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Sudan unrest may put S. Sudanese peace at risk: Experts

Al-Bashir and intelligence advisor played 'crucial role' in peace negotiations in southern nation's civil war

Parach Mach   | 16.04.2019
Sudan unrest may put S. Sudanese peace at risk: Experts

JUBA, South Sudan 

The political situation in Sudan after the overthrow of its longtime president who helped broker South Sudan’s fragile peace has raised concerns on the end of civil war in the world's youngest nation.

Warring parties in South Sudan inked a deal in Khartoum, Sudan last September to expedite implementation of an agreement that covered power sharing and security.

The deal was guaranteed by Sudan and the ouster of Omar al-Bashir has not been received well within South Sudan’s political spectrum.

Abraham Awolich, a policy analyst at the Juba-based Sudd Institute, told Anadolu Agency on Monday that the leadership change in Sudan could complicate South Sudan's peace implementation.

"Al-Bashir and his intelligence advisor, Salah Gosh, who resigned, played a crucial role in peace negotiations particularly on oil and security arrangement," Awolich said.

He added that the 2018 peace agreement was the result of pressure by Sudanese leaders on the South Sudanese opposition.

"There was some pressure of isolation exerted on Riek Machar’s opposition by the Sudanese government and this led to concessions and compromises," he said.

Riek Machar, rebel leader and former vice president was put under house arrest in South Africa, then later was sent to Sudan after a 2016 agreement collapsed following street battles in Juba.

He called for a renegotiation of the peace deal which resulted in a revitalized pact signed last September in Sudan.

Brushing aside the concerns of the South Sudanese people, a human rights activist said South Sudan would be able to implement peace without Sudan's support.

Rajab Mohandis, a head of the South Sudan Organization for Responsive Governance said Sudan’s position on South Sudan peace and stability is full of backstabbing and sabotage.

"Sudan’s position on South Sudan is questionable, South Sudanese war is fueled by regional support to rebels and lack of diplomatic pressure on the side of the government, Al-Bashir has been supportive of South Sudanese opposition," Mohandis said.

Mohandis said the deal has enough provisions to end the war and start the process of long-term reconciliation efforts.

However, locals in the South Sudanese capital of Juba welcomed the move taken by the Sudan.

"The Sudanese should now figure out how to manage their country. From now on, Khartoum should exercise honest and mutually beneficial relations with the South Sudanese," said a South Sudanese citizen who requested to be called Philip.

South Sudan got its independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of brutal war. The two Sudans share cross-border trade, citizenship rights and oil.

South Sudan is landlocked country. It uses Sudanese pipelines to transfer its oil to the global market in an agreement with the government of Sudan.

Despite the conflict and a still festering border dispute along with accusations of supporting rebels, both countries desperately needed the cash generated by oil from South Sudan flowing through a pipeline and port owned by Sudan.

Ambassador Mawien Makol Ariik, South Sudan’s foreign affairs spokesperson said the South Sudan peace deal was guaranteed by Sudan and the ouster of Bashir transfers much more responsibility for the success of the agreement to the current military council.

"The agreement is a matter of interest to both countries, it was not on an individual basis... If Al-Bashir is gone, it doesn’t affect anything at all," said Makol.

Sudan and South Sudan will continue to enjoy bilateral ties without any disruption, he added.

They have been at odds on a range of issues from disputed borders in oil-rich Abyei and Heglig to trade that have threatened bilateral ties since the latter broke away from Sudan in 2011 under a peace agreement that ended two decades of civil conflict.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, fell into a brutal civil war in December 2013 after President Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup.

Juba and Khartoum have traded accusations of supporting each other’s rebels on their territory, charges both countries deny.

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