities needed to sustain both states, and poses a threat to the stability of the entire region. The AU Roadmap, as endorsed by the UN Security Council, provided the way forward for defusing the tension, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on  the  outstanding  post-secession  issues  and  the  normalization  of  relations.  I  urge  the  two countries  fully  to  implement  their  commitments  under  the  Roadmap  and  to  uphold  the overriding principle of “two viable states” as the basis for their relations, which they adopted by the Parties in the November 2010 “Framework for Resolving Outstanding Issues Relating to the Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Future Relations of North and South Sudan”.

 

32. While  the  implementation  of  the  Roadmap  has  been  rather  slow  and  uneven,  I  am encouraged  by  the  renewed  commitment  of  the  Parties  to  successfully  conclude  their negotiations and  lay the foundation  for  lasting peace and good neighborliness between them. On 7  July 2012,  the Parties,  in a press  conference,  confirmed  their agreement  to  return  to  a “new spirit” of strategic partnership. They elaborated a number of principles that underpin this strategic approach, including an unequivocal agreement never to resort to force to resolve their differences; mutual respect for sovereignty; and promotion of partnership and mutual benefit. They also informed the AUHIP that this new strategic approach had been fully endorsed by the entire  leadership  of  both  countries,  and  that  they  would  return  to  negotiations  on  all outstanding issues, with a view to reaching a comprehensive agreement by 2 August 2012.  

33. Efforts should also continue to address the issue of the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.  The  fundamental  political  challenges  in  these  two  states  are  organically  linked  to  the issues  of  the  governance  of  diversity  and  democratization.  The  Panel  will  continue  to  work towards a lasting political solution with the support of the Chair of IGAD. Although the conflict in  the  two  states  is  an  internal  matter  to  the  Republic  of  Sudan,  it  inevitably  has  major repercussions  on  the  relations  between  Sudan  and  South  Sudan.  In  the  meantime,  the Commission will take the necessary steps towards the implementation of the joint proposal for humanitarian access to the affected populations in the two states.  

34. I  reiterate  the Commission’s deep appreciation  for  the outstanding work of  the AUHIP and  its  support  team.  The  Panel  has  taken  the  approach of  seeking  agreement  between  the Parties  rather  than  trying  to  impose  the details of a settlement. This approach  is  informed by the  following elements:  (i)  the  role of  the Panel  is,  at  the  insistence of  the Parties,  that of  a facilitator  rather  than  a  mediator;  (ii)  the  Parties  are  much  more  likely  to  implement  an agreement willingly entered  into,  than an  imposed  formula; and  (iii)  the Roadmap  is  first and foremost  a  guide  to  reaching  a  destination,  namely  peace  and  security  between  the  two countries, and  that details of  the exact  route  to  that destination may be adjusted by mutual agreement. To this end, the Panel has encouraged the Parties to talk directly to one another as far as possible, rather than negotiating with the facilitator.  I have no doubt that the Panel will continue to discharge its mandate with utmost commitment, aware as it is of Africa’s duty and responsibility  to  do whatever  it  can  to  help  Sudan  and  South  Sudan  overcome  their  current challenges, in the interest of their people, the region and Africa as a whole. I recognize the full support  extended  to  the  AU  and  the  Panel  by  our  international  partners,  in  particular  theSecurity Council. Continued unity of purpose and action within the  international community  is critical to the achievement of lasting peace between Sudan and South Sudan.   

 

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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