Date: Thursday, 28 June 2018
The UN and the major foreign aid donors have let Sudan and South Sudan know that they have more urgent crises to deal with elsewhere and that’s where UN efforts (peacekeepers and aid donor contributions) will go if leaders in Sudan and South Sudan do not resolve their differences very soon. The violence and subsequent economic damage and millions of starving refugees has been going on in Sudan and South Sudan for over two decades and local leaders seem more interested in themselves than the people they claim to represent. The UN is not acting on its own here but simply responding to the donor (of peacekeepers and aid supplies) nations that make possible the peacekeeping and aid efforts. The donor nations have noted the lack of progress and refuse to support that sort of thing when their contributions would be more effective elsewhere.
June 27, 2018: South Sudan and the main rebel group (SPLM-IO) signed an enhanced ceasefire agreement in the Sudan capital (Khartoum). The ceasefire is supposed to take effect June 30. Both South Sudan and the rebels indicated the ceasefire does more than halt combat which is why diplomats are referring to it as the Khartoum Peace Agreement. The deal serves as a peace agreement framework and is a major step toward reaching a permanent peace settlement. On the ground the ceasefire would permit the distribution of much needed food and medical supplies. Prisoners of war will also be released. The “framework” element calls for the formation of a transitional unity government in four months that will remain in place for three years. (Austin Bay)
June 25, 2018: Peace negotiations to settle South Sudan’s civil war began today in Sudan. Both South Sudanese and SPLM-IO leaders stated they wish to end the civil war that has lasted four years. The leaders of Sudan and Uganda are sponsoring the peace talks. Representatives from IGAD (East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development), the EU, Great Britain and the U.S. are also attending.
In western South Sudan (Wau state) rebels accused government forces of attacking rebel positions i since June 23. According to the rebels, government forces struck rebel positions in the towns of Omboro, Bagari, Engo halima and Baslia. Rebel forces drove off the attackers. In one attack the rebels claimed they destroyed an armored personnel carrier.
Further south (Central Equatoria state) unidentified gunmen ambushed an aid convoy and killed a UN peacekeeper. The other peacekeepers returned fire and the attackers fled.
June 24, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider Sudan’s appeal of a $314.7 million compensatory damage assessment. The damages were awarded in a lawsuit that sought compensation for American sailors injured in the 2000 al Qaeda terror attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen. A judge awarded the damages by default since the Sudan government did not appear in court to defend itself against allegations that it supported the Islamist terrorists who launched the attack.
In South Sudan the rebels confirmed that the rebel-appointed governor of Bieh has died from an illness. Bieh is in the northeast and one of South Sudan’s 28 new states. Rebels control most of Bieh, which is why the SPLM-IO appointed the governor. He was not officially recognized by the South Sudan government.
June 23, 2018: South Sudanese and rebel leaders agreed to meet again in Sudan on the 25th for a new round of peace talks. Diplomats said both sides are concerned about the UN threat to impose stiff political and economic sanctions if they fail to end the civil war.
June 22, 2018: Sudan and South Sudan confirmed they have plans to repair and rehabilitate oilfields in South Sudan that were damaged during the South Sudan civil war. All parties agree a permanent peace agreement that ends South Sudan’s civil war would speed the reparation and recovery process. The oil ministers of both Sudan’s have agreed to conduct a joint inspection of the damaged fields.
In western Sudan (Darfur) foreign aid groups claimed government forces stopped UN peacekeepers from reaching “several hundred” displaced persons in an area in the Jebel Marra mountains where troops have been battling the SLM-AW rebels.
June 21, 2018: The South Sudan president and the rebel (SPLM-IO) leader met in Ethiopia. It was their first face to face encounter since 2016. The meeting ended without an agreement. The SPLM-IO issued a statement that said an imposed peace agreement would not work. Ending the civil war would require a political solution and “revisiting” the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the Sudan civil war and led to the creation of South Sudan.
June 17, 2018: The UN indicated that it expects to make drastic reductions in western Sudan (Darfur) peacekeeping operations. The UN mandate for the Darfur peacekeeping force is scheduled to be renewed June 30 and reductions have been expected for several months. The UN has decided to close 14 team sites (peacekeeping and monitoring support sites) while 13 sites in the volatile Jebel Marra area will remain open. The council will also examine completely withdrawing Darfur peacekeepers by the end of 2020. In response foreign aid groups that depend on the peacekeepers for security called for the peacekeepers to remain. Foreign aid groups contend the war really isn’t over and point to Sudanese forces committing atrocities in Jebel Marra. In March and April government forces launched several major attacks in Jebel Marra. Rebels claimed pro-government militias burned several dozen villages. The foreign aid groups also point to the UN’s own figures: around three million Darfuris remain displaced, either in Sudan or in other countries with 1.6 million Darfuris live in some 60 refugee and displaced persons camps in Sudan. An estimated 500,000 are in camps in Chad. They also point out that Sudanese president Bashir is a war criminal under indictment by the ICC (International Criminal Court) for crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN justified the cuts by pointing out the money is not available and there are more urgent needs elsewhere.
June 14, 2018: IGAD announced that the South Sudan government and the SPLM-IO rebels will meet to discuss a new ceasefire deal in Ethiopia on June 20.
June 12, 2018: In western Sudan (Central Darfur state) security forces and the SLM-AW rebels have fought a series of battles. Most of the fighting was taking place in the Jebel Kali and Badia areas, where the army had moved 2,000 troops and tribal militiamen. The RSF tribal militias have a reputation for murder and looting.
June 8, 2018: Sudan and the South Sudan confirmed that their oil ministries have agreed to repair oil production facilities in the Panthou area (Sudan-South Sudan border). The facilities were damaged in 2012 when Sudan and South Sudan military forces fought a series of battles in the region. Oil wells in the area will be repaired by the end of September. The two nations will also form a joint protection force to defend the oil fields and production infrastructure.
June 6, 2018: Sudan announced it has cut all security and defense ties with North Korea. The makes it more difficult for Sudan to smuggle in weapons when Sudan is under embargo.
June 5, 2018: In western Sudan (South Darfur state) unidentified gunmen killed eight people and wounded seven in a refugee camp.
June 4, 2018: The UN threatened to withdraw its peacekeepers from the Abyei region on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Both countries claim the area and peace is maintained by 4,000 Ethiopian peacekeepers whose mandate is up for renewal in October. The UN cannot afford the peacekeeper force any longer and is demanding that Sudan and South Sudan resolve their boundary dispute that has existed since South Sudan became independent of Sudan in 2011.
June 2, 2018: Foreign aid groups are calling for continued contributions to keep feeding the millions of refugees and other economically displaced people in Sudan (South Darfur, South Kordofan and White Nile states). Fighting continues in all these areas as it has since the rebellions began in 2003. Aid donors see no end to the fighting, or the demands and prefer to send the money to places where the aid will lead to an end to the crises situation.
May 31, 2018: The UN gave South Sudan and the rebels one month to reach a peace agreement. If they fail to do so they will face economic and political sanctions. The U.S. sponsored the resolution. The vote on the 15 member council was 9-0. Six countries abstained, including Russia and China. Ethiopia abstained which was expected since Ethiopia sponsors peace negotiations between the two South Sudanese belligerents.