November 2014 - Posts
November 30, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Sudanese government chief negotiator, Ibrahim Ghandour, has accused the head of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) negotiating team, Yasir Arman, of being misled by military alliances and political agenda not related to the Two Areas.
The eighths round of talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N on South Kordofan and Blue Nile resumed on Wednesday 26 Nov, but the divergent positions of the two negotiating parties prevented any breakthrough.
Earlier this month when the chief mediator adjourned the discussions on the framework agreement, he said he gave the parties some additional “home work” documents asking them to explain their position on it.
Arman told that the texts are related to the comprehensive cessation of hostilities in the Two areas and Darfur, issues related to the conflict areas, and the national dialogue preparatory conference which is supposed to held at the African Union headquarters with participation of all the Sudanese parties.
He further said all these matters are based on the decision 456 of the AU Peace and Security Council establishing one peace process with two tracks for Darfur and the Two Areas. Both should converge at the preparatory meeting which will lead to the national dialogue conference inside the Sudan on constitutional reforms.
In remarks to the media on Saturday following a meeting with a rebel delegation, Ghandour said that the latter repeated the “same previous stories to waste time”, adding we heard these stories “dozens of times” and they would not help advance the talks.
He pointed the government delegation underscored that it came to this round of talks to complete the framework agreement on the Two Areas according to the invitation extended by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP).
“We requested a meeting with the [African] mediation and we handed them over a written position while the other side brought a paper including answers to questions they claim received from the mediation,” he added.
The Sudanese chief negotiator said these questions appear in the heart of the framework agreement and must be answered by both parties.
He pointed these questions include how to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire and security arrangements and how to agree on the three committees besides how to participate in the national dialogue.
Ghandour added they requested these issues be discussed within the framework agreement and according to arrangements it suggested but the other side refused and demanded offering answers to these questions apart from the framework agreement.
He pointed the mediation team saw it is better to discuss the contentious issues in the framework agreement “point by point” until agreeing on them all, saying the SPLM-N delegation asked for further time to answer these questions.
He further renewed the government rejection for the SPLM-N demand to discuss the cessation of hostilities in Darfur, pointing that Darfur issues are being discussed in a separate track and cannot be inserted in another forum dedicated to South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Ghandour accused Arman of being “held hostage to military alliances and political agenda that has nothing to do with Sudan”.
NCP ESCAPING COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION
From his side, the SPLM-N top negotiator, Arman, told reporters that the government delegation didn’t not bring its responses to the questions related to the three matters that the mediation raised.
Arman further accused the government delegation came empty-handed and did provide expected answers adding, "They are buying time .. So we met Mbeki (today) and we agreed to raise these issues through the framework document."
The chief mediator is expected to hold a meeting with the two delegation on Sunday before to travel to Germany to discuss the draft framework agreement.
The rebel leader further said they want clear question on how to reach the national constitutional conference, adding that Sudan’s ruling party wants to control this process as it had did when they held Kenana conference for Darfur issue.
We are looking for a cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas and Darfur and we want a preparatory conference at the African Union headquarters. These are the tasks that should be done, but it seems that the government delegation came with no answers," he said .
The Blue Nile and South Kordofan’s conflict erupted months apart from each other in 2011 when Sudan attempted to forcibly disarm SPLM-N fighters it accuses of being backed by their brother-in-arms in the South Sudanese army.
November 29, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - The leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi arrived in Addis Ababa Saturday to participate in meeting between the opposition and rebel groups in Addis Ababa as the government renews calls for his return to Sudan.
Al-Mahdi and the NUP secretary general, Sara Nugdallah, were received this morning by a delegation representing the Sudanese Revolutionary Front including, Minni Minnawi. the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) deputy chairman, Tom Hajo.
NUP vice-president Merriam al-Mahdi told that al-Mahdi who is based in Cairo since last August after the signing of the Paris Declaration would hold meetings with the opposition and rebel groups on the sidelines of the African Union brokered talks.
Merriam al-Mahdi disclosed that “there is a significant progress in the ongoing dialogue between the national forces” present in the Ethiopian capital.
All the opposition forces are unanimous that Sudan’s problem lies in the “continuation of sterile policies” of NCP regime, she further said.
Meriam al-Mahdi who has been in Addis Ababa for since last week said that the signing of a political deal between the NCF, NUP and the SRF is imminent, as the parties are expected to engage in discussions after the arrival of Sadiq al-Mahdi.
Many Sudanese political leading figures, including Farouk Abu Issa, leader of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) are present these days in the Ethiopian capital where the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) organises talks between the government and rebel groups to end the armed conflicts in South Kordofan, Blue Nile states and Darfur region.
The NUP, SRF and the NCF are engaged since several months in a series of consultations aiming to develop Paris Declaration and to gather all the opposition groups on one political platform for peace and democracy in Sudan.
Last October, NUP president Sadiq al-Mahdi and NCF leader Farouk Abu Issa issued a statement from Cairo saying they agreed to speed up efforts to unify the opposition forces in order to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and democratic transformation in Sudan.
Last May, al-Mahdi was arrested after accusing the government militiamen of committing war crimes in Darfur. Following his release in June, he approved the party’s decisions to suspend its participation in the national dialogue and demanded involvement of rebels.
In August 2014, he signed the Paris Declaration with the rebel groups. Accordingly, the SRF factions accepted to participate in the national dialogue, and demanded a comprehensive humanitarian cessation of hostilities, implementation of confidence building measures and postponement of elections.
The Sudanese president, last October, said the deal between al-Mahdi and the SRF was “brokered by a Zionist mediator”.
Previously Bashir warned that the NUP would face justice if he returned to Sudan.
However on Thursday, the political secretary of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Mustafa Osman Ismail called on al-Mahdi to return to Sudan saying the government is ready to admit any wrongdoing against him if investigations prove he “wasn’t involved in conspiracy against Sudan”
Ismail further said that the government is ready to recognise the Paris Declaration if it is reviewed, pointing that some of its “unjust” dispositions blame the government for the political violence in the country and ignore the actions of the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) particularly its attack on South Kordofan’s Abu Karshola in April 2013.
The NCP political secretary, who is also tasked with the dialogue with NUP, further announced the readiness of the ruling party to postpone the elections, and the formation of a national unity government followed by the constitutional conference if al-Mahdi return to Sudan and participates in the national dialogue.
Commenting on the NCP call for al-Mahdi to return to Sudan, Merriam al-Mahdi said that the political secretary of the ruling party had welcomed the Paris Declaration but she was personally jailed for four weeks without charges for participating in the meeting with the rebels in Paris.
She further underlined the accusations that al-Bashir addressed against the leader of the party adding that the NCP leaders now realise the futility of their previous statements now they speak about his return and pledge to reconsider their claims and accusations.
“What NCP political secretary is saying “is actually dangerous as far as amazing. Is this a deal (they propose) after they told him that he could not return to Sudan before to denounce Paris Declaration?” she said.
The NUP deputy chairman deplored the “serious deterioration” in the behaviour of the NCP leadership, stressing that it reflects the disarray the ruling party is experiencing.
November 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government said that it has documented cases of sexual abuse of Darfuri women committed by members of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) that the latter has not taken any action to stop.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Abdullah al-Azrag said today that Khartoum’s decision to have the UNAMID depart was subject of careful review and was discussed with the United Nations previously stressing that it was not in retaliation to rape allegations in the village of Tabit.
On November 22nd, the hybrid mission said it received a verbal request from the Sudanese government to put in place a gradual exit strategy from Darfur.
Social media has extensively circulated testimonies of victims from Tabit, a village 45km south-west of North Darfur capital El-Fasher, claiming that 200 women, including minors, were raped by soldiers from the Sudanese army (SAF).
On November 9th, a UNAMID verification team investigated the rape allegations in Tabit and said it found no evidence proving the rape claims.
Sudan has refused to allow the mission access to Tabit to conduct another investigation despite repeated calls from the UN chief and the UNSC.
Al-Azrag said in a roundtable with newspaper editors on Tuesday that foreign minister Ali Karti discussed a UNAMID exit strategy with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon three years ago and in several occasions most recently in the UN General Assembly meetings.
The UN Security Council adopted resolution 2173 on August 27 which extended the UNAMID mandate for ten months and called on the mission to draft recommendations for the future mandate, composition, configuration and exit strategy of UNAMID by 28 February 2015, at which time the Council would make the necessary mandate changes “fully and promptly”.
Al-Azrag recalled a memorandum by the ministry demanding UNAMID develop an exit strategy and speeches by Sudan’s UN ambassador when discussing the renewal of the UNAMID mandate all of which occurred before rape allegations in the village of Tabit surfaced.
He said that UNAMID departure is enshrined in the in the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) and that demanding its departure is a result of significant improvement in security situation particularly over the last year which necessitated emphasizing the development of an exit strategy in light of the reluctance and lack of enthusiasm on the part of UNAMID, which raised suspicions and stirred tensions.
In response to criticisms by the UNAMD investigation team that Sudanese soldiers were present during their Tabit probe, al-Azrag said they have a document where the mission requests that the armed forces protect their camp.
He said that the Darfur special prosecutor found no evidence of the rape claims adding that they are aware of attempts by certain organizations to recruit women to make false testimonies and a video conference call arranged by a neighboring state with women from Tabit.
The Sudanese official added that they spotted sexual violations committed by UNAMID soldiers against Darfuri girls and women over the years in which the mission camps have become a haven for the perpetrators of crimes but could not prosecuted by authorities due to diplomatic immunity enjoyed by them.
Al-Azrag said that UNAMID never held anyone accountable nor expelled those implicated in these acts noting that they raised that issue through diplomatic channels and not over the media.
He argued that UNAMID is keen to stay in the region and does not adhere to SOFA and its personnel are living a luxury life on a $1.3 billion budget much of it was not spent on infrastructure and development in Darfur.
“The improved security conditions and the talks in Addis Ababa with the [Darfur] rebel movements are worrying some circles that do not want stability to Darfur because their interest [lies] in the continuation of the current situation to settle scores with the government," al-Azrag said.
November 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The European Union delegation in Khartoum said EU diplomats didn’t discuss financial support to the upcoming elections scheduled for April 2015 with the Sudanese electoral body.
- European Union (EU) ambassadors
A member of the National Election Commission (NEC) criticised the EU for setting preconditions for financial contribution to the organisation of the elections.
The EU stipulated an agreement between the government and the opposition parties over the electoral process, said NEC commissioner Safwat Subhi Fanous in statement to the semi-official SMC.
However reached by (ST) to comment on these statements the EU delegation said they organised a meeting on 9 November for the NEC commissioners with the EU embassies resident in Khartoum to brief them on the ongoing preparations for the 2015 elections.
Following the briefing, the Europeans diplomats pointed to the importance of conducting an inclusive and transparent electoral process in a conducive environment that would bring all the Sudanese parties on board, the mission said.
“The European Union called on the National Elections Commission to take into consideration the recommendations provided by the 2010 EU Electoral Observation Mission. EU funding for the electoral process in Sudan was not discussed at the briefing," the delegation emphasised in a written email to (ST) on Monday.
Regarding the participation of European monitors on the next year elections, the EU countries said no decision had been made until now on whether the European Union would send an EU Electoral Observation Mission (EOM).
In 2010, the EU contributed to the funding of the general elections and sent a big monitoring mission composed of 130 observers to Sudan.
The EU says supportive for a comprehensive peace process and the national dialogue in Sudan.
November 21, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir is in the Egyptian capital, Cairo for bilateral talks with his counterpart, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi.
Kiir was accompanied by a high level government delegation, which included business community members and representative from the security sector institutions.
The visit, extended by the Egyptian leader, is president’s Kiir first ever since his country gained independence from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.
“This is a respond to invitation extended to the president by the president of Egypt and his government. It will be a three day visit during which the president and the accompanying delegation will have the opportunity to hold frank and open discussions on bilateral matters," said South Sudan’s foreign minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin.
"The discussions will focus mainly on trade and investment in agriculture, health, power and electricity and education”, he added.
A spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry, in a separate interview, described as "cordial" and "friendly" relations between South Sudan and Egypt.
“Ties between the countries are increasingly growing well at all levels and the president of the president with such a high government delegation confirms the kind of relations we have with Egypt”, Mawien Makol told on Thursday.
It however remains unclear whether the young nation would seek military assistance from the North African country, given that its defense minister recently struck a military cooperation agreement with Cairo. Egypt reportedly even promised to send its troops to war-torn South Sudan at the latter’s request.
NILE WATER ROW
Analysts say the military cooperation agreement between Egypt and South Sudan is a test of its seemingly dwindling relation with Ethiopia, especially at the time when Egypt threatened military action against Addis Ababa over its controversial Renaissance dam.
Egypt continues to develop relations with South Sudan in an effort to protect Egyptian water interests within its borders, through which the White Nile flows. This comes at a time when the dispute between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the Nile’s waters is escalating.
“If you have been following close, it seems that South Sudan is distancing itself from Ethiopia because any deal involving Egypt must have a relation to its confrontation with Ethiopia over Nile water. Such a deal is part of a political measure Egypt wants to apply on Ethiopia that ranges strengthening economic and military ties with all countries neigbouring Ethiopia”, an analyst told on Thursday
The analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, said South Sudan has constantly been under pressure from Ethiopia to sign for the Nile Basin Cooperation Framework Agreement (CFA), that seeks to strip off Egypt’s colonial right over the Nile River.
“South Sudan has no leverage upon Ethiopia to counter its systematic political and economic pressure. As it has been observed in recent times, Ethiopia, along with United States, have tried to frustrate the government in Juba through dragging the peace talks, demanding withdrawal of foreign troops and covertly provides support to the armed opposition with weapons through its peacekeeping mission in the country,” he observed.
November 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has reaffirmed its intention to conduct another investigation into recent claims of the mass rape of some 200 women by Sudanese military personnel in the village of Tabit in North Darfur state.
Social media has extensively circulated testimonies of victims from Tabit, a village 45km south-west of North Darfur capital El-Fasher, claiming that 200 women, including minors, were raped by soldiers from the Sudanese army (SAF).
Last week, a UNAMID verification team investigated these allegations and said it found no evidence proving the rape claims.
However, western media quoted UN officials as saying that the mission said in a secret report to the UN headquarters that witnesses were intimidated by the heavy presence of the Sudanese army during the investigation.
The Sudanese army vehemently denied these rape accusations, describing reports about the incident as “baseless and without justification”.
On Sunday, the Sudanese government denied UNAMID’s team access to Tabit, saying it is skeptical about the motives behind its insistence to visit the village for the second time.
The governor of South Darfur state, Adam Jar al-Nabi, on Tuesday discussed with the acting head of UNAMID, Abiodun Bashua, ways for strengthening joint cooperation between the two sides to achieve stability and return the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their original villages and provide services for them.
According to Ashorooq TV, Jar al-Nabi demanded Bashua to notify his government of movements of UNAMID convoys within the state in order to promote security coordination.
He also called for the formation of a joint mechanism between the government, the UNAMID and various UN agencies to follow up and coordinate support programs for voluntary return, saying that Bashua pledged to offer help after he became convinced that no security threats or tribal conflicts exist in the state.
Bashua, for his part, said that UNAMID will carry out considerable work in South Darfur in the coming period, adding the mission intends to conduct another investigation in Tabit to put an end to recent “rumours”.
He underscored that the investigation is in the interest of the government, UNAMID and the people of the village who were affected by these rumors.
Meanwhile, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement released on Monday that he is “deeply troubled” by the mass rape allegations, stressing that only a full investigation by the UNAMID will help shed light on the incident.
He urged the Sudanese government to grant the mission unfettered access without further delay to Tabit and its population.
The former spokesperson of UNAMID, Aicha Elbasri, in an interview with Agence de Presse Africaine, criticised the mission, saying its team should have protested against the presence of the government troops during their interaction with the villagers or stop the investigation altogether and inform the public about it.
“UNAMID accepted the military presence and intimidation and concluded that the allegations were baseless,” she said.
She pointed out that according to medical experts; it is now too late for the rape victims to provide the forensic evidence of such crimes (two weeks after the incident).
“UNAMID dragged its feet for ten days. The evidence has disappeared, the villagers were intimidated, and the government was in full control of the place,” she added.
Elbasri resigned from her job in April 2013 after claiming that she had been prevented from carrying out her responsibility of accurately informing the public about what was happening in Darfur.
November 16, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced the end of voter registration for the 2015 elections and rejected a request by the Council for the Parties of National Unity Government (CPNUG) to extend it for the second time.
The NEC was forced to extend the registration period for four days, which ended on 15 November due to limited turnout.
Sudan’s general elections are set to be held in April 2015, but opposition parties are refusing to participate saying the environment is not conducive for fair and free polls.
They have instead called for the formation of a transitional government and convening a national conference to be held with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution to the long-running conflicts in the Darfur region, as well as South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
In accordance with the opposition platform, the interim government would organize general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime.
On the other hand, the NEC and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) reject any postponement to the electoral process, saying it would create a constitutional vacuum and cause chaos in the country.
The NEC registration official, al-Hadi Mohamed Ahmed, said registration procedures went as planned and have not faced any obstacles, stressing the voter registration ended on Saturday.
He underscored that the states have seen high registration percentage, pointing that more than 1.2 million voter have registered in various states until 11 November.
Ahmed noted that the number of the newly registered voters included 55,000 voters in the White Nile state, 42,000 in West Kordofan state, 31,000 in the River Nile state, 32,000 in the Red Sea state, 100,000 in Kassala state, 43,000 in Gedaref state, 182,000 in Gezira state, 33,000 in Sennar state, 29,000 in Blue Nile state, 112,000 in North Kordofan state, 31,000 in West Darfur state, 120,000 in South Darfur state, 12,000 in the Northern state, 47,000 in North Darfur state, 50.000 in Central Darfur state, and 140,000 in South Kordofan state.
According to NEC official, more than 110,000 new voters have registered in Khartoum state while more than 54,000 others registered in East Darfur state.
He pointed that the NEC refused to extend the registration period for the second time although seven political parties requested extension for another week.
The NEC spokesperson, Safwat Fanus, said the commission extended the registration period for four days which ended on Saturday, stressing that no new decision was made to extend registration.
On Saturday, the CPNUG asked the NEC to make another extension for voter registration in order to allow their supporters to register.
The CPNUG secretary general, Aboud Jaber, said in a press statement that they handed the NEC chairman, Mukhtar al-Assam, over a request to extend the registration period, stressing importance of voter registration as a key stage of the electoral process.
He explained that large numbers of citizens who are above 18 years old were unable to register due to the harvest season which requires extending registration period.
Source recalls that around 10 million people voted in the 2010 election out of the 19.8 million who were eligible to vote. This number includes voters from South Sudan which became an independent state since 2011.
November 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Election Commission (NEC) has announced that 1.2 million new voters have been registered across the country.
The NEC was forced to extend the registration period for four days, which will now end on 15 November, due to limited registration. It directed all election committees to open registration centres close to student dorms.
Sudan’s general elections are set to be held in April 2015, but opposition parties are refusing to participate.
The have instead called for the formation of a transitional government and a national conference to be held with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution to the long-running conflicts in the Darfur region, as well as South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
In accordance with the opposition platform, the interim government would organise general elections once a political agreement on constitutional matters is reached, inaugurating a new democratic regime.
On the other hand, the NEC and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) reject any postponement to the electoral process, saying it would create a constitutional vacuum and cause chaos in the country.
The NEC registration official, al-Hadi Mohamed Ahmed, said the figures coming from high election committees in various states show that more than 1.2 million new voters have been registered, noting that names of 8,586 voters have been changed and 14,939 others were removed from the election registry in all states.
He told the pro-government Sudan Media Centre (SMC) website on Thursday that the registration centers in the capital Khartoum and the various states continue to receive people to check their names besides registering those who had not met registration requirements in 2009.
The NEC has extended the registration period for four days at the request of the People’s Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani to allow their members to register for election.
Meanwhile, the DUP spokesperson, Ibrahim al-Mirghani, said his party leader directed party members inside Sudan and abroad to register for election, denying that registration means participation in the upcoming elections.
He renewed his party’s declared position with regard to the election, saying their participation in the election is contingent upon achieving the national consensus according to the initiative launched by the party leader.
“The registration process is aimed at preserving and compounding the number of the DUP voters in any future election whether we decided to participate in it or boycott it,” he added.
Informed sources recalls that around 10 million people voted in the 2010 election out of the 19.8 million who were eligible to vote. This number includes voters from South Sudan which became an independent state since 2011.
Registration centers which amount to 7,133 centres in various states include election registry for about 11.6 million voters who were registered since 2010 election. The registry will be open for names change, removal or appeal until next Tuesday.
November 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM/NEW YORK) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Monday said no evidence was found proving claims of mass rape in North Darfur.
However, in New York, UN officials and many members of the Security Council casted doubts on the findings of the UNAMID investigations, insisting on the circumstances surrounding the visit and the one-week denial of access before the verification.
The UNAMID on Monday released a press statement and held a press conference in El-Fasher in presence of the state deputy governor to say that an investigation team was finally in Tabit village, to verify media claims of mass rape of some 200 women by Sudanese military personnel.
“The team spent several hours touring the village and interviewing a variety of Tabit’s residents; including community leaders, ordinary men and women, teachers and students to ascertain the veracity of the media reports,” the statement said.
The joint mission further underscored that none of those interviewed confirmed that any incident of rape took place in Tabit on the day of that media report, adding “the team neither found any evidence nor received any information regarding the media allegations during the period in question.”
UN OFFICIALS DOUBTFUL
The head of the verification team in El-Fasher told reporters they sent a report to the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva dismissing the incident, adding the UN Security Council will discuss the issue on Monday evening.
In a media briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, the Australian ambassador to the United Nations, Gary Quinlan, who chairs the Security Council for this month, confirmed that they were briefed by Edmond Mulet, assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations and Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence.
Mulet, advised that the UNAMID verification team had been denied access from four to nine November.
Bangura told the Council by VTC from Geneva that “there had been a heavy military presence during the team’s visit and she stressed that while the rape allegations remained unverified, in her view it was not possible to conclude that no sexual violence took place," said Quinlan.
He went further to say that the Sierra Leonean diplomat further stressed in her briefing to the Security Council that “it was critical for the UNAMID to have un restricted access to Tabit to complete the investigations and provide humanitarian and medical assistance”.
On 7 November, Bangura issued a strong statement, calling Khartoum to o allow “immediate and unhindered” access for an investigation team to Tabit.
Khartoum government did not permit her nor the predecessor to visit Sudan.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONCERNED
The one-week denial of access and the conditions of the probe by the fact-finding team did not seemingly clear up the allegation against the Sudanese army.
However, Council’s members stressed on the denial of access saying it is a breach to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the government of Sudan and UNAMID.
“Many Council members expressed concerns about the fact that, in particular, the access had been denied,” said Quinlan.
“Many Council members said it was imperative that UNAMID was able to investigate such allegations and those responsible be held to account,” he concluded.
The Sudanese army on Sunday said UNAMID investigation team had been denied because they did not seek the required permission.
The military spokesperson of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) al-Sawarmi Khaled stressed in a press conference on Sunday that “reports about the mass rape by SAF soldiers are baseless,” pointing out that the armed forces are affected by the loss of one of its military in the village.
He confirmed that a corporal is missing and that the search operation conducted in the village did not allow to find him.
The Sudanese military are accused of committing the rape during a night search operation in the village.
November 9, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur on Saturday denied reports about mass rape in North Darfur, adding that the minister of justice directed to investigate these allegations.
Reports from North Darfur state say that over 200 women and girls were raped by Sudanese military elements in Tabit, which located at 45 km south-west of the state capital El-Fasher, .
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on 5 November said the Sudanese authority prevented a patrol dispatched to investigate the veracity of these reports, pointing this denial of access breaches the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between the two parties.
In statements released on Saturday, the special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur, Yasir Ahmed Mohamed, dismissed these reports, adding the minister of justice, Mohamed Bushara Doussa ordered them to probe these allegations immediately after his return to the country.
In accordance with the ministerial order, the special prosecutor on Saturday inspected the situation on the ground where “they verified the inaccuracy of what has been circulating in social media, and some of the local radio stations,” reported the semi-official SMC.
The prosecutor further indicated he contacted the state officials, adding “all confirmed that the area is free of complaints in this regard”.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the British foreign minister, Philip Hammond said “deeply concerned by the emerging reports from Northern Darfur” and called on the Sudanese government to allow the UNAMID to investigate these allegations
“The Government of Sudan must grant the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) full and immediate access to the affected areas and reported victims,” said Hammond.
The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, on Friday called on the government of Sudan to allow UN investigators "immediate and unhindered" access to the area.
November 8, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - An attacker with a sharp object killed two soldiers guarding a gate at Sudan’s presidential palace before being shot dead by other troops on Saturday.
According to a statement issued by the presidential press secretary, Emad Sid Ahmed, the assailant who attempted to penetrate inside the Sudanese presidency, did not respond to calls to stop and crossed the security barrier before he was shot dead by guards.
The statement added that two guards were killed in the attack, pointing the assailant appeared to be “mentally unstable”.
It pointed that president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, was at his official residence in another part of Khartoum at the time of the attack, stressing that authorities continue their intensified investigations to uncover more information about the attacker.
The official spokesman of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said the man, identified as Mohamed Tiya Kafi, is a native of Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan state, describing him as “mentally unstable”.
He pointed that the attacker argued with the guards outside the palace because he wanted to pass into a secured area.
“When the guards prevented him from passing, he stabbed a guard with a sharp object, then seized a rifle and started firing. The shooting left two guards dead, and prompted others to return fire and shoot the man,” Khalid said.
He said that there were no repercussions to the attack and no subsequent gatherings outside the palace, noting that police were deployed to prevent any impact or disturbance.
The heavy shooting caused panic in the area, leading nearby shop owners to close their businesses.
November 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan defence minister Abdel Rahim Hussein provided more details about a military cooperation agreement signed with Qatar and disclosed that the Arab Gulf state will supply Sudan with the natural gas.
On 2 November Hussein signed a a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on military cooperation with his Qatari counterpart Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah. However, no details were available about this deal.
Following his return to Khartoum on Tuesday evening, the minister told reporters that the deal includes “training, formation, exchange of expertise, joint exercises, joint investments, exchange of visits , promotion of cooperation between the two armies and the exchange of military studies on the level of military academic institutions”.
Also, it comprises “the exchange of expertise in logistics and industrial fields including detached service of officers and experts along with the military medical cooperation”.
The two countries have strong relations. During the past recent years, Doha provided significant financial support to Khartoum which suffers from American economic sanctions and experiences severe economic difficulties since the loss of oil revenue after the independence of South Sudan.
Hussein told reporters that the visit was very successful, point that al-Attiyah will visit Khartoum soon.
QATAR TO SUPPLY GAS TO SUDAN
The Sudanese minister further said that he met with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and delivered him a message from Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.
“The visit was important. We found a warm welcome and willingness from the Qatari to cooperate with Sudan in all fields,” Hussein said.
He announced that the gas-rich Gulf state will supply Sudan with natural gas, starting from the next year 2015, adding that the gas will be used in generating power.
He pointed out that Al-Thani reiterated Qatar’s commitment to support Sudan economically.
Regarding the Qatari role in the resolution of Darfur conflict, Hussein said that “Doha will remain the venue of Darfur peace process and will not be transferred to any other country”.
Qatar sponsored two-year peace talks between the Sudanese government and and rebel groups in Darfur region. Doha also funds a number of recover and rehabilitation projects in the western Sudan region.
November 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) — South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, fell as he was boarding his airplane, following the end of official talks with his Sudanese counterpart president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in Khartoum on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses told that president’s aides then appeared to help him onto the airplane before he was taken again to a car. Multiple sources stressed it was a minor incident caused by the president’s shoe, saying he was not hurt.
Sudanese security agents quickly confiscated the cameras of journalists covering the visit of the South Sudanese leader and forced them to delete images of the fall.
Senior officials in both governments, including ambassador Mutrif Siddig, Sudan’s envoy to South Sudan, said that Kiir may not return to Juba on Tuesday as earlier planned. However, they blamed an aircraft fault for the delay.
Siddiq stressed that Kiir is in good health condition and he walked out of the aircraft on his feet..
The information office at South Sudan embassy in Khartoum denied rumours about deteriorating health condition of president Kiir, saying he is currently in his place of residence at Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum.
In a press release, it said that the visit was extended due to a technical fault with the aircraft; stressing Kiir will depart for Juba on Thursday morning by another plane.
Meanwhile, the two presidents agreed to resolve the outstanding security issues and stop support and harbour for rebels from both countries besides, agreeing to form a joint committee to seek to cancel Sudan’s foreign debts.
In a press conference held at Khartoum airport, Bashir expressed hope that South Sudan sees stability, stressing his country will continue to work to ensure the success of the initiative launched by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to achieve peace in South Sudan and prevent internationalisation of the ongoing conflict.
He said that the visit made significant achievements in spite of its short duration, pointing they discussed all common issues between the two countries.
“[Armed] with will and determination, we will carry out what we have agreed upon because it resolves many problems suffered by the two countries”, he said
Kiir, for his part, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his visit to Khartoum, saying he was warmly welcomed by Bashir.
“We held fruitful talks on outstanding issues particularly the cooperation agreement which we committed ourselves to implementing it, and we will also work on other issues. We want both states to proceed forward as twin countries that support each other and address all economic and security problems,” he stressed.
Since March 2014n the South Sudanese defence minister, Koul Manyang, agreed with his Sudanese counterpart Abdel Rahim Hussein to operationalise the buffer zone and to deploy the joint monitoring teams.
The visiting president further pointed to the formation of a joint committee to lead efforts to cancel Sudan’s foreign debt, announcing the launch of a joint campaign to lift economic sanctions imposed on Sudan.
Kiir said the joint ministerial committee will start its work as soon as possible, saying “we are able to overcome obstacles facing us”.
According to the closing statement of the talks, they also agreed to name the head of the joint administration for Abyei, underscoring Sudan’s role to mediate between the warring parties in South Sudan.
The two presidents instructed the joint committees to immediately meet to resume implementation of the cooperation agreement and submit their reports to presidential summit through the joint higher committee.
The statement also mentioned that the Joint Political and Security Committee (JPSC) will meet during this month to activate implementation of the security arrangement agreement and determine the baseline for the demilitarized security zone (zero line) between the two countries according to the AUHIP plan.
It also pointed to the activation of the mechanisms agreed upon to stop support and harbour rebel groups on both sides in preparation for the opening of the 10 border crossings between the two countries.
The two presidents also acknowledge the need to activate the mechanisms on citizenship and trade according to the cooperation agreement, stressing continuation of oil production in Adareel and fulluj oilfields in South Sudan besides restoring production from Unity oilfields.
Unity state changed hands several times between the rebel and government forces. The insecurity in the region led to stop oil production outside Bentiu.
Khartoum is affected by this decrease of the oil exported through its pipelines as the South Sudan produces now less than half of the 350,000 barrels per day.
The South Sudanese political activist, Steven Loual, described Kiir’s visit to Khartoum as “very successful”, saying the summit discussed in details the pressing security issues, particularly the situation in Abyei and harbour and support of rebels from both countries.
He told that the two presidents directly discussed ways for resolving outstanding issues to realise the common interests, pointing that president Kiir is keen to achieve peace in South Sudan despite obstacles made by his opponents.
Bashir and Kiir will participate in the upcoming Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) special meeting on South Sudan in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
November 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir strongly repeated his rejection of the Paris Declaration signed between the rebel groups and the National Umma Party (NUP) but welcomed Addis Ababa agreement signed by the same forces and the national dialogue committee.
Addressing the second general assembly of the national dialogue on Sunday, the president said that Israel stands behind Paris Declaration in an attempt to dislodge the regime by force. He added the deal aims also to appoint Sadiq al-Mahdi as interim president and to move the Sudanese capital to El Fasher in Darfur region.
He further said they have the details of the circumstances under which occurred the signing of the Paris Declaration, adding, "We are responsible for protecting the country and they want to work out a road map against us".
Bashir went further to say that the rebels chose al-Mahdi because they were seeking for an acceptable “national figure” to chair an interim government.
The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the NUP signed the Paris Declaration on 8 August after preliminary discussions conducted by the party’s vice-president Merriam al-Mahdi with the rebel groups in the French capital.
The deal calls for a comprehensive solution involving all the political forces including rebel groups. It further stresses on the need to create a conducive environment in order to hold a genuine national dialogue.
ADDIS ABABA AGREEMENT
Bashir refuted calls to ensure public freedoms and to release political detainees saying such calls are “nonsense”, adding no political party complained from restriction of its activities.
“Anybody have a complaint has to come and say it inside the committees (of the national dialogue),” he further said.
The president said they are ready to militarily confront rebels on the battlefield but also ready for dialogue with those who want negotiations.
He further welcomed the agreement on the national dialogue and constitutional process reached by the national dialogue subcommittee for external relations and the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on 4 September 2014.
We welcome this agreement even if the delegates of the dialogue mechanism, Ghazi Salah Al-Din al-Attabani and Ahmed Saad Omer were not mandated to sign it, he emphasised.
The same agreement was signed separately on the same day between the AUHIP and the signatories of Paris Declaration.
At the time, the national dialogue delegation, which was in Addis to brief the AUHIP about the signing of a road map for the internal process, refused to sign a joint text with the rebels stressing they were not mandated to sign such declaration of principles with the SRF and the NUP.
Al-Bashir told the meeting that the Chadian president Idris Deby continues his efforts to convince the rebel groups to participate in the national dialogue process and reiterated his call for the holdout political parties and rebel groups to join the process.
However, he said they cannot postpone the national dialogue waiting political forces that did not yet say when they would join it after their preliminary approval of the process.
“But they can join the dialogue at any time,” he said.
The NUP was among the first political forces that joined the dialogue process but suspended its participation after the arrest of its leader Sadiq al-Mahdi in May over statements accusing the government militias of committing crimes in Darfur.
The general assembly of the dialogue authorised the national dialogue high committee, aka "7 +7", to determine when the national dialogue will commence.
Bashir said, the kick-off of the internal political process would not exceed the end of November, and should take a period between one to three months. He further indicated that its outcome will form a doable road map.
The meeting approved the mechanism’s performance in the past period, the road map for dialogue reached on 9 August, and Addis Ababa agreement , besides different reports submitted by several subcommittees.
The general assembly meeting, which was attended by 83 parties, witnessed divergences over the postponement of the general elections scheduled for April 2015.
But the president categorically refused any delay of the electoral process pointing to the need to conclude the dialogue before the end of his term to avoid constitutional vacuum.
In statements after the meeting, the leader of Reform Now Movement (RNM) Attabani accused the ruling party of seeking to impose the elections on the political parties.
He further expected that the NUP would boycott the process after Bashir’s rejection of Paris Declaration.
He asked the president to explain what does he means by “red lines”.
He said such statements mean to mislead the political forces, stressing that the ruling party did not provide evidence confirming the existence of a plot to seize power.
Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North are to meet on 12 November in Addis Ababa for talks on a cessation of hostilities agreement. Similar talks are expected to take place soon with the rebel groups in Darfur region.
The African Union plans also to hold an all parties conference in its premises to discuss a road map for the national dialogue before to move inside the country to start the process.
Nov. 02, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – US secretary of state John Kerry has requested his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Karti, resume talks on bilateral relations, the Sudanese foreign ministry said on Thursday..
Earlier this month, the US special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, said he was ready to visit Khartoum to resume discussions on bilateral relations and ways to improve it.
Booth has not visited the Sudanese capital since last December after Khartoum decided to stop discussions on the “unjust” American sanctions, saying US policy is determined by activists and lobby groups not government officials.
“Sudanese foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti received a telephone call from his American counterpart and they discussed ways to improve bilateral relations,” said a statement published by the official news agency SUNA .
“The American minister expressed his country’s desire to hold direct negotiations with Sudan on outstanding issues,” it added.
During the telephone conversation, Karti reminded Kerry the broken promises on the lift of sanctions, the agency further reported.
Last week Washington renewed economic sanctions on Sudan saying “the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”.
The Sudanese government denounced the decision, accusing the American administration of using “various reasons and arguments to justify its targeting for Sudan which is nothing but political intrigue, clear contradiction and double standards”.
nonetheless, the two ministers concurred on the need to discuss the bilateral relations and expressed readiness to resume dialogue, SUNA said.
Different sources say that Karti and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour are among those who support the resumption of discussions with Washington to normalise bilateral relations and reach an agreement on the lift of sanctions.
Washington admits Sudan’s cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but added new conditions related to the end of the conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
“Our concern for marginalised populations, our interests in the resolution of deadly internal conflicts, and our support for democratic governance derive from principles that reach far beyond Sudan’s borders,” Booth emphasised in lecture on the Two Sudans at the Atlantic Council on 9 October.