Tuesday, January 24, 2017

South Sudan Official Ups Rhetoric, Says Not Afraid of Ethiopia

 South Sudanese officials have stepped up rhetoric against Ethiopia in what analyst see as a moment that is developing in the relations between the two countries with a government official at the ministry of information in Juba telling a reporter that his government was not afraid of Ethiopia, according to Nyamile.com report.
Ethiopia has been looking at Kiir’s government in Juba with a second thought lately over South Sudan’s embracement of Egyptian government policy towards the Ethiopian Dam and the Nile water agreement.
An official who is a close aide to the information minister Michael Makuei has said the government of South Sudan was not afraid of Ethiopia and that the country had nothing to explain, adding that the country would press on with its strategic relations with Egypt.
“it’s a normal practise to look out for your own interests, all countries do that. We are ‘not afraid’ of any country, be it within the region (Ethiopia) or beyond, i think our ambassador in Addis Ababa made it clear to them on Ethiopian Broadcasting Television that we do not have to explain anything on our diplomatic relations with other countries” said Atem Deng Makuac an official at the ministry of information in Juba
This Comes just a day after the South Sudanese ambassador to Ethiopia was summoned on the national television the Ethiopian Broadcasting Cooperation (EBC) to explain president Kiir’s recent visit to Egypt and to dispel recent rumours that South Sudan and Egypt agreed on a “dirty deal” over Ethiopia’s building of a mega Dam on the river Nile.
The official said the government in Juba would not back down from any deal with the Egyptian government due to their long standing relations.
“Other countries cannot force us to rethink our relations with Egypt, Egypt has supported South Sudan in many occasion, you know it, about their support for our irrigation system, no country in the region has done that, ok? Said Atem Deng Makuac a close aide to the information minister
Atem said Egypt has offered opportunities to South Sudanese, he warned that Ethiopia cannot force or threaten South Sudan because the national interest of the country comes first above anything else.
“They have given scholarships, they are offering other security support now. We cannot be asked to stop cooperating with Egypt be it on the Nile water issues or whatever. Those who are not happy have to rethink” Atem Deng added.
President Salva Kiir visited Egyptian capital last week in a surprise invitationn by his Egyptian counterpart Al Fatah Al-Sisi were they discussed bilateral relations and agreed to work together to support Egypt in it’s campaign on building dams on the Nile river. According to Middle-east news sources the two president’s of Egypt and South Sudan agreed on a “dirty deal” to block or sabotage Ethiopian plans to build a dam on the Nile river. (Nyamilepedia)

Diplomatic row breaks out between South Sudan and Ethiopia | Radio Tamazuj

 A diplomatic row has broken out between South Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia following rumours on social media that President Salva Kiir accepted to allow Ethiopian rebels to open their office in the capital Juba.
“Rumours have been circulating on social media that when President Kiir visited Egypt, he discussed important issues with the Egyptian officials so that Ethiopian rebels can open an office in Juba, “a senior government official who preferred anonymity told Radio Tamazuj today.
“The rumours circulated that the President has accepted to allow the Ethiopian rebels to open their office in Juba and Egypt will support the Ethiopian rebels with guns, because Egypt is having differences with Ethiopia over the issue of Renaissance Dam, so this is what happened on social media,” he added.
The official accused the SPLM-IO faction allied to former First Vice President Riek Machar of circulating the rumour in neighbouring Ethiopia.”The rebels now took advantage of that, and this information has already reached the government of Ethiopia,” he said.
He pointed out that the government of Ethiopia has decided to cut diplomatic ties with the government of South Sudan and expel South Sudan’s Ambassador to Addis Ababa.
“Even if there are differences between us, Ethiopia cannot expel our ambassador, because the ambassador is the ambassador of South Sudan to Ethiopia and at the same time he is representing us in the African Union. So, Ethiopia cannot expel our ambassador,” he said.
According to the official, South Sudan government will issue a statement to deny the rumour.
File photo: Ethiopian Prime Minister during his visit to the capital Juba in October, 2016 (Radio Tamazuj)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Easing Sanctions on Sudan Erodes U.S. Leverage | Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Easing Sanctions on Sudan Erodes U.S. Leverage
Jonathan Schanzer

16th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief
The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday eased sanctions against Sudan based on improved behavior, and with the expectation that Sudan “sustains [the] positive actions it has taken over the last 6 months.” The move, which comes after months of rumors that Sudan would be removed entirely from the U.S. terrorism sponsors list, punts the six-month review to the Donald Trump administration.
Treasury was quick to note that the move “will not impact Sudanese individuals or entities blocked pursuant to [executive order] 13400,” which imposes sanctions on persons in connection with the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. And the action did not address the role that Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has reportedly played in fomenting the civil war in South Sudan, with both countries accusing the other of supporting the other’s rebels.
Al-Bashir, it is also worth noting, still has a warrant out for his arrest at the International Criminal Court for five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide.
Sudan also remains listed by the State Department as a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, and reports suggest that sanctions evasion, corruption, resource trafficking, and other illicit financial activity are rife in the country.
The “positive actions” cited by Treasury reportedly include Khartoum’s cutting ties with al-Qaeda, Iran, and Palestinian terrorist groups, and contributing to Saudi-led efforts against Iran-backed extremists in the region. Indeed, Saudi Arabia reportedly played a significant role in convincing the Obama administration to ease sanctions against Sudan.
However, unwinding U.S. sanctions for these positive steps without addressing the full range of Sudan’s illicit activities will pose challenges for the next administration. Specifically, it will erode U.S. leverage and make it more difficult for Washington to pressure Sudan for many of its continued destabilizing activities.
Indeed, Washington is likely to run into the same complications it is currently experiencing with Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of July 2015 relaxed sanctions on Iran in exchange for certain Iranian nuclear concessions. But Tehran’s support for terrorist groups, its backing of rogue states, and its human rights violations at home continue apace.
To help maintain leverage, the Obama administration should have provided a limited general license to reward Khartoum for its cooperation in some areas, while keeping overall U.S. economic pressure intact.
It is now upon the incoming Trump administration to assess Sudan’s malign activities before July 12, 2017 to determine whether Khartoum has earned the full easing of sanctions proscribed. But even more important will be its policy of whether “strategic unwinding” of sanctions is advisable with any actor, particularly when problematic behaviors still persist.
Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @JSchanzer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

South Sudanese President in Egypt for bilateral talks - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

South Sudanese President in Egypt for bilateral talks


January 9, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir left for the Egyptian capital, Cairo for bilateral talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah El- Sisi.

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South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir, seen in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2015 (Photo AFP Zacharias Abubeker)
The visit comes barely a month after the Egyptian president visited Uganda, resulting into the unannounced visit to South Sudan by Ugandan leader, Yoweri Museveni.

South Sudan’s Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told reporters that Kiir’s visit would take two days during which the two leaders and their cabinet ministers would hold discussions in relation to bilateral ties between the two countries.

“The President of the Republic Salva Kiir Mayardit and the accompanying delegation left Juba for Cario, Arab Republic of Egypt this morning in response to the invitation extended to him by his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah El- Sisi," said Ateny.

He added, "President Salva Kiir will also be extending his country appreciation of the role played by Egypt in supporting South Sudan in the UNSC, and the role of Egypt in offering education to many South Sudanese’ generations since when it was part of the Sudan.

President Kiir is also expected to extend a similar invitation to his Egyptian counterpart.

Critics claim the three leaders agreed to open training camps for Sudanese armed opposition at Uganda-South Sudan border with the view to topple Sudanese government for supporting construction of a dam by Ethiopian government on River Nile.

This deal, according to security sources, resulted in dispatching more than big trucks full of Ugandan troops heading to South Sudan. 20 trucks, unconfirmed reports say, claimed entered Nimule through Elgu, and eighteen trucks via Ajdumani to Kajokeji.

The stated mission is to pursue the armed opposition figures and to clear out rebellion around South Sudan border with Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, though the Uganda government blackmail the people in the region that they are pursuing Uganda Armed oppositions in Northern Uganda , Eastern Uganda and West Nile as a mere political propaganda, a source told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

The visit of President Abdullah Fatah Sisi of Egypt to Uganda last month follow by unofficial visit of president Museveni to Juba three days after Egypt President visited to Uganda, in which President Museveni during a closed door meeting with President Salva Kiir, conveyed the message that he and Egyptian leader to open up a training camp at border with his country.

The Kampala and Juba meetings resolved to provide a support to Sudanese and Ethiopian Armed oppositions. This will involve training and providing weapons to SPLM-North, Darfur Rebels both with Military Equipment and full logistics including Finance. Egypt will supply Uganda then South Sudan will be the corridors to supply the equipment to the SPLM-North, Darfur Rebels and Ethiopian Armed opposition.

These military Training camps have will be opened along South Sudan border with Uganda and Congo border. The reason behind is that they want to use Congo Central Africa corridors to launch attack on Sudanese government than using South Sudan Border. The training Camps will be around Mofok and around Lasu.

This will be making it o easier for transportation of the Equipment by land because by air it will be difficult because South Sudan air-space is under the control of Sudan, a security source who did not want to be identified told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

The source further alleged that the Egyptian government had sent 58 senior military commanders to South Sudan through Uganda to access the ground for training for SPLA, Sudanese and Ethiopian rebels. The commanders, he added, are from different military units, armor, artillery, air-defense and central military intelligence.

“Government of Egypt has a plan to topple both the government of Sudan and Ethiopia because the of Dam that Egyptians have contested before and rejected it not to be built, but Sudan and Ethiopia decided to go ahead and they have built the Dam which affect Egypt. The second issue is the contested Area in the eastern part of Sudan bordering Egypt (Halayib). Egypt is claiming that the area and Sudan continues to claim the area also. This is what is happening in the region”, explained the source.


Monday, December 5, 2016

South Sudan accuses Ethiopia and Sudan of complicity in Machar isolation - South Sudan News Agency

South Sudan FVP Gai. Photo: Radio Tamazuj/File
South Sudan FVP Gai. Photo: Radio Tamazuj/File
Addis Ababa/Khartoum, December 2, 2016 (SSNA) — South Sudanese First Vice president Taban Deng Gai says governments of Ethiopia and Sudan agree with South Sudan to ban rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar from traveling in East African region, suggesting that Khartoum and Addis Ababa agreed to Juba’s request to isolate the armed opposition leader from their countries.
On November 23, the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) obtained a video in which FVP Gai lashing out at Machar, calling him a “negative person” who has been rejected by the region and perhaps the whole African continent.
Gai, who speaks both in English and Arabic in the audiovisual, declares that the rebel chief was first told by the government of South Africa not to travel outside South Africa because nobody wants him in East Africa and that he is safe in the Republic of South Africa. Gai also said the former First Vice President was initially given a fake visa by an individual in Nigeria and that when the Nigerian government learned about the illegal visa, it went ahead and cancelled it, adding Nigeria is still investigating who gave Machar the visa.
The FVP mocks the rebel chief by telling the seemingly anxious audience that Machar is using the passport for the First Vice president and questions who is the legitimate FVP of South Sudan. He suggests that the armed opposition head should stop calling himself the legitimate FVP of the Republic of South Sudan because he was dismissed by the SPLM-IO, adding that Dr. Machar was also relieved from his FVP post by President Salva kiir. Gai even told the listeners that an experienced lawyer who can legally explain the legitimacy of First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan was in attendance.
Mr. Gai told his audience that Dr. Machar was asked by the Ethiopian government to choose where he should go because Addis Ababa does not want him and believes his presence in South Sudan would amounts to crisis or escalation of the ongoing civil war.
“When he arrived in Addis, he was told, friend, you have nowhere to go because your visa to Nigeria has been canceled by the Nigerian authorities therefore we will not take you to Nigeria,” Gai said.
“So tell us where you would like to go from here? He said he would go to Pagak, South Sudan. The Ethiopian authorities told him no, because your intention of going to Pagak means crisis, means fighting, and so we are not going to allow this,” he asserted.
Mr. Gai also claims in the video that Machar asked Ethiopia authorities to be allowed to go to Sudan and that Addis Ababa told him they cannot do it because the rebel leader has no entry visa to Khartoum.
At one point, Gai appears bothered by what he believes “uncivilized Ethiopians” allowed Machar to board a plane to Sudan.
“So, the uncivilized Ethiopians allowed him to board a plane to Khartoum, Sudan,” Gai protests.
“When he arrived in Khartoum, the Sudanese told him you have no resident in Khartoum. We don’t want you in Khartoum. They delayed the Ethiopian Airlines and told the Airlines that they should take this man [Machar] back to where you brought him from,” he continues.
Gai further explains that Ethiopian government contacted them after Machar was allegedly rejected by the Sudanese government. He assures the listeners that the rebel chief is free to come to Juba but he is not the First Vice President.
“He returned to Addis, Ethiopia. Upon arrival, the Ethiopians contacted us and said this person has nowhere or place to go to. We say ok! He is a south Sudanese. Let him choose including coming to Juba.
“Okay! He was supposed to come, by the way. He was supposed to come. He was supposed to come and stays like you. He would have not been taken to jail. But, he is not the FVP. He would have come and stay. If he was a strong man and an intelligence person who know how, he would have come to us,” Gai stated.
Gai further claims Machar demanded to talk to Sudan’s Bakari but his request was denied and told by Khartoum that his problem is a responsibility of the Sudanese Security and Immigration authorities not Bakari, adding that Machar negotiated with Sudan for four (4) hours and was eventually told by the Khartoum that he is not needed in Sudan.
The South Sudan’s First Vice President even alleged that Ethiopia government found one of Machar’s bodyguards with Ethiopian passport and the body guard was then asked by Ethiopian authorities to abandon Machar because the guard is an Ethiopian not South Sudanese. Gai also said the rebel leader didn’t sleep for two days because of issues surrounding his East Africa tour.
The SSNA understands that between November 19 and November 20, Dr. Machar experienced entry visa problems in Addis Ababa, which ultimately led Ethiopian immigration authorities to ask him to go back to South Africa and follow proper visa procedures there before returning to Ethiopia. A senior rebel official later told the SSNA that the rebel leadership blames itself for Machar’s visa difficulty because the SPLM-IO’s protocol office did not follow proper channels with the Ethiopian Immigration body, dismissing deportation claims as “false reports” and “over-exaggerated piece of information.” The South Sudan News Agency confirmed that Machar voluntarily choose to go back to South Africa after failed attempts to get an entry visa at the Bole International Airport.
The rebel leader fled Juba in July after government troops tried to assassinate him. Kiir later replaced him with Mr. Gai as the First Vice president.
The SPLM-IO says Gai betrayed the armed opposition simply because Machar refused to appoint him minister of petroleum, adding that he should not call himself SPLM-IO leader since he was dismissed from the party before Kiir appointed him.
The SSNA has contacted officials at Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Sudanese government through email and phone for comment but hasn’t received a response.
Secret arms deal between Ethiopia and South Sudan
A leaked document which the South Sudan News Agency cannot independently verify reveals secret arms deal between Ethiopia and South Sudan. The document bears signature of Lt. Col. Solomon Tor Kang who identify himself as Deputy Defense Attaché. The contract discloses that Addis Ababa sold a total of two million, nine hundred and ten thousand, and one hundred and seventy four (2,910,174) ammunition to Juba. The total sale includes 1,821,600 7.62x54mm PKM ammunition, 1,040,000 7.62x39mm AKM ammunition, 20,000 RGD-5 Hand Grenade, 610 122mm ammunition, 20,000 Rocket 107mm HE, and 7,964 60mm Mortar ammunition.
The document dated November 25, 2016, also says South Sudan national army (SPLA) agrees to pay $55,000 dollars to Ethiopia’s Ministry of National Defense, adding that the money covers transporting ammunition from Ethiopia’s stores to Ethiopia’s air force base located in Debreziet town.
The SSNA is still investigating the authenticity and actual cost of the alleged arms deal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

S. Sudan rebel leader stopped in Ethiopia, returns to South Africa - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

S. Sudan rebel leader stopped in Ethiopia, returns to South Africa

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November 21, 2016 (JUBA) –The leader of South Sudan’s armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar has been prevented from entering Ethiopia and was forced to return to South Africa, SPLM-IO officials told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

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South Sudan’s FVP, Riek Machar, departing from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa to Pretoria, South Africa, 14 February 2016 (SPLM-IO courtesy photo)
A senior rebel officials said Machar was stopped by the Ethiopian authorities upon his arrival from South Africa at Bole International Airport in Ethiopia and forced later to board another flight back to Johannesburg.

The rebel official, who preferred anonymity, said the rebel leader was heading to the SPLM-IO headquarters in Pagak near the Ethiopian border.

Machar was detained at the airport in Addis Ababa for four and half hours and was later advised either to board back to South Africa or risk being deportation to Juba,’’.

Last October, the deposed first vice president left Khartoum to South Africa to for medical treatment. He had arrived to Khartoum from the Democratic republic of Congo after clashes in Juba between his troops Juba

The Security Council members are considering a draft resolution to impose an arms embargo and additional targeted sanctions that could be brought to a vote as early as this week. The Associate Press disclosed that the U.S. proposed to impose travel bans on Machar and freeze his assets.

Washington blamed him for issuing a statement on 25 September 2016 declaring war on President Salva Kiir’s government following a meeting held in the Sudanese capital.

Several sources from the armed opposition reached by the Sudan Tribune said their leader was safe, but declined to disclose his whereabouts.

Some officials claim Machar crossed into South Sudan, while others said the rebel leader returned safely back to South Africa.

Thomas Magok Chuol, SPLM-IO representative to Uganda confirmed to Sudan Tribune that Machar had indeed returned back to South Africa.

“Yes, it is true Dr. Riek Machar has been told upon his arrival in Ethiopia to return to South Africa. It is not yet known the reason behind the decision,” he said.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Over 30 S. Sudanese students protest in Ethiopia, arrested - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan


November 5, 2016 (RUMBEK) - 38 South Sudanese students were arrested after they staged a protest in front of their embassy in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa over delayed allowances.

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South Sudanese students at their embassy in Kampala, Uganda (ST/File)
Dut Makur Mapur, a representative of the students claimed their acting ambassador, Darious Garang ordered for their arrest.

The affected students were from the universities of Mekelle, Bardar, Jimma, Awasa and Technical Vocational Training Institute (TVET).

"There are two groups of students from South Sudan to Ethiopia, the first group was from 2012/ 2013 comprising of 23 students doing different departments in Mekelle university and the second group from 2014/ 2015 comprising of some students to Bardar, Jimma, Mekelle and Awasa universities and the target group is in technical vocational training institute known as TVET," said Dut.

The students are entitled to $100 monthly and a round ticket at the end of the academic year from South Sudan government.

"Up to now, we have almost four years without receiving our stipend, the same is true for the second group. They haven’t received [their stipend] for two and half years," stressed Dut.

The students’ representative called on South Sudan government to instruct its acting ambassador to avoid mistreating them over their rights.

“I condemned that act and I urge immediate release and solution to their problems. I call upon the government to act wisely and instruct ambassador Darious Garang to get a better solution," said Dut.