Good Day :Dears AU Mediators, Security is Priority!
Do you remember the situation before “Heglig War I”? The mediation set a date for the proposed summit (Al Bashir-Salva). Mr. Thabo Mbeki the Chair of the AU High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) moved between Khartoum and Juba in his usual dynamic diplomacy. He convinced Al Bashir to share in the summit and he said that Al-Bashir accepted in principle holding the proposed summit provided that all the arrangements to make it a success are complete. Al Bashir said literally: we will go ahead after “the necessary preparations”. As I remember, Juba said the process of preparations started already. After two days Juba started the first war, after weeks Juba started “Heglig War II”. It seems that the preparations were for the war, not the summit. It was a very good lesson for Khartoum, the mediation and the international community.
The situation now is typical to March days before Heglig wars I & II. Thabo Mbeki has conducted this week consultations in Khartoum with the Sudanese Government. The plan is to go to Juba for similar consultations with South Sudanese Government to determine a definite date to resume negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. Juba will say the same things and will show that it accepted the negotiation but no one knows what Juba prepares for!
The logical way is to start the process of DDR for SPLMN troops and Darfuri Movements resides in South Sudan, launching their campaigns from South Sudanese lands against Sudanese cities and villages. The claims against Sudan of supporting South Sudanese rebels are not far from the security issue and the process of DDR.
The importance of addressing security issues between Khartoum and Juba must be given a prior position before discussing all other issues. The AU roadmap and the UNSC resolution have listed all issues but they did not put the security issues on the top of all priorities. The humanitarian situation in South Sudan is getting worse. The United Nations has voiced concerns about South Sudan’s sick economy and says its people could suffer from spiraling inflation in the coming months, while approximately 50% the population are facing food crisis. South Sudan has taken in little revenue since January, when the government shut down oil production amid a dispute with Sudan over transit fees. South Sudan’s U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, said last week that the organization fears the economic downturn that followed the shutdown could have a huge impact on the population in the coming months. According to these facts and figures, the negotiations must concentrate on security issues to avoid the worst humanitarian crisis.
By Mekki Elmograbi, 19/05/2012