March 15, 2011
The SPLM Abandons Talks and Rallies to Demonstrate in front of its Embassy in DC
Efforts to resolve the issue of Abyei have yet again met another unnecessary hurdle. The commission, dubbed the Abyei Implementation Mechanism, disbanded on the 14th of March without ever carrying out a single function as a result of the maneuvers of the SPLM. It was conceived to bring together senior political members of the two parties (SPLM and NCP) to “immediately ensure the withdrawal of all other forces out of the Abyei area” and work for the immediate implementation of the various aspects of the agreements including the opening of pastoral corridors for the Messeriya’s annual movement to the River Bahr el Arab.
The commission didn’t even step foot in Abyei because of objections raised by the SPLM, which demanded the resolution of two irrelevant issues beforehand; one regarding the nature of the future police in Abyei and the other relates to the policing of the oil installations in Difra. These two items have nothing in the least to do with the current crisis and skirmishes we’re witnessing. Nor were they brought up in the Abyei meeting of March 4th, or the Kadugli meeting of January 17th 2011. They weren’t even among the issues referred to the Abyei Mechanism for action. Yet the SPLM managed to use them to hold hostage the security and the peace process in the area. Had it been allowed to carry out its duties, there is no doubt the commission would have helped in averting the current unrest in the area.
Furthermore the government was anticipating the Presidency meeting scheduled for Sunday March 13th, 2011. It was to address and adopt measures that would ease the prevailing tension on the ground. But the SPLM’s sudden withdrawal and suspension of talks with the Government dashed the last conceivable hope for de-escalating the volatile situation. They’ve decided instead to come to Washington DC and demonstrate in front of the Sudan embassy. If they’ve abandoned talks where the real hope for a solution resides, what good will demonstrating in front of the Washington embassy do! Such actions reflect the insufficiency of sound leadership within the party. The unrest in the South should be compelling enough for the SPLM to be serious about peace. Instead, the party is using its peace partner as a scapegoat for its failures in its territory when it should be engaging those aggrieved for a genuine search of peace. The perpetrators of the crisis there are well known high ranking SPLM officials, not the Government or any other party in Sudan.
The government calls upon the international community and in particular the mediator States and organizations to take note of this serious development and exert maximum pressure on the SPLM to immediately withdraw the SPLA irregular police from Abyei and cooperate with the Government in order to avoid any further escalation of turmoil in the Abyei area. The people need their peace, not political acrobats. In the final analysis, it is important to note that it is the moral duty and obligation of the Government of Sudan, the SPLM and the international community to ensure that the rights of the Misseriya, the Ngok Dinka and all other groups in Abyei are preserved. Any attempt to undermine these rights, is to incite sentiments from these groups that can only exacerbate the situation.
Press and Information Office