Editorial Analysis; After serious haggling since last Sunday and six face-to-face meetings, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan, Omar Bashir and Salva Kiir, have finally signed Thursday, September 27, 2012, a partial deal, basically, to resume oil exports from South Sudan through the Sudan and a security arrangement.
1. OIL DEAL: Since President Kiir unilaterally shut down oil production and exports through the north last January, and briefly blundered in the occupation of Heglig (Panthou) oil refinery, the South has been under continuous international pressure to reconsider restarting the oil production, especially in the light of its dismal failure to secure any international financial assistance.
South Sudan is almost 99.99 percent dependent on oil revenues but the Sudan is the main beneficiary of any resumption of oil exports through its territory. Besides paying the Sudan transit fees, South Sudan will unconditionally bear the entire responsibility of repair and rehabilitation of the oil facilities. Experts predict the entire process will take several months before we see oil flowing again and will cost millions.
Now, Kiir has voluntarily and politically surrendered and ceded the South back to the jellaba North, who, given the not-so-long-ago history, will be tightly holding South Sudan at ransom. The oil exports will be at their mercy– any time we disagree, they shut off the pipeline for a million pretexts!!!
More importantly, however, what will now become of the LAPSSET accord that President Kiir recently signed with Kenya and Ethiopia to export South Sudan’s oil southwards, since he will now be deeply entrapped with paying the Sudan in the new Addis Accord?
2. Security Deal: This accord, again, unfairly favours the Sudan than South Sudan, as it encompasses demilitarization and mandatory one-sided withdrawal of South Sudan army (SPLA) 10 miles from an undefined 1200 miles long border not yet demarcated completely. In the event of SPLA supposed retreat beyond the so-called demilitarized zone, would the Arab Sudan be in any more hurry to embark on any negotiations on North-South border demarcation?
3. Disputed territories: Clearly, President Kiir severely lost on this since those disputed areas of Hofar el Nahas, Mile 14, Kaka, Goda, and others, have been conceded as they will continue under Sudan’s firm control.
4. Abyei loss: This is President Kiir’s greatest blunder and loss. Predictably, the proposals of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) were a non-starter for jellaba Sudan and at the same time, the intransigence of the prominent Abyei sons in the South Sudan side was a complicating factor. For the first time ever, the Arab Sudan is now pushing for complete division of Abyei region into two parts, one for the Dinka Ngok and the other part, northwards, for the Arab nomads. Apparently, all South Sudan inducements to the north Sudan, be it oil money or unfettered grazing rights, are no longer attractive anymore. The Arabs, like the Dinka Ngok, are gunning for the most precious and lasting asset, the land.
Will President Kiir push the South into another war because of Abyei impasse, therefore scuttling the entire peace process? Alternately, how effective will resorting, once again, to international arbitration at The Hague be advisable?
5. The Four Freedoms: These entail the right to work, to move, to reside and to ownership of properties on both sides of the border for citizens of the two countries. Unfortunately, these freedoms are heavily and unfairly in favor of the jellaba and other North Sudanese, who under President Kiir’s dubious policies of accommodation, have allowed South Sudan trade and commerce to be almost completely strangled by the Sudanese who come and go unfettered in South Sudan. They own more businesses in the South than South Sudanese owning any in north Sudan. Conversely and unarguably, South Sudanese in north don’t enjoy any freedoms freely, whatsoever, a fact seen in the numbers of South Sudanese migrating en masse daily back home in utter misery.
*The summit between President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan, which began Sunday, was supposed to last just one day to meet a deadline set by the African Union and U.N. Security Council.
As of Thursday, September 27/2012, the two presidents sign a partial deal.
*An economic deal that would include revenue sharing between the two nations of South Sudan’s oil wealth is desperately needed by both economies.
In January, South Sudan shut off its oil supply — which is shipped and exported through Sudan’s infrastructure — saying that Sudan was stealing oil revenue. The South got around 70% of the formerly united country’s reserves when it became independent last year.
Both countries, especially South Sudan, have seen hyperinflation and a squeeze on incoming foreign currency, which has hurt their economies.
*Under the agreement, the demilitarized zone along the border will mean the militaries of Sudan and South Sudan and other armed groups will not be allowed in a prescribed zone on either side of the border, creating a buffer between the forces.
*The deal as signed is described it will be at best a partial victory, analysts say,
*The status of disputed areas along the border and the fate of Abyei — a border region claimed by both countries — are crucial security issues that will need to be addressed if the two recently divorced countries are to have lasting peace.
In April, Sudan and South Sudan slipped close to all-out war with a series of tit-for-tat air raids and ground attacks that prompted the African Union and Security Council to push the two sides to act.
*The Security Council had given the sides until Sunday to come up with a deal or face sanctions. But the negotiators say that has been informally extended until the end of the talks.
*The status of Abyei has been a matter of contention since the South declared independence on July 9 of last year.
Under a 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan’s two-decade civil war, Abyei residents were to take part in a referendum on whether to join the South or remain a special administrative region within Sudan. The vote was to take place in January 2011, at the same time as the referendum that led to South Sudan’s secession. But disputes over who was eligible to vote prevented the referendum from going forward in Abyei.
*Sudan and South Sudan have been under increasing pressure from the African Union and Security Council to resolve the matter peacefully.