September 7, 2012 (KHARTOUM)
— Sudan strongly rejected statements by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations accusing Khartoum of dragging its feet in the talks over establishment of a buffer zone on common border with South Sudan.
Ambassador Susan Rice on Thursday condemned Sudan’s continued refusal to a map proposed by the African Union mediation to establish a buffer zone adding such attitude “risks the resumption of outright conflict.”
Commenting on Rice’s remarks, Undersecretary of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, Rahmat-Allah Mohamed Osman, said what she had said reflects its bad intentions towards Khartoum.
“It would have been better for her to wait for the outcome of negotiations,” he added.
Osman went further to accuse the mediation of backing South Sudanese position on the area Mile 14.
Sudan keeps refusing to make any concession over the issue of Mile 14 which is located on the border between East Darfur and Western Bahr El-Ghazal. Khartoum says Juba has no right to make any claim over this grazing land.
Also President Omer Al-Bashir last June accused “some conspirators” in the African Union of hiding Sudan’s letter of objection to this map in November 2011 and falsifying its will in a report they sent to the UN Security Council.
The issue seemingly would hamper all the process as Khartoum makes an agreement over security issues a perquisite to the implementation of any deal reached with Juba.
International community believes that pressures on Khartoum can push it to change its mind and accept to operationalise the demilitarized zone with the proposed map. But the negotiating team is also under huge pressures in Khartoum from the tribes of disputed areas and the hardliners of the ruling National Congress Party.
Last week, the members of the negotiating team were accused of ignorance and advised by the Arab tribes of consult them before to conclude any deal over the disputed areas with the South Sudan.
Abdella Masar, a leading Rizziggat figure said the South Sudanese negotiators who are from the disputed areas, have fooled their Sudanese counterparts in the past and advised them to not repeat such errors.
South Sudanese delegation to the talks said Bashir suggested to Salva Kiir to during their last meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit to hold direct talks and to disregard the position of the mediation over this map.