UN urges immediate withdrawal of Sudanese rebel forces from foreign countries

The UN Security Council Committee on Sudan has called on the Sudanese rebel groups that are not part of the Juba Peace Agreement to withdraw from foreign countries, or else they will be classified as terrorists.

“The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan considered the final report of the Panel of Experts, submitted in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 2508 (2020) (S/2021/40).”

The Committee is urging the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) signatory movements to stop recruiting fighters, in violation of the JPA, including in internally displaced persons’ camps.

The United Nations urged the Darfurian rebel factions to join the ongoing peace process or face tough measures, should they fail to comply with the orders.

“The Committee is also urging the Darfurian major non-signatory groups to engage in peace talks with the Government of Sudan as soon as possible. If they fail to comply, and therefore constitute an impediment to peace, the Committee would consider listing those individuals or entities on the 1591 Sanctions List.”

The United Nations accused the Sudanese rebel forces of being a source of instability in the whole region.

“Furthermore, the Committee is urging the JPA signatory movements to withdraw their forces from foreign countries completely, in line with the JPA. If they fail to comply, and therefore continue to pose a threat to regional stability, the Committee would consider listing those individuals or entities on the 1591 Sanctions List,” the UN threatened.

Last year, the Sudanese transitional government and opposition groups signed a peace agreement under auspices of the South Sudanese government.

According to the terms of the agreement, the parties agree to abide by international law by refraining from recruiting refugees and pulling out their forces from foreign countries.

IGAD commends S. Sudan’s contribution to regional peace

IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais and President Kiir discuss status of the implementation on September 12, 2019.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in a statement, commends South Sudan’s recent offer to settle border-related disputes between Sudan and the Federal Democratic Ethiopia.

Speaking on Monday as the country marked its First Anniversary since the formation of South Sudan’s unity government, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Ismail Wais applauded South Sudan’s role in promoting regional peace and stability.

“IGAD also recognizes and appreciates the significant contribution that South Sudan is making to regional peace and stability by successfully hosting and mediating the Sudan talks as well as by offering to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan to help peacefully resolve the ongoing border dispute between the two countries. This is one clear indication that besides the people of South Sudan the neighboring countries and the region at large are reaping the fruits of peace in South Sudan.”

Earlier this month, the world’s youngest country offered to calm border tensions between Sudan and neighboring Ethiopia after months of military confrontations.

South Sudan has succeeded in brokering the Juba Peace Agreement between the Sudanese unity government and opposition groups, but failed to restore its own peace.

On the same note, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, called on the South Sudanese parties to commit to the implementation of the peace agreement.

All in all, the last one year has witnessed a mixed-bag of progresses and delays with regard to the implementation of the R-ARCSS, and it is the right time for the Parties and Stakeholders of the R-ARCSS to take stock of achievements and challenges and have a genuine discussion and dialogue on the way forward.

Sudan devalues its currency in bid to combat ailing economy

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok | Photo: Reuters

Sudan announced a managed flotation of its currency on Sunday, in an unprecedented but expected step to meet a major demand by international financial institutions to help transitional authorities overhaul the battered economy.

The move is the boldest economic measure taken by the joint military-civilian government that has ruled the African country after a popular uprising. The revolt led to the military’s overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The country has since been on a fragile path to democracy with daunting economic challenges representing a major threat to that transition.

The sharp devaluation could provoke a popular backlash as the price of goods and services rise in response to the fall of the pound’s value and possible hike in the price of fuel and other essential goods. There were already sporadic protests over dire living conditions in the past couple of weeks in the capital, Khartoum and other parts of the country.

The U.S. dollar had been trading at over 350 pounds to the dollar on the black market, while its official rate was at 55 pounds to the dollar. Following the devaluation, local media reported banks were selling the dollar at an average of 375 pounds, and buying the U.S. currency for an average of 390, in an attempt to attract those trading in the unofficial currency market.

Sudan’s currency will now fluctuate according to supply and demand and the the Central Bank of Sudan said it will announce a daily flexible indicative rate in a “flexible managed float” that banks and other exchange bureaus are required to trade at within 5% above or below.

The managed floating system, that took effect Sunday, gives the central bank the option to set a rate based on the trading average, Al-Fatih Zayed al-Abidin, the central bank governor said in a news conference in Khartoum along with Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim.

The move was part of measures the transitional government has embarked on in recent months to transform the country’s economy and rejoin the international community after over two decades of isolation.

The Central Bank said its decision would help “normalization of ties with international and regional financial institutions and friendly countries to ensure the flow of grants and loans” into Sudan’s economy.

“Our economy is in a situation that cannot be addressed without making such a decision,” Ibrahim said. “It is in our interest, in the interest of the country, and in the interest of the citizen.”

Western governments welcomed the decision to liberate the exchange rate. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum welcomed the “courageous” move, saying it paves the way for debt relief and significantly increases the impact of international assistance.

“This decision will also help Sudanese companies and attract international investment as both local and foreign companies will no longer encounter difficulties doing business in Sudan because of the dual exchange rate,” it said.

Volker Perthes, the U.N. envoy for Sudan, also hailed the floatation, saying, “It demonstrates that the transitional authorities can reach consensus, take difficult decisions and carry them through.”

The move was a key demand by the International Monetary Fund. Sudan should conclude a 12-month Staff Monitoring Program with the IMF to win relief on its foreign debt, which is at $70 billion. That program is set to end in September.

Sunday’s move came after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced a Cabinet reshuffle to add rebel ministers. The reshuffle was part of a deal the transitional government struck last year with a rebel alliance.

Sudan has for years struggled with an array of economic woes, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods and soaring prices of bread and other staples. The country’s annual inflation soared past 300% last month, one of the world’s highest rates.

Original ssource: AP

Newsflash: Ethiopia declares war on Sudan as tensions reach boiling point

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed / File

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a strongly-worded statement, condemning the incursion of the Sudanese armed forces into Ethiopian territory and accused an unnamed third party of being behind this border-conflict between the two countries.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation and provocative behavior of the Government of the Sudan regarding the boundary issue between Ethiopia and the Sudan. Ethiopia believes that any conflict between our two countries would only result in a colossal collateral damage and jeopardizes the well- being of the two nations,” the Ethiopian government said on Thursday.

The Ethiopian government underscored that an all-out conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia could have detrimental impact on the region and jeopardize ongoing efforts to bring the two countries to the negotiating table.

“Therefore, the Ethiopian government strongly believes that the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people. It is to be noted that the two governments have sufficient mechanisms to deal with any claims and counter-claims of the border or any territorial claims. However, the Sudanese National Army violated the basic principles of international law and peaceful settlements of disputes by unceremoniously invading Ethiopia in carly November 2020.”

“In doing so, Sudan has violated the bilateral boundary agreements, which stipulate non-displacement of nationals of either nation from their farms jointly registered by the two Governments, the status quo of which shall be maintained until the disposition of the case by an agreement.

“The Sudanese side has also overturned and undermined the efforts of the joint boundary committees that have been making tireless efforts to finalize the re-demarcation process of the common boundary. Contrary to the spirit of friendship and cooperation existing between our two brotherly countries, the Sudanese Army looted properties, burned camps, attacked and displaced thousands of Ethiopians and controlled vacated Ethiopian Military Camps.”

“What is more deplorable is, in an apparent misrepresentation of the facts on the ground, Sudan is deliberately engaged in misinformation campaigns against Ethiopia by accusing the victim as an aggressor, evading accountability by shifting blame and camouflaging its belligerence and continue its provocation in an attempt to control more lands.”

“Amidst of all these escalatory and provocative behaviour of the Sudan, Ethiopia has shown a great deal of patience, remained restrained from exercising its legitimate right of self-defence and time and again expressed its commitment to a peaceful settlement of differences regarding the boundary through existing bilateral agreements and joint border mechanisms. What is needed is a political will of the two governments, which would enable them reach at an amicable solution.”

“Ethiopia firmly believes in the long standing fraternal relations between the people of Ethiopia and Sudan regardless of the nature of their respective governments. The attempt being made by the Sudanese Amy to push the friendly pcoples of Ethiopia and Sudan to unwarranted war is a serious blunder that will undermine their peace, stability and development of the two nations in particular and the region in general. Ethiopia while reiterating its commitment for a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue, once again calls upon the government of the Sudan to reverse the aggression, desist from provocation and resort to a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue.”

“Therefore, the Ethiopian government would like to call upon the people of the Sudan to check on its government from serving a third party interest which only would result in the determent of the two nations. Furthermore, Ethiopia calls upon brotherly African countries to advice the Sudanese government to finalize the border issues through available mechanisms in peaceful manner. The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia also thanks the people of Ethiopia for showing maximum patience and profound understanding.”

Opinion | Being ambassador’s son is an occupation in South Sudan

Opinion | By Linho Lual Deng

Opinion —In South Sudan, if you were to fill out your passport application form, instead of using another word to describe your profession, all you have to do is write your father’s position in the government.

This is a new approach or methods used by first-class citizens to illegally access government services or when traveling abroad for medical reasons or government-sponsored scholarships.

This marks the outbreak of rampant corruption in South Sudan.

For some of us, whose fathers are celebrated every year as fallen heroes and martyrs, but forgotten at the dinner table, are yearning to see an end to this form of dishonesty in the Republic of South Sudan.

Imagine, I spent an entire month looking for a national passport at the Department of Immigration and Passports, but it was all in vain —simply because I wasn’t related or a son of an ambassador to Russia, United States or China.

Our late founding father, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, once said that after their work is done or the country’s independence is achieved, there would be a generation of corrupt elites who know nothing but money and food and will plunder the nation’s vital resources.

“People accuse me of killing our sons and eating up people’s farm produces for nothing, but let me tell you this, our blood will be shed because I hate oppression and marginalization of our people but I will not even enjoy the fruits of this struggle. There are people sleeping comfortably right now; they don’t know the hunger or the sound of a gun. After our job is done that generation will take over; they will cut a large piece of land with pangas and sell it cheaply for a bottle of beer.”

Without a doubt, these are the people whom Dr. John Garang de Mabior was referring to. The country paid off with blood, sweat and tears has lost its sense of direction at the hands of failed leaders.

The writer is a concerned South Sudanese and currently resides in Juba, South Sudan. He can be reached via his Email: linhodut@gmail.com

The views expressed in this “Opinion Section” belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The South Sudan Herald. Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at: thessherald@gmail.com

U.S. Africa Command Senior Leaders Visit Sudan

   By U.S. Africa Command
Ambassador Andrew Young, deputy to the commander for Civil-Military Engagement, is greeted upon arrival in Sudan for a series of meetings with key military and government officials the week of Jan. 25, 2021 | Photo: Col. Christopher Karns

U.S. Africa Command’s Deputy to the U.S. Africa Command Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Director of Intelligence, Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, conducted a historic visit to Sudan to foster cooperative engagement and expand partnership development, Jan. 25-27.

The trip represents a new chapter in U.S. Africa Command engagement with Sudan since the rescission of Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 2020. This rescission is key to the fundamental change in the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Sudan.

“We are at a moment of historic change in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Sudan, made possible by the brave efforts of the Sudanese people to chart a bold new course toward democracy,” said Young. “I am beyond honored to be part of the U.S. Africa Command delegation to visit Sudan to solidify the future of our partnership. We are committed to strengthening our relationship and exploring opportunities together.”

During the trip Young and Berg met with Sovereign Council Chairman General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to recognize the progressive efforts of the transitional government.

“Together with Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government, we are striving to reinforce this new partnership between the Sudanese professional military and U.S. Africa Command,” said Young.

Young and Berg also met with military leaders, including the Chief of Defense, Gen. Mohamed Osman al-Hussein and Minister of Defense, Maj. Gen. Yassin Ibrahim Yassin.

“U.S. Africa Command understands the importance of combating terrorism and piracy, malign activities, and ensuring safe seas for shipping,” said Berg. “Cooperation aimed at addressing areas of shared concern is a common interest.”

The delegation discussed mutual advantages that partnering brings as part of U.S. Africa Command’s whole-of-government approach to strategic security challenges in Africa. Specifically, discussed were opportunities for future military to military engagements between the two forces.

“U.S. Africa Command’s approach is one of partnership. We are exploring possibilities and opportunity with Sudan, militarily and diplomatically,” said Young. “We see increased engagement in the months and years ahead.”

The U.S. Africa Command signaled an increased commitment of support to Sudan.

“We are pleased to host this high-level U.S. Africa Command delegation to Sudan, which highlights our growing bilateral relationship and underscores the United States’ support for Sudan’s democratic transition,” said Brian Shukan, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Sudan.

The delegation also visited the Sudanese Higher Military Academy. During the visit, Berg provided an overview of U.S. Africa Command’s mission, highlighting the ways in which the command works with partner forces to enhance regional stability and security.

“The transnational threats that seek to disrupt our way of life demand our dedicated teamwork and improved mechanisms for coordination and information sharing,” said Berg. “The conversations we’ve had here this week strengthened the foundation for cooperatively addressing these challenges to peace and stability for years to come.”

Originally published by U.S. Africa Command website http://bit.ly/36k5qyP

Alert: ICAO identifies new safety risk in South Sudan’s airspace

ICAO identifies new safety risk in South Sudan’s airspace |Photo: © ICAO

In a letter dated January 20, 2020, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) identified new safety risks in the airspace under the authority of the Republic of South Sudan.

“I draw your attention to the possible existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights operating within the Khartoum Flight Information Region (FIR) over the territory of South Sudan, below flight level (FL) 245, and arriving at or departing from Juba International Airport (HSSJ),” said Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Authority.

The UN agency pointed to the lack of suitably qualified air traffic control personnel in South Sudan and disruption of air traffic services.

“Information received by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from a variety of sources indicates that there has been a disruption to air traffic services and related supporting services within the above-mentioned airspace without the benefit of adequate contingency arrangements being in place.”

“Your attention is specifically drawn to the lack of suitably qualified air traffic control personnel, the non-promulgation of aeronautical information concerning out of service or withdrawn navigation equipment and the necessary mitigation arrangements, coordination irregularities with adjacent area control centres, and inadequate air-ground communications.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization urges international aircraft operators not to turn a deaf ear to these warnings for the sake of their safety and that of their loyal customers.

“ICAO, therefore, holds grave concerns for the overall safety of international air traffic and, consequently, you are strongly urged to use this and any other pertinent information to assess flight safety risk in the airspace under the authority of South Sudan.”

“Please be assured that the primary objective of ICAO remains the safety and security of international civil aviation. ICAO continues to actively coordinate with the authorities concerned on matters, which could impact flight safety, and will notify you of any significant developments.”

S. Sudan finds itself in the hot soup over its close ties with Qatar

South Sudan’s delegation headed by Security Adviser on Presidential Affairs meets with Qatar’s officials in Doha |Photo: Via Facebook

Dec 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Egyptian government has issued a statement expressing concern over South Sudan’s close diplomatic relations with the government of Qatar, as evidenced by the recent visit of Tut Gatluak Manime, security advisor to President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“Egypt has followed with great concern Tut Qalwak’s [Gatluak] recent visit to Doha. Qalwak is the security adviser to the president of South Sudan, and his visit has raised suspicions about Qatar’s next moves in the region after the fall of its ally in Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. It seems that Doha is turning to Juba to build new influence there,” the statement said.

“Political sources in Cairo said that Doha was keen during Gatluak’s visit to know the limits reached by relations between Juba and Cairo, and whether or not South Sudan had promised Egypt to let it build a military base on its territory.”

Since 2017, Egypt – along with other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on suspicion of supporting terrorist activities in the region.

For details can bet found on this link

SPLM-IO welcomes lifting of travel restrictions on Machar

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman of the SPLM-IO (Photo Credit: File)

Dec 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Office of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, has strongly welcomed the recent communique issued at the 38th Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government on December 20, 2020 in Djibouti.

“The Office of the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, and Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) welcomes IGAD resolution number 9 on the freedom of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, as came out from the 38th Extraordinary Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, in Djibouti, on 20th December, 2020.”

On Sunday, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) clarified that there are currently no travel restrictions or bans imposed on the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar and that he is free to travel anywhere in the world.

“The Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government underscored that currently there are no travel restrictions of any kind imposed by IGAD on the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny,” the IGAD said in a communique issued on Sunday.

Machar had been under house arrest in South Africa, and later in the Sudan capital Khartoum. After the signing of the peace deal, Igad officials said the restrictions had been lifted, but had not made formal documentation of it.

Ethiopia Finally Restores Telco Services In The Tigray Region

     By: Buay Kapduel Buol 

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–After more than 40 days of power outages and sudden telco service interruptions in the entire Tigray region, the Ethiopian federal authorities have finally resolved to restore telecommunications services in the regional capital, Mekelle.

“Following destruction to infrastructure by the criminal clique’s militia, which resulted in a communication’s and electricity blackout in the Tigray region, the relevant Federal stakeholders have been on the ground since Mekelle came under Federal command, repairing heavy damages sustained. On December 10, 2020 Ethio Telecom shared in a media briefing the details of infrastructure damages caused to the Mekelle Core Site which resulted in telecom service disruptions in the region as of November 4, 2020,” the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office partly reads.

“As of December 12, 2020, Ethio Telecom shared that mobile voice services in Mekelle city and Maiychew have been restored, in addition to Dansha, Humera, Maikadra, Turkan, Maytsebri, Korem and Alamata”

The federal government also announced the restoration of power and telephone phone services in other areas around Mekelle that had been cut off from the rest of the world since the ENDF and its allies launched large-scale military operations in the Tigray region.

“As it pertains to electric power services, on December 13, 2020 Ethiopian Electric Power announced that electricity has been restored to Mekelle city and its vicinity. Cities and towns between Mekelle and Alamata have had power disruptions due to conductor and insulator damages sustained to transmission lines.”

“Through the coordinated efforts of two technical teams, in addition to Mekelle and surrounding towns, power has also been restored in the north eastern part of the country – specifically Metema, Humera and Welkayit. Both service providers continue to undertake repair work to enable unhindered service provision in the region,” the statement further added.

Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, has rebuffed international calls for a peace dialogue between his government and leaders of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front who are currently in their hideouts in mountainous areas around Mekelle.

Prime Minister Abiy rejects AU mediation efforts

Last month, the Chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent 3 special envoy to Ethiopia in an effort to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, however, the Ethiopian premier refused to negotiate with the TPLF leaders.

Ethiopian refugees fleeing violence in the northern part of Ethiopia |Photo: © AFP

Currently, more than 50,000 people, predominantly from the Tigray region, have crossed into Sudan in search of safety – and are being sheltered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the supervision of the Sudanese government.

In the wake of the endless influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan on an almost daily basis, a high-level delegation led by the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, visited Ethiopia on Sunday and had lengthy discussions with Abiy Ahmed on a number of issues ranging from the GERD-related negotiations to regional security.

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