Germany calls off Sudan investment forum after embassy storming
(Reuters, Chicago Tribune) Germany has called off a conference next month to drum up investment for Sudan after its embassy in Khartoum was stormed in protests against a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad, Sudanese officials and diplomats said on Thursday. The move is a blow for Sudan which has been trying to attract investment to help overcome an economic crisis worsened by the loss of most of its oil reserves when arch-foe South Sudan declared independence in July 2011. Germany, one of the few Western countries with good ties to Khartoum, had planned to host a conference in mid-October to foster economic cooperation with Sudan, according to diplomats. The event, scheduled to be held in Germany, would have been a rare chance for Khartoum to meet Western firms reluctant to invest in the African country due to a U.S. trade embargo, weak laws and corruption. Diplomats said Berlin decided to shelve the event after protesters set the German embassy on fire on Friday to demonstrate against the film which depicts the prophet as charlatan and womanizer. Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is under pressure from Islamists who feel the government has given up the religious values of his 1989 Islamist coup. Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said Berlin had informed it the conference would be postponed indefinitely. “Both sides will announce a later date,” it said in a statement. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a senior diplomat to Sudan to discuss security issues and “conditions for relations between the Sudan and Germany,” according to a statement.
Bashir-Kiir Summit Hoped to Achieve Breakthrough
(All Africa, Sudan Tribune) Hopes for a breakthrough in post-secession negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan are running high ahead of a summit between the presidents of the rival countries in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday. The summit will take place on the same day in which the extended deadline set by the UN Security Council (UNSC) through Resolution 2046 for the conclusion of the negotiation expires on 22 September. Resolution 2046 threatened non-military sanctions on both sides should they fail to reach a deal on borders issues as well as oil production, security and the contest Abyei area. One of the main sticking points has been the buffer zone proposed the African Union, which is mediating between South Sudan and Sudan, is designed to avoid the kinds of military confrontation seen in April this year when the two sides fought over an oil-producing oil area claimed by both sides. Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir is due to leave Khartoum for Addis Ababa on Sunday for a two-day visit in which he will meet Kiir and honor an invitation from Ethiopia’s acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for an Ethiopian-Sudanese summit, according to officials. The official spokesperson of Sudan’s negotiating delegation, Badr Al-Deen Abdualla, pointed out on Thursday that the presidential summit is set to tackle three levels of issues. He said that the first level concerns the agreements that had already been initialed on 13 March such as the citizenship and border demarcation agreements. Abdualla, who was quoted by Sudan official news agency (SUNA), said that the second level is related to the issues that have been agreed but not signed, in reference to the oil agreement the two sides announced last month. He added that the third level is related to the issues in which some progress has been made. However, the spokesperson admitted that there are some “obstacles” and some issues with little progress. All of them, he added, will be on the table of discussion between the two leaders. He went on to stress that all issues must be resolved “especially the security issue” Abdullahi pointed out that the mediation team of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) of former South African President Thabo Mbeki has sent a proposal to the two presidents for resolving the dispute on the contested region of Abyei. The mediators’ seven-page proposal on Abyei suggests annexation of the region to South Sudan either through a referendum or a political agreement in exchange for the latter to provide a set of safeguards guaranteeing the rights of Al-Messiryah tribe to enter the region and graze their cattle without obstacles. Abdullahi, however, insisted that all these agreements will not be signed unless within a comprehensive agreement that resolves the “security issue”.
Catherine Ashton Statement ahead of the summit between the Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission issued the following statement: “I welcome news of the Presidential Summit to be held in Addis Ababa on 23 September and call on both Governments to conclude a comprehensive agreement on all outstanding issues in accordance with the AU Roadmap and U Security Council Resolution 2046. The negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan have already made significant progress on a number of issues, notably oil and security arrangements. It is now for the two Governments to build on the progress achieved with the help of the AU High Level Implementation Panel led by former President Mbeki and agree on the few remaining issues, including a Safe Demilitarised Border Zone. This Summit is a unique opportunity to set their countries on the path to peace and prosperity, based on the concept of two viable states. It is equally urgent to end the ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan and to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the fighting. I call on the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/ North to enter immediately into direct talks to agree on a complete cessation of hostilities and to reach a political settlement on the basis of the 28 June 2011 Framework Agreement as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2046. I also urge the Government of Sudan to facilitate the immediate implementation of the 5 August agreement for delivery of humanitarian assistance to all affected civilian populations.
African Union urges Sudan, S. Sudan leaders to reach deal
(AFP) The African Union urged the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan, who will meet here Sunday, to strike a deal on issues still to be settled following the independence of South Sudan in July 2011. Outgoing AU Commission chief Jean Ping “looks forward to the summit between President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan,” the African Union said. “He would like to encourage both presidents… to reach agreement on the outstanding issues in the post-secession relations between their two countries.” The African Union has been mediating in the talks between the two Sudans in the Ethiopian capital. The talks resumed in early September and have focused on oil, border issues and the disputed Abyei area. “Throughout its engagement, the AU… has maintained the view that solutions to the challenges at hand lie with the Sudanese people themselves,” the African Union statement said. Kiir arrived early Saturday evening in the Ethiopian capital, Atif Kiir, the spokesman for the South Sudanese delegation at the talks, told AFP. “President Kiir has arrived ahead of the summit meeting with President Bashir tomorrow,” the spokesman said. Sudan’s official news agency SUNA said Bashir would leave for the talks on Sunday. The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton welcomed news of the Addis Ababa meeting and urged “both governments to conclude a comprehensive agreement on all outstanding issues. The two neighbours agreed late last month to open their border in a bid to foster cooperation and to encourage business. A previous round of talks in early August led to a breakthrough deal on export fees: landlocked Juba will pay the fees to Khartoum to ship its oil through northern pipelines. The details however still need to be finalised.
South Sudan leader to meet Sudan’s Bashir to wrap up talks
(Reuters) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has agreed to meet Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Ethiopia this weekend to sort out all outstanding conflicts by a U.N. Security Council deadline, the government said on Friday. Khartoum had said on Thursday it still hoped to reach a broad accord with South Sudan at a president’s summit in Addis Ababa to end all hostilities despite new fighting between the army and rebels in Sudan’s borderlands. Western and African Union officials have been trying to nail down a border security deal between the northeast African rivals to allow a resumption of oil exports from the South through Sudan, throwing both countries a badly needed economic lifeline. Diplomats hoped to conclude negotiations with a summit between Bashir and Kiir on Sunday in Ethiopia, where both sides have been negotiating for more than two weeks. While there has been some progress, there is still no deal on setting up a demilitarized buffer zone along the unmarked border, much of which is disputed. Last month, Sudan and South Sudan reached an interim deal to revive southern oil exports that must transit the north to reach Red Sea ports. But Khartoum insists on a border security accord first, the latest focus of both parties. Unless the two hatch a comprehensive accord by a September 22 deadline, they risk incurring Security Council sanctions. The African neighbors came close to war in April in the worst outbreak of violence since the mainly Christian and animist South Sudan seceded from mainly Muslim Sudan in July 2011 under a peace pact that ended decades of civil war.
Sudan bans demonstrations over anti-Islam cartoons
(Sudan Tribune) Sudanese Islamist and student groups cancelled a protest against anti-Islam cartoons they were calling for in Khartoum after failing to obtain the necessary authorisation from the police. Last Friday two people were killed and 50 policemen wounded outside the American embassy in Khartoum during a violent protest over an anti-Islam film. The same day, protesters also stormed the German embassy and wrecked some offices of the diplomatic building. Reliable sources told Sudan Tribune that security services refused to authorise the organisers to hold a demonstration to the French embassy in Khartoum to protest against new anti-Islam cartoons published by a French weekly satirical newspaper. However, the police did not issue an official statement on the ban. The protest was supposed to start from the mosque of Khartoum unity to the French embassy where security forces were deployed and the adjacent streets were closed on Friday. A number of journalists were at the French Embassy in Khartoum where they noticed the heavy presence of antiriot police officers. The French government condemned the publication of satirical caricatures and termed it as “irresponsible” and announced the closure of its embassies, cultural centres and French schools in 20 Muslim countries to avoid attacks by extremist groups.