Sunday, January 19, 2014

S. Sudan’s president accepts cessation of hostilities agreement

Sent: Sunday, January 19, 2014 8:31 AM
Subject: [changemombasa2012] S. Sudan’s president accepts cessation of hostilities agreement

Good People,

Technically with the objectivity of foreign withdrawal of the troops could withhold some water is welcomed..........moving forward, both the local and the international pressure group must demand for the release of the political prisoners or produce them to court or face the ICC Hague to demand for them to be produced to relive fears that they are already killed.

Legal teams both locally and Diaspora must prepare summons to demand ICC Hague to produce evidence of availability and justice over the political detainees of South Sudan. This must go concurrently with the negotiations moving forward.

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,
Sunday 19 January 2014

S. Sudan’s president accepts cessation of hostilities agreement

January 19, 2014 (JUBA/ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir accepted on Saturday a cessation of hostilities agreement with rebels who have been fighting to remove him from power for over a month.
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South Sudan president Salva Kiir sits in his office in Juba December 16, 2013 (Reuters/Hakim George)
Under the terms of the draft deal, which the two sides immediately accepted, the fighters from both sides are expected to stop engaging in physical fighting, paving the way for further negotiations on how to resolve the crisis that started on December 15.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediation team handed over a final draft agreement on a cessation of hostilities to the two sides on Friday evening, expecting them to respond on Saturday with either acceptance of the recommendation or rejection of the draft.
The breakthrough comes as the South Sudanese army announced on Saturday that it had recaptured Bor, the Jonglei state capital from rebels. Bor had been under control of the rebels for around three weeks after rebels regained control of the key town for the second time since the conflict began.
Following the army’s claim to have retaken Bor on Saturday, Juba’s negotiating team in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune that the South Sudanese government is ready to sign ceasefire agreement within the next few days.
"We are now ready to sign agreement on cessation of hostilities if the rebel side is ready for similar commitment" a representative of the government, who asked for anonymity, said.
Yien Mathew Chol, an assistant spokesman for the rebel delegation in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, stated that the document includes four areas.
1) "First, there is provision for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
2) Second, the agreement calls on the two parties to stop media campaigns and issuing propaganda statements against each other.
3) Third, it calls for allowing humanitarian access to assist victims of the conflict.
4) Fourth, it calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops from South Sudan. We therefore accepted the draft as the leadership of the negotiating team", he said.
Chol said the leadership of the rebel group immediately approved the document, because there were elements of objectivity in the draft by the mediators, claiming the two sides had accepted the deal.
The head of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, held consultations in Juba on Saturday with President Kiir in the presence of the information minister Michael Makuei and the president’s spokesman, Ateny Awek Ateny.
The team of IGAD mediators chaired by Ethiopian former foreign minister, Seyoum Mesfin, traveled to Juba on Thursday for further consultations with the South Sudan leader after peace talks between the two rivals continued to stall over issue of the 11 political prisoners who have been held since the start of the crisis.
Nhial confirmed that the government had agreed to the ceasefire, saying he expected it to be signed after his return to Addis Ababa. He said that the stipulation on the withdrawal of foreign forces was well received on their side, which encouraged them to agree to the deal.
Despite earlier denials, Kampala and Juba have now admitted that Ugandan forces have fought alongside the South Sudanese army (SPLA) in countering the rebellion.
The regional mediators were expected to return to Addis Ababa on Saturday to push the ceasefire agreement to be signed by the two parties and end over a month-old bloody fighting between the army and forces loyal to Kiir’s former deputy Riek Machar.
As government forces gain momentum - they also retook Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, just over a week ago - some observers believe that a deal over the next few says has become more likely.
Direct talks continued in Addis Ababa on Saturday over a final draft proposal presented by IGAD mediators on a cessation of hostilities. Both sides have agreed on the final draft proposal but differences still exist over some of the wording in the final peace document.
If the two parties manage to sign truce they will then enter into dialogue on releasing the 11 pro-rebel political figures who remain detained on alleged accusations of links with last month’s fighting in Juba, which the government claims was a failed coup attempt.
After conflict within the military began in the capital it spread to Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states with significant sections of the army defecting.
The violence has claimed the lives of close to 10,000 people, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG), and forced half a million people to flee their homes.
The UN has accused both sides of committing war crimes and human right abuses.
The South Sudanese government on Saturday categorically denied allegations that its forces were involved in any crimes against civilians, despite reports to the contrary by groups such as Human Rights Watch.
 Sunday 19 January 2014

Sudan, Eritrea announce political support for Juba

January 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afewerki announced their political support for the existing government of South Sudan.
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Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (L) meeting with Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki in Asmara January 16, 2013 (Ashorooq TV)
Bashir returned to Khartoum on Saturday following a three-day official visit to Eritrea at the invitation of Afewerki.
Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti, told reporters on Saturday that the two presidents discussed the ongoing conflict in South Sudan given that Eritrea at one point hosted the ex-rebel movement which later took responsibility for the newborn state.
He stressed that discussions on South Sudan’s crisis were serious and sincere, pointing out that they aimed at helping the rivals reach common grounds.
Karti further said that stability in South Sudan entails stability in trade, security and economic situation with Sudan.
Clashes erupted in Juba mid-December following a dispute among the presidential guard, rapidly spreading to the country’s states of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity. Over 1,000 people, according to the United Nations, have died and nearly 200,000 displaced since fighting started in mid-December.
But while South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar over the incident as part of a coup attempt, the latter denies, alleging it was a move by his former boss to silence critics with the SPLM.
The top Sudanese diplomat added that Bashir’s visit to Asmara also focused on cooperation between the two countries particularly on the economic front and said the two sides discussed ways for opening the borders and turning them into crossing points for goods and passengers, noting that consultations with authorities of border states are underway.
He further said that discussions also tackled education and health sectors besides roads linking the two countries, adding that the two sides agreed to review a 150 kilometers road inside Eritrean territory which Asmara pledged to build.
Karti also said the Sudanese side committed to completing the electricity line between the two countries, stressing that implementation of the project would begin soon after conclusion of the necessary studies.
He disclosed that Eritrean agencies responsible for carrying out a study on petroleum products’ trade with its Sudanese counterpart have been identified, affirming there is no hostility of any sort between the two countries.



South Sudan Recaptures Town From Rebels

NAIROBI, Kenya — Amid signs that a cease-fire agreement could be close, the government of South Sudan said Saturday that it had won a significant military victory, recapturing the strategic town of Bor from rebel forces.
Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the monthlong conflict, trading hands between rebel and government forces several times.
“Our forces have recaptured Bor from the rebels,” said Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister. “They are now on the run.”
Troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Force played an important role in the offensive in Bor, according to an army spokesman. “Our troops have overpowered the rebels and taken over the entire city of Bor,” said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda.
Uganda had long denied taking part in combat operations in neighboring South Sudan, but President Yoweri Museveni said Wednesday that his soldiers were fighting alongside troops loyal to the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, against forces aligned with his ousted rival, former Vice President Riek Machar.
There were signs that negotiators in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, were getting closer to a deal to suspend hostilities. “It’s an agreement that can create an environment that gives peace to the two sides to negotiate on political issues,” said Yohanis Musa Pouk, a spokesman for the rebels in Addis Ababa.
He said that the proposed deal would not solve the issues between the sides, but would “allow the humanitarians to reach the affected areas” and provide aid.
A presidential spokesman told reporters in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, that the government was ready to sign a cease-fire agreement. Mr. Lueth, the information minister, said that he expected one to be signed soon, while denying news media reports that it could be agreed to as soon as Saturday.
The two sides have had difficulty reaching an agreement, particularly on the question of supporters of Mr. Machar who were arrested after what Mr. Kiir called an attempted coup. The rebels have denied that there was a plot and demanded the release of the detainees as a precondition for a cease-fire.
It took days just to get the two sides talking face-to-face after both groups had arrived in Addis Ababa. And questions remain as to whether the fighters in far-flung corners of South Sudan will lay down their weapons just because politicians declare a cessation of hostilities.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than half a million displaced since the fighting began in December, with 84,000 fleeing across the borders to Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. Aid groups say there is a desperate need for food, medicine and shelter, particularly for those in areas still affected by the fighting.
A top United Nations human rights official said Friday that both sides in the conflict had committed “mass atrocities.” The official, Ivan Simonovic, the assistant secretary general for human rights, described bodies on the streets of Bentiu and reports of mass killings, sexual violence and the recruitment of children into battle.
The two sides have been in Addis Ababa for more than two weeks. Negotiations have proceeded slowly despite intense international pressure for a cessation of hostilities.
“Of course we are optimistic that they will sign the cease-fire, there is no doubt about that,” Mr. Lueth said, “but as to when will depend on how the rebels conduct themselves.”

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