S. Sudan is Trying to Prolong the Negotiations to Allow UN Intervention, Interview (2-2)
Dr. Albukhari Alja'ali is one of the most remarkable leaders of the Unionist Democratic Party; he's a political analyst and a legal expert. He was a member of the borders demarcation committee formed according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
(Sudan Vision) is always interested in people with valuable input regarding the issues of the hour; so we sat to talk to him and he gave us the following interesting, insightful, and perceptive answers.
Q: Some economic experts think the solution of the economic crisis lies in allowing South Sudan to export its oil through Port Sudan harbor; but some NCP affiliates deem that to be an act of the impossible?
A: There is no doubt that oil represented a sizable portion of the country's revenues; the absence of that revenue now with no discernible alternative led the drove the country into the clutches of crisis; a crisis the latest economic measures were meant to alleviate pressure but they only added new burdens on the shoulders of the citizens; and I disagree with the ones who say there is no need to export South Sudanese oil through Sudan since that is a clear contradiction that does not even need to be proven. It is also true that South Sudan suffers a lot from stopping the oil exportation; even more so than Sudan; but this does not negate the fact that the two countries need to work on their issues.
Q: In your estimation; what could the way out be from the problematic situations represented in the current economic condition, increase of the Pound-Dollar exchange rate, increase of commodity prices, and the increase in inflation?
A: I am not an economic expert, but what I know is that a currency's value is determined in proportion to another currency; in the case of the Sudanese Pound its value has been determined by the American Dollar for decades; a year ago CBS turned to fixing the value of the Sudanese Pound in proportion to the Euro; another tough currency to gauge the Pound in proportion to. As long as what we export is less than what we import there will always be a deficiency in our economic balance and the Pound's value will remain miniscule in proportion to the Dollar which is a natural outcome. The only solution lies in increasing production. Now we are in need for foreign currency to import basic life necessities such as wheat and medications.
Q: The partnership between the mainstream Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and National Congress Party (NCP); is it a tactical or real partnership? Has it been delegated to the level of bases of the two parties?
A: It's neither tactical nor real; in my personal estimation it's a complimentary partnership knotted for reasons beyond my knowledge. It’s not real for there are -to begin with- vast numbers of DUP's bases who are unhappy with it on principle; but the majority of these bases have however approved the partnership because they think the country is suffering from political, security, economic, and social crises after the secession. Sudan's unity is in jeopardy no matter how much some try to conceal the facts: Darfur for instance has become an independent entity and this a fact that no two people can argue about; eastern Sudan has snowballed into an issue after what happened in Darfur and sooner or later it's going to develop into a separate issue; so Sudan suffers in its essence, existence, and entity and that is why DUP thought it won't just watch from the curb, instead it would take part in salvaging what can be salvaged; but for history's sake; DUP did not seek to take part in the government, it's the NCP that sought the participation of DUP with it and it became clear in the eyes of UDP (the party of the national movement and independence and the party of Almerghani Garang agreement) that it could not sit uselessly in the curb watching this defragmentation and scattering of the country and this is the logical reason that convinced the majority of the party's affiliates to approve the participation. The majority of these affiliates though said that the party's participation must neither be decorative nor ornamental to the structure of the broad government; the party's participation must be in taking the decisions that concerns the interests of the country economically, politically and in terms of security and this cannot be achieved without taking part in all the levels of the government from the federal to the state levels; and this is the basis upon which DUP negotiated the terms of its participation in the government upon which the majority of the party's affiliates accepted the participation principle. When it turned out that NCP wants a decorative participation only many of the majority of DUP's affiliates backed off the participation idea and the midway solution then was only to broker a complimentary participation, neither a tactical nor a real one. We have before demanded NCP to share a third of the executive authority and to have a sovereign, economic, and service ministry respective be assigned to DUP. We wanted to have the Justice or the Foreign Affairs ministry in the sovereign ministries sector, Industry or Agriculture ministry in the economic ministries sector, and Religious Affairs and Endowments or Social Affairs ministry in the service ministries sector and any other ministries after that. Instead NCP offered to assign to DUP the Ministry of Youth and Sports and in Sudan there neither youth nor sports in the sense the ministry is intended for, and NCP offered to assign to DUP the ministry of the Cabinet (on honorary basis) and we know who exactly runs the presidency of the cabinet. We were offered the ministry of Foreign Trade –one that has no jurisdiction- and that is why our participation is complimentary.
Q: DUP has called for neighborly relations between Sudan and South Sudan; has its call reaped any responsive attitudes from either or both of the parties?
A: The relations between DUP and SPLM are old and date back to the era of the third democracy; at that time when relations with the south deteriorated, DUP has stood up to resolving the situation under the leadership of Mohammed Osman Almerghani to find solutions for the strained security, military, and political situations in south Sudan. The extensive efforts of DUP resulted in what is known as November 16th Almerghani Garang agreement; an agreement deemed as a huge diplomatic success for one of the national movement parties, but the other parties did not rest well with that success because they have agreed the principle of Sudan's unity along with holding a constitutional conference. John Garang in his own handwriting has signed on the unity of Sudan and conceded the secession idea; and that was where the importance of Almerghani Garang agreement laid but it was killed due to political jealousy. So DUP and SPLM have strong ties that have been further deepened in the National Assembly of opposition forces -which was chaired by Mohammed Osman Almerghani- after the coup of the Salvation Revolution; so DUP is the only party qualified to speak and hold dialogue with our brothers in the south since it has strong ties with SPLM that date back thirty years. This why DUP refuses to give up on the issue of Sudan (from Halfa to Nimule) and will not forfeit the emblem of the unified Sudan despite of where things are at now. The situation now was dictated by certain circumstances; other circumstances can come up and change this situation. DUP can play a big role in pacifying tensions between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan and what must happen now is to seek the creation of neighborly relations between the two countries not the unification of Sudan; a statement that I say with a full measure of sadness. What is important now is to enhance relations between Sudan and South Sudan and our brothers in the south are prepared to listen to view of DUP; but it is sad that we now talk about the repercussions of secession rather than unity.
Q: It was said a while back that there were meetings a joint committee between your party and the National Congress Party; what has come out of these meetings?
A: Frankly; I personally did not have knowledge of these meetings, their reference, and what basis they were built on; but after scrutiny we knew they were held in response to an invitation by NCP to hold communication meetings with DUP, but that is all that they are; communication meetings. I must say here that on the outside it seems to our brothers in NCP that these meetings reflect the presence of a continuous relation with DUP in an attempt on NCP's part to show that DUP is participating in the government in several ways, but this is also a contradiction that NCP has fallen into, and I am certain that the leaders of NCP know that the bases of DUP are not in favor of participation, and I know that because I am no stranger to the leaders of NCP since most of them are friends and colleagues of mine who –in order to mask the vision of many- sought to hold meetings with DUP dubbed as "communication meetings"; but what lies underneath that is a matter known to leaders of both parties.
Q: Will the negotiations that are currently being held between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan lead to decisive resolution of the outstanding issues between the two parties?
A: Absolutely no; and in case anything contrary to this opinion takes place, it would be a true miracle; because the solutions must have been reached within three months, now half that time has passed without leaving the first square. We must take into consideration that there are many issues that are complicated, intricate, convoluted and until this moment they were not negotiated; and logic dictates that it is hard, if not impossible, to reach decisive solutions for all the agendas mentioned in UNSC Resolution 2046; in fact each one of these agendas is in need of a negotiation period of no less than three months. If 7 agendas are still remaining we cannot logically presume that in less than the remaining month find solutions for them; that would be an act of imagination; and I think the government of South Sudan is careful in every way possible not to allow an agreement to be reached during this period by UNSC Resolution 2046.
By Mohammed Babikir, 25/08/2012