BY: Dr. Anthony Lupai Simon, JUBA, OCT. 13/2012, SSN; About two weeks ago the Republic of South Sudan and Sudan committed themselves to a deal that was signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa as the presidents, Salva Kiir and Omer El Bashir respectively, were pressured by the international community on that deal following the escalation of violence that erupted at their disputed borders after the independence of South Sudan.
Sudan sabotaged the referendum for the people of Abyei and sent in his military to control many areas in the south as well as going ahead confiscating south oil in its port harbour of Bashair near Port Sudan.
Again Sudan has refused to abide by the border that stands as drawn by the British and leaving it in 1st January 1956.
Those provocative moves compounded up by Ariel bombardments as clear acts of intimidation by Khartoum to the people of south Sudan produced some reactions that were about to bring the two sides to an all out war. But thanks to the people of south Sudan for keeping themselves low against Khartoum for the sake of peace.
South Sudan heeded to the international pleas and ceased their fire in spite of Khartoums aggressive moves and negative accusations.
And in all the disputes that erupted each side pretended to be more right than the other and the two could not come to a compromise in spite of the clear road map laid down by the CPA, this forced the international to intervene. And that intervention was by putting forward a Resolution No. 2046 and a threat of sanctions on both sides if they fail to reach an agreement within a specified period of time. And under that tension Khartoum and Juba signed an agreement on Thursday the 27th of September 2012.
People from the two Sudans glued to the televisions attending the ceremony as it was broadcast live. While people in the Sudanese capital Khartoum applauded to the deal, it was, however, received with mixed reactions in Juba. Simply because people in the new land were more concerned about solutions to the causes of the disputes such as the border demarcation, Abyei case and the contested regions that they saw as not properly been tackled in the deal, while others see that the resumption of the oil to flow in the market and provisions of the four freedoms to the people of the two countries are steps in the right directions.
All the same, nobody knows which side is more correct but more importantly, what is seen as the guiding star to all is the interest of the people of south Sudan which all have agreed that should have a permanent lasting solution but not a temporary one.
And as the voices of the sceptics to the agreement grow louder and louder, they were quickly silenced up by some authorities that if you reject this Agreement then give us an alternative. A statement which points that the only way out is through that signed agreement.
But way out from what? For calming Khartoum and making it responsive? Pleasing the international community that we are serious? Or recovering of our economy and giving us a brake and have time to think on how to restart?
Otherwise, seriously, Khartoum should have been forced in front of the international community to agree on the road map or face sanctions alone. I do not think there is any sensible full body that would punish the south if it complies with the international norms.
Negotiation is a give-and-take from all parties. One side cannot act superficially and another one giving all the time what it has.
A good number of analysts that had been following up the Juba-Khartoum talks in Addis Ababa concluded that Khartoum had been too rigid and gave out very little compared to Juba. That unshaken position of Khartoum made many people in Juba unhappy with the deal forcing some of them to ask many questions.
Such as, were we pressed by some conditions other than those of solving the core causes of the disputes between us and Sudan for which we went to the negotiation? If the answer is yes, then we should not have deceived our population that we were going to Addis Ababa to solve the outstanding post referendum issues but instead to tell our citizens that we need to escape the embargo and equip ourselves with emergency money now.
But if the answer is no, then there is no point of asking the citizens to give an alternative solution when everybody knows the intention of the negotiation. The freedom rights on the deal that have become songs on many lips are just symptomatic treatment which would not even be needed if the disease between the two countries was treated.
Did we go to negotiate because of citizens issues or because of some major unresolved border disputes which resulted to those restrictions?
Again people with mixed reactions in Juba were worried about the paradoxical compensation money in the deal. The twenty one year war in the country made Khartoum to destroy all that we had in the south and denied us the national development programs, what compensation has it given for that? Instead the victim goes ahead to compensate the criminal in what is known as the TFA, what a paradox?
Is it justifiable for somebody to ask for an alternative when we all know that the Russian-built Antonov planes were sent by Khartoum and caused those destructions in the south and when it is supposed to be forced now to rebuild these rabbles?
We cannot be deceived that Khartoum should be applauded because it has given us the south. It is our land given to us by the Creator which Khartoum unlawfully controlled for those gone by years, and simply fell back to the real owners control. We do not need to thank them for that but instead we should lobby the international community to force them for some retributions.
Yes, we are part of the international community including Khartoum and all are required to adhere to the international demands.
Some people in Juba were not happy with the deal because most of the things Khartoum had rejected were deferred in the negotiation making it buy time while south Sudanese items were given some modification and accepted as part of the deal. Special examples are the inclusion of mile 14 in the buffer zone which came as a surprise to the people of south Sudan in the same manner that they came to see that Panthou (Heglig) was discussed as a part of Abyei instead of Unity state in The Hague-based International Court.
Again the other modifications are the presence of terminologies as the claimed areas in the current deal which did not exist before but was just a making of Khartoum to dilute the legitimate positions south Sudan has over those areas. Who is claiming these areas? I think it is the south because Khartoum is in all the areas in the south it wants and south Sudan mentioning them made Khartoum quickly convince the AUHLIP to label them not as disputed but as claimed areas.
The pressure on Khartoum is lighter when only the south is claiming for areas because we shall be like barking dogs and they our camels not caring about our noises.
The sceptics that are asking to give alternatives were just wondering as to why bring the buffer zone deep into the south in areas like mile 14, etc, without involving any inch of land in Sudan. They were expecting the international body to force Khartoum to keep the zone right where the 1st January 1956 line is so that Khartoum should not be lured to believe that the buffer zone is the assumed border.
We have already seen that as Khartoum moves southwards some international communities are made to believe that the areas behind it are Sudanese territories. Like now Russia that has no any knowledge about the south is blindly standing behind Khartoum to force the South to compensate some money for the destruction in Panthou which resulted from the April 2012 attacks. It was just a move designed by Khartoum with the intention of scaring the south away from thinking that Heglig is its land.
I hope it is not one of the areas modified by Khartoum as one being claimed by the south. The same is going to follow after the creation of the buffer zone, as such it must not be erected in the south but right at the presumed border as border disputes are not always solved within a short time.
Yes, there are so many alternatives on the ground relating to the deal including that of changing the negotiating team if their negotiating capability was overstretched by Khartoum as they were unable to convince the international community to come in line with our demands in the way Khartoum swayed them.
Dr. Anthony Lupai Simon, Juba.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author and not of the website).