While yesterday’s order by the Government of South Sudan to restart oil production is exciting progress, reports of domestic opposition to the nine agreements reached between Sudan and South Sudan at the end of last month are also emerging from both countries. This week in Juba, police fired on demonstrators, and rumors of a coup attempt forced South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir to return from a visit to Uganda to speak to the troops. Khartoum has also admitted there is domestic opposition to the deal.
Perhaps the most contentious issue is border demarcation and control of five contested regions, including Abyei in South Kordofan and Mile 14. Mile 14, located between Western Bahr El-Ghazal and East Darfur states, was one of the main obstacles that delayed agreement on a demilitarized zone along the North-South border. Already both governments have come under intense domestic pressure from opponents who worry that their government is ceding Mile 14 to the other—even though the agreement explicitly does not define the border.
While the intensity of the domestic response illustrates the internal tensions faced by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, the issues left unresolved by the agreements remain a serious threat to peace between the two countries. With the African Union’s chief mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, due to give his report to the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on October 21, it is a good opportunity to look more closely at the progress and problems of those agreements.
United to End Genocide’s new report: The Sudan-South Sudan Oil Deal: A Long Way To Go details the successes of the agreements, as well as the serious unresolved issues that Sudan and South Sudan will have to address in the next round of negotiations.
In fact, even as the agreements were being signed in Addis Ababa, Sudan was bombing South Kordofan state. The failure of previous agreements between the parties, usually due to Sudan’s refusal to abide by them, is also cause for concern and scrutiny. Pressure from international actors will remain critical in continuing to work towards a final resolution on the contested regions, border demarcation and the other remaining issues between the two countries.
That is why this report highlights a set of recommendations to the United States and the United Nations in this report. Among these recommendations, United to End Genocide calls on the U.S. to lead the UN Security Council in demanding full and unimpeded access for international humanitarian organizations to South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.
Read the full report: The Sudan-South Sudan Oil Deal: A Long Way To Go