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SudanTribune.com: AFRICOM deputy commander to meet senior Sudanese gov’t and army officials

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Tuesday, 08 August 2017

AFRICOM deputy commander to meet senior Sudanese gov’t and army officials

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August 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - U.S. embassy in Khartoum has confirmed the arrival of the Deputy Commander of U.S. Africa Command on Tuesday saying he would meet senior military and government officials in the first visit of its kind.

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Ambassador Alexander M. Laskaris

"The Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Ambassador Alexander M. Laskaris, will visit Khartoum, August 8-9 to meet with senior military, political, and government leadership," reads a statement released on Monday.

Ambassador Laskaris is the most senior civilian U.S. Government official in the AFRICOM leadership.

The purpose of the two-day visit is to discuss areas of cooperation mutually beneficial to Sudan and the United States and to identify ways to work together to improve security in the region, further said the statement.

The Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said he would meet Laskaris who is a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Guinea from September 2012 to November 2015.

The American official will also discuss Sudan’s continued progress in improving humanitarian access; achieving a sustainable end to the conflicts in Darfur and the “Two Areas” of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states; and regional security concerns

Khartoum and Washington signed a five track framework last year leading to normalise bilateral relations and the removal of economic sanctions. In line with this deal, Sudan will allow humanitarian access to the war affected areas in the country.

Washington also proposed a humanitarian plan to provide with medical assistance civilians in the SPLM-N areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

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Tripartite delegation visits Khartoum to discuss Abyei

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UNISFA Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Tesfay Gidey Hailemichael of Ethiopia arrives in Abyei on 21 March 2017 (UN Photo)
August 8, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese committee for the administration of Abyei area said a tripartite delegation from the African Union, United Nations and the UN Security Council would visit Khartoum on Wednesday to discuss the Abyei file.

On the same day, the UN Security Council is expected to adopt the annual report of the Secretary General and hold consultations meeting about the situation in the disputed area. The 15 member body last May renewed the mandate of UNISFA until 15 November and warned to withdraw its support to the force.

The Council will discuss whether Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the deadline for progress in implementing the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) and the full implementation of the 20 June 2011 agreement particularly the formation of a joint administration.

The executive director of the committee, Salooma Yahia Musa, told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Monday the tripartite delegation would discuss the work of the civil institutions in Abyei and the performance of the UN Mission in Abyei (UNISFA) as well as review agreements signed with South Sudan.

He pointed out that the visit of the tripartite team comes in preparation for the UNSC meeting to renew the UNISFA mandate in November.

Musa added the delegation would meet with the head of the Sudan’s team for the United Nations operations and leaders of Native Administrations. He further said the delegation would also visit South Sudan ahead of the meeting of the two committees scheduled to be held from 17 to 18 August in Addis Ababa.

Ownership of Abyei, a disputed oil-producing region contested by Sudan and South Sudan, remained contentious even after the world’s youngest nation split from Sudan in 2011.

There is no joint administration between Sudan and South Sudan, as the Ngok Dinka refuse the formation of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC). Instead, they call to hold a referendum without the Sudanese pastoralist Misseriya.

Now there are two committees one for the Misseriya appointed by the Sudanese government and another for the Ngok Dinka appointed by Juba government.

On 27 June 2011, the Security Council, by its resolution 1990, responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the UNISFA.

UNISFA’s establishment came after Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides that the contested territory remains part of the north until the organisation of a referendum determines its fate.

The difference over who will participate in the referendum prevents the two countries from holding the agreed referendum.

However, the Dinka Ngok organised a unilateral referendum from 27to 29 October 2013 to say they want to join the Republic of South Sudan.

Khartoum, Juba, the African Union and the international community refused to recognise the outcome of the vote.


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