US Expresses Surprise at Kiir Remarks on Progress of Sudan Peace

WASHINGTON
November 18 (SMC)

Sudan Media Centre attributes this article to the Sudan Tribune. At the moment of posting it here, Sudan Tribune had not published it on its website.

The US expressed surprise today at statements made by Sudan First Vice President Salva Kiir to members of the US Congress last Thursday in which he said that the peace agreement is off track.

A US official speaking to Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues discussed, said that Kiir made statements to US lawmakers that contradicted with the recent understanding reached between Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

"He [Kiir] signed an agreement on November 3rd with the NCP on a framework to resolve outstanding issues. There is progress made on the CPA [Comprehensive peace agreement]".

Kiir met with US lawmakers including Democratic Rep. Donald M. Payne, chairman of the Africa subcommittee of the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, following a meeting US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

The Southern leader told the lawmakers that "the National Congress Party has shown deliberate intent of dishonoring the CPA, that they have not behaved in good faith," Payne said. "He mentioned that things need to be concluded that have not been concluded."

"We are not sure why he turned around to say something different to the Congress despite the agreement he signed which paved the way for resolving most issues. They also agreed that they will try to reach a common ground on the issue of Abyei" the official added.

The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, last week proposed a set of "confidence-building measures" to Kiir. One of the proposals was that China, Saudi Arabia and the US would mediate between the NCP and SPLM to formulate a "package deal" to solve the impasse around Abyei and north-south border demarcation.

However Kiir rejected the proposal saying that he is satisfied with the agreement reached with the NCP last week to resolve the outstanding issues in the CPA.

The spokesman for the US State department Sean McCormack said last week that based on Kiir's assessment of the CPA implementation, the new proposals are "no longer relevant, because they've [SPLM & NCP] actually moved beyond it".

The US official cautioned against any talk of returning to war between the North and South.
"There are hardliners within the SPLM who want to go back to war. I don't believe they are ready for such an option which would be devastating for South Sudan and the entire country" the official said.
The official stressed that the CPA implementation is a priority for the US policy in Sudan.

"We are honest brokers and we want the peace agreement to hold and be successful" the official added

 

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